HELEN BURTON: Ball starts rolling on new volunteer project

Helen Burton SUS-160113-100959001
Helen Burton SUS-160113-100959001

I wrote a little last week about my plan to replicate the Pevensey Volunteers project in Eastbourne and I can’t believe the interest there has been.

Eastbourne Volunteers is now officially happening, and momentum is building fast! Eastbourne Volunteers would work in a similar way to the Pevensey project, mapping existing clubs, groups and organisations, encouraging and supporting volunteering and also providing a physical monthly meeting space for projects to get together, network and support each other. In Eastbourne we aim to train volunteer ward coordinators to map all of the clubs, groups and organisations in their ward. The coordinators from every ward will receive training on updating information onto our website and using blogs and social media to promote what is happening in their area. Co-ordinators will have an oversight of their ward and will be able to spot gaps in service provision and encourage groups to work together and share resources. We will create an Eastbourne Volunteers website containing all of the information collected, easily accessed by the public, giving even the smallest of groups an internet and social media presence. As the project grows it will be the largest database of groups, clubs and organisations in Eastbourne covering all of the wards, and a site that anybody wanting to get more involved in their community will go to.

We are also going to be working with Best of Eastbourne as a community partner to share the information we collate even further, and we will share the information with other key community groups and charities too. We are making links already with other organisations that want to support us or be involved. Eventually we would like to publish an annually updated brochure of all of the clubs and organisations active in Eastbourne for those who don’t use the internet, but in the first year we will aim to print a simple leaflet for each of the wards. By cataloguing all of the clubs, groups etc it helps to form a ‘big picture’ about what is available locally, it makes it easy to see where the gaps in provision are and it also makes it easier for people to get involved in their community and volunteer. 3VA does a great job in supporting groups and organisations with information and training, so we won’t be replicating what they are doing in any way, what we want to do is provide a hyper-local database of what is going on locally in order to make it easy for people to join in and work together. If you want to see what we have achieved in Pevensey have a look at the Pevensey Volunteers website at www.pevenseyvolunteers.co.uk If you or your group would like to be involved please email eastbournevolunteers@gmail.com In other news, don’t forget this weekend is Seedy Sunday at the Enterprise Centre, 10-4pm. This epic annual seed swap event is an opportunity to stock up on your seeds for next year so don’t miss out!