Everyone who works for BBB does so on a completely voluntary basis. Most volunteers have young children, as well as various other commitments (like jobs) and it can be a challenge to fit it all in. But we do it because there are families in this area who are seriously struggling and we have seen time and time again that the help we give them makes a difference.
I have two young boys, am active in my older son’s PTA, work 3 days a week in London, and have a husband who is away 50% of the time, so on paper I shouldn’t have time to volunteer for BBB, but it’s one thing I make sure I find the time to do, because it’s so enormously enjoyable and rewarding. So in a strange way being a volunteer is actually “me” time.
Referrals can come in at any time and every one of them is different. I try to make sure I do no more than one at a time, although I do sometimes help out in emergencies. Typically once I take a referral on I will try, where possible, to speak to the mum and go through the list of what’s needed plus the practicalities of delivery. I often find that the parents are reluctant to ask for “too much” but when I speak to them it transpires they do really need more than was originally asked for. And I also sometimes have to reassure them about the “charity” aspect, because understandably many of the people I have dealt with feel embarrassed and upset to be in so much need. I tell them that it’s just as if the items are being passed to them by a friend of a friend – and that they are probably doing that person a favour taking stuff off their hands.
We have a fantastic group of people who follow us on the Facebook page, and quite often I will have to request specific items that we don’t have in storage. I am always amazed by the instant response and quite jaw-dropping generosity of our supporters; I have always been offered whatever is needed (and often in duplicate). Depending on the item and location, sometimes people drop things off at my house or sometimes I will go and collect from them. This has led to some funny situations where I’ve rendezvoused with people outside coffee shops and alike.
Deliveries can vary: sometimes I go directly to a person’s house or sometimes it’s via a health visitor, refuge officer, midwife or other professional. When I do make deliveries directly it’s always great to see and hear first-hand what a difference this will make.
Being a volunteer for BBB is genuinely a pleasure and I would encourage anyone who has some spare time to give it a go and join our team of what my (superhero-obsessed) son calls “power mummies”!
We are always looking for local supporters to help us spread the word about Bromley Brighter Beginnings across the Borough.
We have a publicity pack available for use by BBB Ambassadors. Please contact us if you would like to join the scheme and be sent a copy of the pack.