Last night I attended the first meeting of the 7 days for Stow project. Set up by Stella Creasy our local MP, this project aims to encourage people into the world of micro volunteering. Over the course of the year each participant will give the equivalent of seven days of their time to work on a local project benefiting the community.
I didn’t really know what to expect so I was slightly nervous as I trudged along Jewel Road to the Quaker meeting-house. When I got inside, the meeting room was laid out slightly differently than I had imagined. I thought we would probably be listening to various speakers and organisations telling us what they do. Instead of this, the room was laid out with tables and chairs in groups, and the tables had paperwork on them. It was looking like this was going to require far more participation than I anticipated.
The meeting started with an introduction from Stella telling us about the challenges and difficulties facing Walthamstow in 2013. And there are many, from housing problems and unemployment, through to homelessness and family’s who have to choose between eating or heating. We also heard about some of the organisations that are already up and running in Walthamstow, such the food bank called Eat or Heat and the Night Shelter. Now it was our turn, in our groups we had to come up with ideas of how people could help. It was pretty tricky, with so much to tackle its hard to scale it down to fit micro volunteering. In our group we discussed lots of topics but settled on youth unemployment. We thought about offering some kind of C.V. checking service and perhaps mentoring or work experience. There were lots of different ideas around the room, and it was great to see so many Stow folk feeling passionate about getting involved.
The aim of these planning sessions is to create actions, or micro projects that can coordinate like-minded people, put them in touch with organisations and get them out into the Stow doing whatever they can. This may take some setting up but its a cracking idea. Seven days across a year is nothing really, and with enough people involved it could make a real difference. Click here if you are interested in finding out more or would like to get involved.