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Vacancy: Neighbourhood Care and Older Adults’ Activities Officer

Do you care deeply about the welfare of older adults?

Do you have experience in social care or working with people with a wide variety of needs and abilities?

Are you an experienced, highly organised and creative groups facilitator?

If you answered yes to all of the above, this could be the role for you!

We’re looking for an experienced and skilled individual who will deliver a package of support, including one to one home assessments and running group activities, to help reduce loneliness, improve health and wellbeing and increase older people and their carer’s opportunities to connect to their local community.

What we do

Time & Talents is a lively, busy community centre in the heart of Rotherhithe, SE16.  Set in a leafy heritage building, and ‘T&T2’, our second venue in Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, we offer something for everyone. With a history of 133 years of supporting people of all ages in Rotherhithe and Bermondsey, we bring people together for mutual support, fun and friendship, with a wide range of services and activities for older people and other adults, along with volunteering and children and families’ projects.

We work with around 400 older people and their carers a year, many of whom are very frail and elderly. Sadly, though they very often get left out: their friendships and networks disappear, family and friends move away, and they end up very lonely and isolated. Once that happens, mental and physical illness too often follow. We believe that surrounding older people with a welcoming, nurturing community, is vital to improving and maintaining their wellbeing. We also know they want to thrive, create, feel a sense of purpose, and continue living their lives to the full, for their whole lives.

In response to this we offer one to one support and case-working, befriending, and an exciting programme of social and support groups with fully escorted transport. We also run fun events and intergenerational activities to bring the whole community together. From reminiscence, art, music, and health and wellbeing advice, to outings and new and exciting experiences, no two days are the same.

The role

In this role, you’ll deliver some of our existing groups, including our Happy Mondays group, Friday Social Club and a lively Stroke Club. With the support of volunteers and community members, you’ll coordinate other smaller peer-led and tutor-led groups (from exercise classes to a mental health support group for older women). You will also take responsibility for a new caseload of referrals and carry out home assessments on clients to identify their individual needs. Working closely with health, adult social care, housing departments and voluntary sector organisations, as well as liaising with referees, you will work hard to ensure clients’ and their carers needs are met, providing help with anything from applying for making adaptions in the home to supporting them to get involved in one of our many groups or projects.

A key part of the role is involving older adults and carers themselves in the delivery of the programme as volunteers, and involving people of all ages and backgrounds from the local community – from NHS health professionals to local artists and students. You will also need to build individual relationships of trust with older participants, and work closely with our Neighbourhood Care Coordinator and Older People’s Programme Manager to ensure we take a joined-up approach to caring for individuals.

About you

The role needs someone creative, energetic, passionate, but importantly, also highly organised. You must be as comfortable making sure a minibus schedule is up to date, as you are delivering craft activities or quizzes, or as comfortable hosting NHS professionals delivering healthcare advice, as you would be helping run an escorted visit to a local farm. You need to have lots of ideas, and be highly ambitious, but also be able to make your ideas happen. 

Most of all, we need someone who cares deeply about the welfare of older people and their carers, and is able to react quickly and appropriately to emerging issues – especially to the more serious care issues we inevitably encounter. While appropriate training will be given, we are looking for candidates with some social care experience ideally.

About us

We are an energetic, experienced, and passionate team of 15, with a strong sense of shared purpose and a lively sense of humour. You’ll have the chance to make a big contribution to a growing, ambitious and innovative organisation which has doubled its reach and impact in recent years.

This role is full time, with flexibility for regular evening and occasional weekend working.

Time & Talents is wholly committed to inclusion and diversity, and to building a culture and environment where everyone is appreciated for the unique person that they are. We actively encourage applications from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

If you would like an informal chat about the job, please email recruitment@timeandtalents.org.uk with your phone number and a suitable time for us to call.

The closing date is 09:00 on Monday 02 November.

TO APPLY: All applications to be submitted online here.  Send a CV and a cover letter of no more than two sides of A4, explaining why you want the job and how your experience relates to the job description and person specification.

IMPORTANT: We’ll use cover letters to assess applications alongside CVs. Please ensure you take the time to include a well-written cover letter as detailed above.  We won’t assess applications without one.

