‘Volunteering locally is a great way to create change and connect with others’

Posted on the 5th June 2023

Hi, I’m Noama and I’ve been working at NCVO as a degree apprentice for almost four years. As a young person, I’ve always loved volunteering. From fundraising to befriending, I’ve found it’s a nice way to connect with people, give back, develop skills – and just a great way to spend some free time!

Tackling the climate crisis

Most recently, I’ve been volunteering with Planet Cheltenham as part of its Climate Youth Group. I saw a flyer for it at Cheltenham Literature Festival and it was exactly what I’d been looking for; a way to get involved in helping solve the climate crisis at a local level. I love that they provide a dedicated space for young people to have a voice and make a difference.

The Climate Youth Group meets every other Wednesday evening. Our meetings are a chance to share and plan community events that raise awareness and help prevent climate change worsening.

Our first big initiative was a Free Clothes Shop Campaign, which involved a clothes swap, panel discussion, climate pledge raffle and more. It was open to everyone, free and volunteer led. We had hundreds of people come through the doors and saved just as many clothes from going to landfill.

Climate Youth Group volunteer meeting

Climate Youth Group volunteers planned a repair workshop to stop clothes going to landfill

Since then, we’ve put on screenings of ‘2040’ in the local theatre, created a community garden, held seed swaps, gone to the local council with climate survey findings, and held a repair and mending clothes workshop.

The clothing repair workshop involved the youth group volunteers who helped organise and set up the event, and three sewers from the local area who shared their skills. It was a lovely event that brought the community together and gave clothes a new life!

Volunteering with Planet Cheltenham has been a great way to connect with my local community and meet other wonderful people doing things to make the world a better, more circular place. I’ve also learnt that one of the best ways to make tangible change is via volunteering for grassroots organisations like these!

Volunteers are integral to our services. Without volunteers, we simply would not be able to run them.

Melissa Webb, Volunteer Co-ordinator at Family Space

Supporting local families

I also want to shout out about Family Space, where I volunteered before I joined NCVO. They provide support to vulnerable families from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds, through befriending, respite, and social care support services.

When I volunteered there, I supported a single mother in financial and social hardship to take her children with autism to school. I also volunteered at the Family Space community café and really enjoyed talking to people in the community.

I quickly learnt how vital Family Space’s services are and the real impact volunteering can have. Since then, I’ve been involved in some of their other services, such as supervising family contact between children and a parent they no longer live with.

Rosemary, Family Space Volunteer

Rosemary volunteers with Family Space to help run vital services for families in Cheltenham

For Volunteer’s Week, Family Space’s volunteer co-ordinator, Melissa Webb, jumped at the opportunity to spotlight Rosemary. Rosemary is retired from working at a boarding school and has been volunteering with two of their services, ‘Time Out’ and ‘Stay and Play’, for over three years. This involves spending time with children to give parents some much-needed time.

When I asked Rosemary why she volunteers, she explained that when she stopped working, her days lacked structure and she missed the company of the staff and children. Volunteering gives her this structure and connection in abundance, and makes valuable use of her skills.

Indeed, the importance of volunteers is not lost on Family Space. “Volunteers are integral to our services,” says Melissa. “Without volunteers, we simply would not be able to run them.”

Staff profile picture


Volunteer, Planet Cheltenham

Noama is a degree apprentice at NCVO, but she also volunteers regularly with Planet Cheltenham’s Climate Youth Group. Before joining NCVO she volunteered at Family Space.

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