Blog: Taking volunteering in Croydon to a new level by Chris Adams

Croydon has a lot of things to be proud of. But one of the greatest assets in our borough is undoubtedly our volunteers. They do a fantastic job – bringing communities together, building stronger social networks, and helping people who need support.

Take this statistic: there are more than 1,700 volunteer organisations in Croydon.

The thing about volunteering and participation – even attending a local sports group or befriending a neighbour – is that it helps connect our communities, and benefits all involved.

The Opportunity and Fairness Commission wants to take volunteering to a new level to open up opportunities for residents, bring together Croydon’s diverse communities, and bring volunteers' creativity to some of the pressing challenges we face.

We have set out the following ideas we think could help do this. We would like to see:

- a major borough-wide focus on volunteering, including council staff volunteering in the community to support local needs;

- a resident-led online community to connect willing volunteers with those who need support;

- encouragement for successful residents' associations and local groups to support others and spread best practice – if one group has a great way of working, why not share it with another group that is just starting?; and

- community-led programmes to welcome newcomers to the area and open up opportunities for newcomers to participate in the community.

These are some of our ideas. We want to hear what you think of them.

For more information, take a look at our interim report on our home page.

To get in touch, e-mail contact@opportunitycroydon.org, call 0800 612 2182, or Tweet @OppCroydon.

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