Coronavirus/COVID-19: the safety and wellbeing of our current and future employees remains a top priority, therefore interviews will be conducted remotely by video if necessary.

Vacancy: Food Hub Co-Ordinator

We are looking for someone to refine and co-ordinate our current temporary COVID-19 emergency food relief distribution hub on the ground in Rotherhithe SE16 to ensure that those most at risk of food insecurity locally are getting the essential supplies they need.  This will be followed by planning and managing the transition of these operations to an alternative site over the coming months, in collaboration with local partners.

 

Volunteering at our food hub

What we do

Time & Talents is a lively, busy community centre in the heart of Rotherhithe, SE16.  Set in a leafy heritage building, and ‘T&T2’, our second venue in Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, we offer something for everyone. With a history of 133 years of supporting people of all ages in Rotherhithe and Bermondsey, we bring people together for mutual support, fun and friendship, with a wide range of services and activities for older adults, children and families’ projects and volunteering opportunities.

During COVID-19, in partnership with Southwark Council and other food hubs in the Borough, we have been operating a weekly temporary emergency relief food distribution hub from our Old Mortuary building.  With a team of staff and volunteers, we take in deliveries and donations of essential food and hygiene supplies and in turn sort, pack and deliver food parcels to 250 of the most isolated and socio-economically disadvantaged people in the local area.  We are now looking to refine these operations and to transition them to a partner site in Rotherhithe over the coming months.  In the longer team, and in partnership with other local stakeholders, we want to develop a sustainable model that addresses food insecurity locally with dignity, choice and empowerment and connects local people to their community.

The role

In this role, you’ll be;

  • Running the weekly food distribution hub (currently operating on Wednesdays and Thursdays)
    • Managing the flow of food through the project to include:
    • Working with partners who donate food to the project
    • Ordering from our suppliers
    • Receiving deliveries and sorting and managing stock
    • Stock rotation
    • Safe storage of high-risk food items
    • Overseeing food hygiene
  • Managing the recipients list, including accepting and rejecting referrals on a ongoing basis and in line with operational capacity
  • Assessing and refining current processes and procedures
  • Working with clients to shape and improve the service
  • Supervising and training volunteers
  • Planning and co-ordinating the transition of current operations to a local partner site in partnership with other local community organisations and wider stakeholders
  • Managing the day-to-day finances of the project

About you

You are passionate about healthy food and nutritious eating and believe that quality food should be available for everyone.  You’re a problem solver and you get things done. You have strong relationship building skills and build trust and credibility easily. You’re flexible, accountable, take responsibility, are highly organised and skilled in multitasking.

About us

We are an energetic, experienced, and passionate team of 15, with a strong sense of shared purpose and a lively sense of humour. You’ll have the chance to make a big contribution to a growing, ambitious and innovative organisation which has doubled its reach and impact in recent years.

This role is part time, with flexibility for regular evening and occasional weekend working.

Time & Talents is wholly committed to inclusion and diversity, and to building a culture and environment where everyone is appreciated for the unique person that they are. We actively encourage applications from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

If you would like an informal chat about the job, please email recruitment@timeandtalents.org.uk with your phone number and a suitable time for us to call.

The closing date is 17:30 on Wednesday 7 October 2020.  However, we’ll be reviewing applications on a rolling basis, so please apply as soon as possible.

TO APPLY: All applications to be submitted online here. Send a CV and a cover letter of no more than two sides of A4, explaining why you want the job and how your experience relates to the job description and person specification.

IMPORTANT: We’ll use cover letters to assess applications alongside CVs. Please ensure you take the time to include a well-written cover letter as detailed above.  We won’t assess applications without one.

Coronavirus/COVID-19: the safety and wellbeing of our current and future employees remains a top priority, therefore interviews will be conducted remotely by video if necessary.

Vacancy: Delivery Manager

Do you want to help build a world where everyone feels part of a community? 

Do you drive reliable delivery and ongoing improvement of programmes?

Are you a strong and highly motivated team leader?

If you answered yes to all of the above, this could be the role for you!
We’re looking for an experienced people manager with extensive programme delivery experience, to set up and deliver key programmes: our children and families work; volunteering and befriending projects; and development of a vibrant calendar of informal adult classes.

