Mayor launches Team London ‘speed volunteering’ scheme

25 March 2015

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson officially launched a revolutionary new speed volunteering scheme today, to encourage busy Londoners to try out volunteering for the first time. The scheme is the latest development in the Mayor's Team London volunteering programme, which has seen almost 62,000 Londoners help out across the capital in the last two years.

According to an independent survey, 60 per cent of potential volunteers are deterred from volunteering because they feel they do not have sufficient time due to work commitments. People also cited home and family responsibilities, caring for elderly relatives, or studying, as other reasons for not getting involved. The digital Team London speed volunteering initiative will allow people to sign up for short, sharp bursts of activity, which fit around their demanding schedules, whilst making a real difference to their local communities.

The online speed volunteering platform works by allowing individuals to input their interests, location and availability, to then be matched with possible opportunities: speedvolunteer.london.gov.uk All the speed volunteering opportunities are for six hours or less, require no training and are one-off activities, at flexible times throughout the week

Charities and organisations have welcomed the move, which will free up thousands of potential volunteers to help out at short notice on much-needed projects. Almost 40 organisations across London have already signed up to the scheme, offering over 3,500 sessions, from stewarding a floating community cinema, to greening a local park, or helping at a community centre..

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ‘Team London’s fantastic new speed volunteering plan has the potential to revolutionise volunteering in the capital. We know more Londoners want to get involved, but often find it challenging to fit volunteering into their hectic lives. This scheme is designed to encourage everyone to give volunteering a go but with added flexibility. I urge Londoners to see how speed volunteering might work for them.'

Veronica Wadley, Senior Advisor on Volunteering said: ‘This is hugely exciting for London and will open up volunteering to people across the capital. There are thousands of short, speedy activities to choose from, from an hour teaching IT classes in your lunch break, to two hours greening your local park on your commute home, or a morning helping at a day centre on the weekend. Register now at the Team London website and get involved.’

Volunteering is a great way to gain skills and experience and although there is no expectation for speed volunteers to commit to organisations they support, many have chosen to help out on a regular basis. As part of the platform, volunteers can create an online volunteer CV, endorsed by the Mayor of London, and include a volunteer organisation as a reference. Public profiles can also be added to LinkedIn.

Hannah Saverymuttu, speed volunteer for charity Providence Row, Tower Hamlets says, ‘I signed up for a two hour speed volunteering session with Providence Row, a charity providing services to help people tackle the root causes of their homelessness. Accompanied by a staff member, I started teaching sessions on keyboard skills, writing CVs, setting up email accounts, and how to use Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint.'

Jonathan Dean, Senior Community Engagement Coordinator, Trees for Cities says ‘The speed volunteering platform is a great system – the ability to offer opportunities at short 1-2 hour time slots throughout the week and weekend is really useful for us, and it’s now really easy for us to match volunteers to the opportunity that they apply for. We’ve had some fantastic volunteers support our mid-week sessions which has really helped our programmes!”

Notes to Editors

· Team London has 82,000 registered volunteers and promotes volunteering opportunities for almost 1,200 organisations.

· Team London’s new speed volunteering website will be powered by Do-it.org, the UK’s largest volunteering website, which connects over 250,000 people every month with communities that need their help. Do-it is owned by the charity Do-it Trust, who took it over from Youthnet in 2013.

· Data relating from Volunteering comes from the 2011 Citizenship Survey: http://data.ncvo.org.uk/a/almanac14/what-are-the-barriers-to-volunteering/

· Trees for Cities (www.treesforcities.org) is an independent charity, which inspires people to plant and love trees worldwide. Set up as Trees for London in 1993, Trees for Cities’ aim is to create social cohesion and beautify our cities through tree planting, community-led design, education and training initiatives in urban areas that need it most.

· Providence Row (www.providencerow.org.uk) works with more than 1200 homeless and vulnerably housed people a year in East London, offering an integrated service of crisis support, advice, recovery and learning and training programmes. They aim to ensure people who are so often excluded from mainstream services gain the support and opportunities they need to create a safe, healthy and sustainable life away from the streets.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Information for the media is available from [email protected], or 020 77983 4066

PUBLIC/NON-MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Call the Public Liaison Unit at the Greater London Authority on 020 7983 4100

DUTY PRESS OFFICER: For out-of-hours media enquiries, please call 020 7983 4000