On the evening of Thursday 27 July, the 3FF team were pleased to host the annual Volunteers Celebration event that acknowledges the contributions and achievements of past and present volunteers. A total of 70 guests including school’s speakers, intern alumni and staff attended the event that was held at Mumbai Square, East London, where they enjoyed a delicious three-course meal kindly sponsored by 3FF’s Volunteers Champion, Prem Goyal OBE JP.

The evening was an opportunity for guests to re-connect with old friends, make new ones and share personal experiences through a panel discussion. It was also an occasion for the team to give thanks to all their amazing volunteers for their incredible support and dedication to help strengthen interfaith relations in the community and to reward some outstanding volunteers through an award ceremony.

The celebration kicked off with an opening speech from 3FF Director Phil Champain, who gave thanks on behalf of the organisation and staff to all the volunteers in the room, highlighting their essential role in helping the organisation reach its goals and vision. Quoting Winston Churchill, he remarked: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give”. Prem Goyal then spoke about his personal story, his impactful work as a volunteer and his role as the organisation’s Champion.

The highlight of the evening was the panel discussion led by former 3FF volunteer and staff member Siobhan Anderson, on the impact volunteering has on us as individuals, and the wider community. The panel featured 3FF volunteers Junaed Khan, Ruby Yeung, Pip Tauwhare and Sahela Rani.  All speakers had a history in either speaking at schools or were a part of the ever-growing intern alumni. So not only did they share their experiences with the 3FF programmes but also how beneficial volunteering is from a personal and social point of view.

The awards ceremony, preceded by some key achievements mentioned by 3FF Operations, HR and Volunteer Manager Hannah Taylor that further highlighted how concretely the 3FF programmes have an impact on their volunteers and vice versa, was a chance to recognise some volunteers for their outstanding contribution to the organisation. 3FF’s volunteers supported the organisation in delivering 343 workshops in primary and secondary schools across the UK, 143 of 343 were the award-winning Encountering Faiths & Beliefs workshops, reaching a total of 5744 students, while, through its internship programme, 3FF has had 6750 hours of voluntary support.

The big winners of the evening were Anne Petersen – who had spoken in over 10 workshops. Chuffed, she commented: “What a lovely evening, so much warmth and heart. It’s always a pleasure and a journey of new knowledge to meet with people from 3FF who all openly share their stories!”

Shrreaa Khatri took the award on behalf of the 2017 Spring intern cohort who had fundraised the most money for 3FF. Her fellow interns, unable to be present because currently living abroad, joined the ceremony with some personal and enthusiastic video messages that were showed at the end of the ceremony. Shrreaa, when asked what the highlight of the evening for her was, said: “The most amazing thing about this evening was the fact I came and saw new faces and some very recognisable faces. I’m so happy to be able to connect and be with everybody!”

As a closing speech, Director Phil Champain came to the stage once again to introduce #21Challenges. This is an opportunity for individuals to team up with 3FF and take part in an adventurous challenge such as battling through mud and obstacles or running a marathon to raise money for the organisation.

Eventually, event organisers Ana and Giulia gave one last thanks to Prem Goyal for sponsoring the event, the panellists, Mumbai Square for their hospitality and 3FF’s volunteers for their support and commitment to 3FF’s interfaith work. And with that, the anticipated celebratory dinner arrived. Sounds of delight resonated the venue as the courses were brought out. But before digging in, some got to tweeting or Instagramming their friends and colleagues using several hashtags of the evening, like #VCE17 and #InterfaithEncounters.

The event was a great success proven by the comments received on the night by several guests. One said: “Delicious food and great atmosphere! Well done Ana and Giulia”. Another guest said: “This event was lit!! The food was tripping”. Two members from SWAT (Sikh Welfare and Awareness Team), also present at the celebration, believed “we should all be doing more events like these”.

Once again, a massive thanks to our Volunteer Champion Prem Goyal for making the night possible and to all the attendees who contributed to make the event so special thanks to their presence, smiles and positive energy. If you’re interested in getting involved with 3FF’s work then join our volunteering or internship programmes today. Alternatively, if you are eager to tackle a challenge yourself then register your interest here.  And who knows? You may just be invited to next year’s annual gathering!

Visit our website for more volunteering opportunities and events