What we do

Time & Talents is a lively, busy community centre in the heart of Rotherhithe, SE16.  Set in a leafy heritage building, and ‘T&T2’, our second venue in Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, we offer something for everyone. With a history of 133 years of supporting people of all ages in Rotherhithe and Bermondsey, we bring people together for mutual support, fun and friendship, with a wide range of services and activities for older people and other adults, along with volunteering and children and families’ projects.

Over the last three years, we have developed an extensive children and families programme, and we need to continue to expand its reach, ensure it is designed to meet local and changing needs, and to ensure the team delivers on our grant commitments. Alongside this, we offer informal learning opportunities for adults, especially around practical skills like gardening, crafts, ukulele and mindfulness, and a range of hosted activities including yoga, the local history society and choirs. Given the major changes in the last few months, it is a good time for a refresh of the programmes, and we need a fresh pair of eyes to help us take things to the next stage.

The role

In this role, you’ll:

About you

You have a track record in driving the excellent delivery of grant-funded community programmes in the third sector.  You’re an emotionally resilient and experienced team leader with a growth mindset and plenty of grit. You’re flexible, accountable, take responsibility, are highly organised and skilled in multitasking and balancing priorities.  You have experience of fundraising and maybe other types of income generation.  You have strong relationship building skills – internally and externally – and build trust and credibility easily.  You are passionate about the power of community to connect and support people.

About us

We are an energetic, experienced, and passionate team of 15, with a strong sense of shared purpose and a lively sense of humour. You’ll have the chance to make a big contribution to a growing, ambitious and innovative organisation which has doubled its reach and impact in recent years.

This role is full time, with flexibility for regular evening and occasional weekend working.

Time & Talents is wholly committed to inclusion and diversity, and to building a culture and environment where everyone is appreciated for the unique person that they are. We actively encourage applications from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

If you would like an informal chat about the job, please email recruitment@timeandtalents.org.uk with your phone number and a suitable time for us to call.

The closing date is 09.00 on Monday 28 September 2020. 

TO APPLY: All applications to be submitted online here.  Send a CV and a cover letter of no more than two sides of A4, explaining why you want the job and how your experience relates to the job description and person specification.

IMPORTANT: We’ll use cover letters to assess applications alongside CVs. Please ensure you take the time to include a well-written cover letter as detailed above.  We won’t assess applications without one.

INTERVIEWS: First round interviews will take place on 1 and 2 October.  Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a second interview w/c 5 October.

Coronavirus/COVID-19: the safety and wellbeing of our current and future employees remains a top priority, therefore interviews will be conducted remotely by video if necessary.

Breath of Life Singing Group Pays Tribute to Member Cecilia Gustave

We were very sad to learn that Breath of Life member and friend Cecilia Gustave recently died. The weekly singing group (who enjoy creative and therapeutic singing and breathing exercises for breathing problems including COPD) say that she was a lovely lady and will be sadly missed, and all at T&T agree.

The group collected some memories of Cecilia:

“We remember her as a lovely lady. She was quite a shy person, but determined – she would always ask if she wasn’t sure about something.”


“Our teacher Elisa remembers that Cecilia had noticed a leopard-print scarf Elisa was wearing, and brought in a pair of fingerless gloves for her which also had leopard spots. Cecilia had a liking for colourful clothes like this.”


“I particularly remember her at the Time and Talents fete last summer when she joined in the singing with us, as she did also at the Christmas party.”


“She had a very nice light soprano voice and enjoyed the singing which gave her a lot of pleasure.”


Volunteer spotlight!

Showcasing our amazing volunteers!

Our volunteers at Time & Talents have worked incredibly hard throughout the COVID lockdown. With 118 volunteers making regular phone calls to isolated residents, 26 volunteers delivering weekly food shops, and an ever-expanding team working incredibly hard at our brand new food bank delivering to 60 households – that’s around 250 people! It’s safe to say that we couldn’t function without our volunteers and their continual hard work.

Sadly, due to the lockdown, a large majority of the volunteering has been out of sight. That is why here at T&T, we want to champion and celebrate their hard work by highlighting a handful of our volunteer’s experiences during COVID. We hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as we did!

