Siobhan Anderson, 3FF Programmes Officer, Schools
This year’s Volunteers’ Week runs from 1-12 June, which provides a great opportunity to celebrate 3FF volunteers and say a huge ‘thank you’ for all that they bring to our work!
As Programmes Officer on the Schools Team at 3FF I work closely with our volunteers, and have seen the impact they make on a day-to-day basis. Over the last year we have been fortunate enough to work with 65 dedicated volunteers: they have each brought their own unique skills, experience and backgrounds to our various interfaith programmes and made invaluable contributions to our aim of building good relations between people of different faiths, beliefs and cultures.
Of these, 25 volunteers participated in our 3- or 6-month internship programmes, gaining practical hands-on experience of working in one of our teams: this varied from making sure the weekly Mixed Up Chorus choir rehearsals run smoothly, to planning logistics for a teacher training event for 50 interfaith experts, to producing resources for a graduation ceremony for university students on our ParliaMentors programme.
40 volunteers chose to make a difference in Primary and Secondary schools as part of our speaker programme, sharing their story with young people and answering questions about faith and belief. This year their contributions were highlighted by a teacher from Notting Hill Prep School who, following a visit from volunteers, commented: “Our worlds were broadened and we were all left pondering quietly to ourselves questions of faith, belonging and diversity. Many thanks to the volunteers for giving up their time to talk to us”.
This year 3FF were delighted to gain recognition for our volunteering programmes by being awarded the JVN certificate for good practice in volunteer management.
Hanan Basher is a long-standing schools volunteer. Since joining 3FF’s speaker programme she has become involved in wider interfaith dialogue and identity work with young people in her local community.
When I set out to share my story with 3FF, my intention was to give. To give a better picture of what Islam means and how it is practiced by a Muslim. In the process I gained. I gained opportunities to explore my thoughts and feelings, deal with my prejudices and appreciate that on a very basic level many of us are seeking to understand and find our place in this world.
Megan Redhouse volunteered on 3FF’s ParliaMentors team from October 2015 to April 2016. Since completing her internship she has commenced a new job role at Centrepoint working with young homeless people.
There are so many opportunities, events to be a part of, different teams to help out with and different skills to learn that you have the opportunity to develop so much and expand your knowledge and skills. I have learnt so much that I can take forward both on a professional and personal level, and met some great people to go with it.
Learning from others
Patrick Lee is an international student studying in London. He joined 3FF’s school speaker programme to break down stereotypes about Buddhism, and to learn more about how young people perceive faith.
I have felt honoured to meet other volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. From them I have learnt how to answer challenging questions on faith, belief, identity, culture etc. It has been such a thought-provoking experience which has made me reflect more on my personal life and has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be living in multi-cultural London.
Making an impact
Shanon Shah volunteered for a one-off event in February for LGBT History Month. Having met 3FF at a conference in 2014, he was excited to get involved.
I felt so inspired and humbled by 3FF’s work, so it was an honour and privilege finally to be part of it. I’ve spoken on a few panels on LGBT and faith and this is by far the best one I’ve been part of. My partner/friends were hugely impressed and felt like they learnt a lot – from me, the other speakers and everyone else at their tables. Thank you for giving me a new personal benchmark of excellence.
In mid-July 3FF will be hosting a special celebration event to bring our volunteers together and say ‘thank you’. This event is open to all current and former volunteers, as well as friends of 3FF. To register your interest please contact email@example.com