If you are interested in getting involved with volunteering, you can find more information on our website, or email volunteering@timeandtalents.org.uk.


Doug: ‘I grew up in this area, I’ve lived and worked abroad for a few years and came back to the area recently… I wanted to get involved in the community and feel rooted again.

I first volunteered, about a year ago, for the project Cycling Without Age, taking housebound older people on joyrides in the cycle rickshaw to local green spaces, helping them get outside and ‘feel the wind in their hair’!

Now, since the coronavirus crisis, we’re using these cycle rickshaws to transport emergency food parcels to local families in need. It feels good to be doing something positive, but I’m also looking forward to when the rickshaws can be filled with people again rather than food parcels, and with people’s chatter and songs (yes, we sometimes sing on our cycle rides!)’

Georgina: ‘I’ve enjoyed getting to know my telephone befriendee over the past 6 weeks. It amazes me how many different things we cover in our conversations – a range of topics from music to race to family ancestry! Getting to know someone over the phone, although harder because it is not face-to-face has its advantages – it definitely removes another layer of judgement or prejudice.’

Stella: ‘Volunteering gives me a sense of purpose and fulfilment. I volunteered with T&T prior to Covid-19 in order to help someone who might benefit from my time by meeting them face to face, this was very rewarding as I got to understand how ‘just being there’ for another person can make such a big difference to their day.

I did not know what to expect [after lockdown and moving to phone befriending] however speaking to my Befriendee supersedes any expectation I might have had. I was able to understand even better how just speaking to someone during this circumstance and in general can mean so much to them and so much more to me.

At the age of 81, my befriendee is full of enthusiasm, joy and so much positivity even in these unprecedented times and I am very very grateful to have been placed with her, it is a connection which will last beyond the lockdown.’

Pat: ‘As a Christian and a Retired Practice Nurse who worked in the community in Southwark for many years and experienced first-hand the degree of loneliness felt by the elderly, I believe that by becoming a volunteer Befriender I have the opportunity to give my time to alleviate, be it in a small way, the separation and loneliness felt by many elderly members of our community.

I believe that such a role as a Befriender offers good benefit to elderly people, especially at this difficult time with this virus.’

Mother and daughter Kath (left) and Lucy (right) are volunteering at our food bank. Kath: ‘I think we all have to pull together in these times of trouble to help those less fortunate than ourselves.’ Lucy: ‘It’s nice to help out… it’s fun!’

Housemates Madi (left) & Lou (right): ‘We came to be involved with the wonderful work of T&T through their befriending programme which has been hugely enriching and rewarding. We feel that we’ve made great friends with the women we chat to and although we have never met, we have grown to have mutual care and affection. It’s also brought to light just how much we have to learn from the older generations and how much older people can be forgotten in our normal busy lives.

As our connection to T&T has gown (and since, as freelancers, we find ourselves unemployed during the pandemic) we’ve also been able to get involved with the foodbank, which has been enormously rewarding in a totally different way. It’s been wonderful to offer our skills and time to the community and to feel that we are making a tangible difference to the lives of others.

We can’t thank Time & Talents enough for the opportunity to help and to grow through volunteering and would encourage anyone to get involved.’

Jeannie : ‘My beneficiary has lived in Southwark all her life, and I love to hear all about the old, Old Kent Road which is where she grew up. We have also discovered we both like clothes and good weather.’ 

Jacqui: ‘Befriending has given me so much, it’s great to learn new things and look forward to talking to someone.’ 

Befriender David (and his cute dog!): ‘My befriendee recently had a break-in at home and she found it helpful to have another person to talk to, someone who could listen and help her move on from such an awful and frightening experience.’

Vacancy: Fundraising and Communications Assistant

Job description

Do you want to help build a world where everyone feels part of a community? We’re looking to recruit a talented and motivated individual, with fundraising and communications/marketing experience and a good understanding of social media for this new income generating role. If you are ambitious, have an aptitude for writing engaging content, excellent organisational skills, enjoy a collaborative environment and want to contribute to a dynamic team then this is for you.

What we do

Time & Talents is a lively, busy community centre in the heart of Rotherhithe, SE16.  Set in a leafy heritage building as well as in T&T2, our second modern venue in Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, Time & Talents offers something for everyone. We have a history of 133 years of supporting people of all ages in Rotherhithe and Bermondsey, bringing people together for mutual support, fun and friendship. With a wide range of services and activities for older people and other adults, along with volunteering and schools’ outreach projects across the local area, we make sure that everyone feels part of a community and we work to reduce isolation and loneliness. We provide informal learning opportunities for adults, especially around practical skills like gardening, crafts, ukulele and mindfulness, and a range of hosted activities including yoga, the local history society and choirs. We see a core part of our work as providing ways for local people to connect and share their time and talents, including a wide range of volunteering opportunities, skills-sharing and ways to socialise and connect neighbours close and far.

The role

In this role, you’ll:

  • Support our fundraising strategy by writing applications and letters, researching funding sources, thanking donors, reporting on projects
  • Manage and update social media platforms daily to increase awareness and support
  • Deliver our creative marketing materials across social media, print, website and face to face
  • Assist in the running of seasonal events and a local festival
  • Be a part of the day to day life of a lively, busy community centre where no two days are the same

About you

You are highly organised, have excellent literacy and numeracy, and a good knowledge of a wide range of fundraising, social media and marketing tools. You’ll have experience of working in a customer facing environment and preferably have experience of, or a demonstrable passion for, working in a community setting. Ideally, you’ll have some fundraising and communications/marketing experience, an enthusiastic appetite for social media and a strong aptitude for writing in an engaging and persuasive way. Most of all, you’ll be flexible enough to turn your hand to different tasks across the organisation and prioritise well – this is a great opportunity to get your teeth into charity work, in an inspiring community setting.

About us

Based in the tranquil oasis of a beautiful old mortuary – nicer than it sounds! – and surrounded by gorgeous gardens, you’ll work with an energetic, experienced, and passionate team of 16, with a lively sense of humour. You’ll have the chance to make a big contribution to a growing, ambitious organisation which has doubled its reach and impact over the last three years.

If you’d like to come with us, apply now – we can’t wait to hear from you! Please apply here: https://bit.ly/2YkVIYd

The closing date is 09.00 on Monday 6 July 2020.  However, we’ll be reviewing applications on a rolling basis, so please apply as soon as possible.

TO APPLY: all applications to be submitted online here.

Send a CV and a cover letter of no more than two sides of A4, explaining why you want the job, and how your experience relates to the job description and person specification.

IMPORTANT: We will use cover letters to assess applications alongside CVs. Please ensure you take the time to include a well-written cover letter as detailed above. We won’t assess applications without one.

INTERVIEWS: The interview process will be two stage and consist of an initial interview on Friday 10 July or Monday 13 July. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a second interview later w/c 13 July.

Coronavirus/COVID-19: The safety and wellbeing of our current and future employees remains a top priority, therefore all interviews will be conducted remotely if necessary.

A Tribute to Emma Williams, T&T Volunteer of 20 years

Article appeared in Southwark News on 15th April 2020:

BERMONDSEY ANGEL EMMA WILLIAMS FUNERAL WILL BE LIVE-STREAMED SO FRIENDS CAN PAY THEIR RESPECTS

KEVIN QUINN (15 April, 2020)

The 46-year-old volunteer with Rotherhithe’s Time & Talents spent over sixteen years helping to run group for older women

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Described as an angel by the older people she helped take out on trips, 46-year-old Emma Williams’ life was cut short last month and amid a global pandemic her funeral won’t be attended by any of her friends young or old.

Emma, who had been volunteering at Rotherhithe’s Time & Talents, for over sixteen years suffered a heart failure at home on March 18.

Her sudden death shocked her family, who had been in touch with her less than a hour before her carer found her at her home in Jacobs House on Chambers Street in Bermondsey.

Emma had been unwell since Christmas, but her stepfather Eddie had been with her that day and had called to check on her less than an hour before her carer visited her home.

Despite having learning difficulties Emma was very independent and enjoyed making jewellery, attending concerts and Tai-Chi. But above everything else she loved volunteering, helping elderly people on and off buses at the Time & Talents community centre on St Marychurch Street.

She went on countless outings with them, and its Neighbourhood Co-ordinator Cindy Glover told the News: “She will be greatly missed. She was amazing and we have known Emma for twenty years, when she came here first as a mini-bus escort. She then helped run our group for older women, making tea, chatting with them. They would call her their angel. She loved taking them on theatre outings, especially to the Brick Lane musicals, as well as west-end shows like Lion King.”

Emma’s mum Evelyn said: “She was a very clever girl, very kind and considerate and I don’t think I realised just how many people’s lives she touched until she was gone. So many people have been in touch, but we won’t be able to give her the funeral she deserves. It is bad enough, but this situation is making it worse.

“Her sister is coming down from Birmingham. I have been self-isolating as I have COPD, so we’ll have to go to the crematorium in our own cars. I plan to have a memorial after the lockdown for her friends.”

But the service on May 11 will be livestreamed and Evelyn said that she welcomes people to tune in and pay their respects at home. Bermondsey funeral directors Albins have been offering the livestreaming since the coronavirus outbreak took hold and restrictions were put in place preventing only close family members from attending all services.

The News will publish details of how to watch her funeral on livestream nearer the date.

COVID-19 INFORMATION

WHAT WE’RE DOING
We regret that T&T’s venues are closed until further notice. Our staff are working remotely. We are in regular telephone contact with hundreds of local people who usually come to T&T activities/groups, and are responding to extremely urgent needs across the community, including access to food banks, shopping and medical supplies and care support. We are seeing a high level of mental health crisis and helping people through this in every way we can. We’re making hundreds of telephone befriending matches, to keep our community connected and battle the isolation that this crisis is creating for many of us. Please see our Facebook page for online activities and resources.

GET INVOLVED
We’ve had a huge number of volunteering applications and would welcome more. Please get involved to help your community here: https://www.timeandtalents.org.uk/volunteering-application-form. We’re working as fast as we can to process these applications – please bear with us and we will be in touch as soon as we possibly can.

FOR MORE UPDATES: Please visit our website News page and Facebook page. You can call the team on 020 7231 7845 if you need us.

Sharing Time & Talents: 131 Years of Volunteering

Our Summer Party, with around 400 attendees, in 2018 Photo credit: (c) Alex Brenner

Last night, we held a thank-you celebration for some of our c. 150 volunteers. Alongside thanking people, I felt, as Director at Time & Talents, that it was important to remind people why what they do is so important – and how it relates to an incredible history, and a vibrant, ever more necessary future.

Time & Talents was set up by volunteers in Bermondsey 131 years ago. Those volunteers were concerned about the terrible poverty they saw in the docks and local slums. People lived in degraded, dirty, unsafe conditions. Opportunities for education were minimal. Opportunities for employment, especially for working class women, were dangerous or worse – prostitution was rife, after all. The contrast between a thriving wealthy London raking in the profits of mass-industrialisation, and the destitution of the slums housing those who were doing the work itself couldn’t be starker. Something, they agreed, had to be done.

The women who set up Time & Talents said: we have the time, and we have the talents. Let’s use them for the benefit of our fellow human beings.  Most of them were ‘women of education and leisure’. They didn’t need to work. But many of them also felt their own talents were underused. They deplored the waste and futility of the protected lives of the majority of young girls who were only expected to be decorative and obedient.Their ambition was to help girls of leisure and education use their Time and Talents in the service of others. So they recognised an opportunity to do something to help people around them – and to feel more useful themselves, contributing to a world which often still saw limited value for women.

The immortal Joyce Grenfell

Now, when you think of ‘women of education and leisure’, you might think of something like this (see left) – and you’d be sort of right. This is the fabulous Joyce Grenfell, a comedienne and actress who was our President for 40 years in the middle of the twentieth century. Have a listen to this clip: she is still an absolute hoot.

It’s true that those original volunteers were a bit, well, how can we put it?  Posh. But make no mistake, compared to what had gone before, they were doing something quite revolutionary.

First of all, they were women. Even among the other settlements and similar organisations, T&T is one of the few set up and run by women. And while they wouldn’t have called themselves feminists, the women certainly didn’t believe in waiting around for men to sort things out.

But there was another even more important reason this was revolutionary – since the 18th century, the predominant model for ‘charity’ from the wealthy was to donate to churches or poorhouses – the latter specifically designed to keep people in poverty, dependent, and malleable. If they went anywhere near the poor’s woeful habitats, it was to tour the slums, perhaps on Sundays, handing out coins. Sure, people were grateful at the time. But when they went back, they were still poor. So these women thought, does that really change anything? Can’t we help people in a more permanent way?

Settling Down

What those amazing volunteers did was settle here, right in the heart of the poverty and degradation. Hence the term ‘settlement’. By being here, being present, by using their time and talents, they were able to make a real long-term difference to poverty, to health, to education.

This is the model – or at least, its modern-day incarnation – that you still see thriving so strongly here in Southwark at T&T, Pembroke House, Blackfriars Settlement, Bede, and across the river at Toynbee Hall. It was taken up across the world: Bristol, Edinburgh, Helsinki, Chicago, all did similar work in industrial hubs, working against conditions of abject poverty.

A later edition of the world-renowned T&T India Cookbook

Indeed, T&T has a long-lost sister organisation in Mumbai – where wealthy Parsi women set up a Time & Talents club. If you’re very lucky, you can still find a copy of their amazing cookbook on ebay, for substantial money – it features an incredible mixture of dishes from Lobster Thermidor to hamburgers, to Biryani Madras and Mango Prawns.

But modern day volunteering, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, pretty much started right here, in Southwark, in T&T, and places like it.

Mutuality, history, intergenerationality

As time went on, the T&T and settlement volunteers got to know their communities better than anyone else. They became fully part of that community. Importantly, people who were helped then became helpers. Everyone had something to give. Mutuality was absolutely key, and the sense of egalitarian joint enterprise, and of communities raising themselves up together, became stronger.

It continued over the years. When there were two World Wars, the volunteers of T&T were here to support the community through the loss of generations of husbands and sons in the trenches. Later, in the Blitz, a highly organised support network helped people made destitute by German bombs in areas surrounding the docklands.

They even decided to let in men – as long as they promised not to mess everything up again.

And the work became naturally intergenerational: our earliest members (volunteers and beneficiaries) of T&T were in their 80s by the 1930s. Their grandchildren were in the play clubs and nurseries, while they took part in the knitting circles and debate clubs. We were supporting people from the Cradle to the Grave.

From the Cradle to the Grave

Image result for clement attlee and william beveridge

Clement Atlee

Image result for clement attlee and william beveridge

William Beveridge

And that’s a phrase you may have heard before. The model – of genuinely wrap-around care and support, delivered in the community, free, and when it was needed, and regardless of individual resources – was so sound, that a certain William Beveridge and Clement Attlee cut their teeth as volunteers in Settlements (in their case, as residents at Toynbee Hall). When they went on to draft the Beveridge Report, and institute the NHS and Social Security, many of their ideas had been influenced by working directly in Settlements like T&T.

Modern social work, most of all, was originally based on the work of the Settlements, and T&T was one of the specialists. So it’s true that volunteers – in places like T&T – essentially conceived, shaped, and created, the NHS, social work, and the welfare state.

What we do best

Today, as ever, the work of the NHS and social services is vital. We don’t necessarily want voluntary neurosurgeons (although we’ve asked Dave, our intrepid volunteering lead, to look into it…). But there have always been things that volunteers are so much better at. Often, people come to rely on the NHS or social workers for things that volunteers, and community organisations, are much better placed to help with – like providing simple fun, friendship, and mutual support.

One thing that has been noted in recent writing on social work is that in some ways, it lost its ‘social’ quality. One it became about dealing with individual needs and solving individual challenges, as vital as that was, it started to lose track of that fact that people are social creatures. Without looking at their social relationships – with their wider community, as well as their dependents – you lose the ‘social’. Hence, ‘putting the social back in social work’ has become a mantra for some – and rightly so.

Even Beveridge and his contemporaries later regretted that they had left a lot of things out when trying to replicate the success of Settlements in British social care systems.

One was a sense of mutuality. That everyone can help each other. Another was that a lot of social support is best delivered in your own community, in the places you belong.

And most of all, it was the knowledge that community itself is vital to everyone’s health, happiness, and wellbeing. A thriving community, of supportive neighbours who care for each other, helps to keep us well.

Our time has come again

As our own website has it, ‘after the war, the introduction of the welfare state meant that many settlements such as Time & Talents had to change the emphasis of their charitable work, and gradually the older settlement buildings were relinquished.’ This is certainly true, and we’re grateful that we are not alone responsible for helping the poor and the destitute. But what isn’t true is that the welfare state has ever in any way eclipsed or replaced the work of volunteers.

Many Settlements have gone. Many of us, like T&T, sold our property long ago and no longer have residential premises (Pembroke House, locally, is an exception). But today, at T&T, we’re still thriving – because of our volunteers. T&T is bigger than it’s been in 25 years. We think that the time for settlements and for voluntary action has come again. Not that it ever really went away.

There are two main reasons. One is that, everybody can see, there’s less help around for people. The work of the NHS and social services is vital. We work with them every day and couldn’t do without them. But whatever you think of the economic reasoning, NHS budgets, social care, and all manner of state support, are in retreat. Sadly, we see the negative effects on the lives of the most vulnerable every day. But because of that, the Settlement model of being able to muck in and help each other, and ourselves, will be part of our political and social reality – and a social necessity – for some years to come.

But it’s about more than that. We think that volunteers, and the work of the voluntary and community sector, are valuable in and of themselves. Community, and a supportive network of care, is a basic requirement of any functioning society. Without it, we are all less human, less happy, lonelier, and eventually, sicker. With the talk of an epidemic of loneliness, fragmented societies, and ‘bowling alone’, it must be time to turn back to tried and tested ways to rebuild the supportive communities that have been lost. We also ask whether councils, social workers, NHS staff, or the state are the best people to do this. Is this what they’re there for? We think not – in fact, we think it’s what we are here for. We do the things that vitally impact on what those services do, but are not things they could ever really do themselves.

Creating fun, friendship, and mutual support, is the thing that settlements, and volunteers, do better than anyone else. We do it for ourselves and for others; we do it because care about each other; and because we care about the world we live in. Volunteering – or just giving your time and talents – is the most profoundly social thing you can do.

And dare we say it, community work like that done by our volunteers creates a little ray of sunshine and kindness. They do that a world that increasingly seems like it isn’t kind, or sunny, enough.

In the work of our volunteers, you see community in action. And they make community better than anyone else ever could.

So a huge thank you to the volunteers of Time & Talents – from me, from the staff, from the trustees, from the people you help, from the whole community. We couldn’t be prouder, or more grateful, to work with you.

Alex Evans, Director

2nd August 2018

If you’re inspired, why not find out more about volunteering at T&T?

Rock-A-Hula Rotherhithe: Summer Party 2018!

If you were wondering what it was like at our Rock-a-Hula #rotherhithe party on Friday, this video pretty much sums it up. The hokey-cokey meets rock n’ roll…. with some awesome tropical shirts! #summermadness #community 

Around 400 people – our biggest event ever – came to dance, sing, play, and generally live it up at our tropical themed Summer swinger. Music from rock n’ roll band Peachy Beat kept things rock-a-hul-ing into the evening. Meanwhile, we were excited to see the newest old dance craze taking the garden by storm – the return of the hokey-cokey!

 

COVID-19 UPDATE

 

We know that this is a difficult time for everyone and we continue to do everything we can to support our users and the wider community.  We’re working hard to adapt our face to face services and activities and look forward to providing updates on these soon.

The safety and wellbeing of our employees, volunteers and users remains our priority and we continue to reduce risk of transmission and ensure that unnecessary risks are not taken. This means that members of the public are not allowed to enter the Old Mortuary building or use the toilet.

 

Current services include:

For any urgent issues contact the Southwark Council COVID-19 Community Hub in one of these ways:

  1. Complete an online referral form
  2. Email covidsupport@southwark.gov.uk
  3. Phone 0207 525 5000 and choose option 3

 

As always, we welcome volunteering applications

Please support the Time & Talents Food Hub via our fundraising campaign

You can contact us as usual on 020 7231 7845 and at info@timeandtalents.org.uk

With our very best wishes,

Sarah Gibb, Director, and the T&T team

14 August 2020