Volunteer to read with children this New Year

8th January 2020

Is volunteering one of your New Year’s resolutions? It’s been high on your ‘to-do’ list but by the time you look at the calendar another year has flown by. Don’t worry, it’s never too late! If sharing the magic of books and reading with children is something you’d like to do – we hope we can inspire you to volunteer to read with children this New Year!

Benefits of volunteering

With everyone leading busy lives, it can feel hard to carve out time to volunteer. However, there are a multitude of benefits to volunteering. Giving your time to help Doorstep Library as a regular or stand-in volunteer, will give you back as much as you put in.  Volunteering not only offers vital support to those who need it most, but its impacts also extend to the volunteers themselves. Being a volunteer allows you to connect with the local community, build new relationships and learn new skills. As well as greatly improving your mental health and wellbeing. The National Council for Voluntary Organisation (NCVO) outlines a huge range of benefits that volunteering can bring to individuals which you can read here.

You can also have a read of real-life volunteering experiences from around the sector by OutwitTrade here.

Recent research (*1) from the NCVO found that:

  • 90% of volunteers feel they make a difference through their volunteering.
  • 89% of recent volunteers meet new people through their volunteering.
  • 68% of recent volunteers agree their volunteering helps them feel less isolated.
  • 83% of volunteers say they feel well supported in the organisation they volunteer for.

“Work can’t give you everything. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling frustrated by being stuck to a desk all day and experiencing the world through the prism of my inbox. I see volunteering as both an escape and a balance from my work. Once a week I pry myself away from the ever-shifting, ever-stressing world of work and do something that feels smaller, simpler and unequivocally good.” – Dylan, Doorstep Library Volunteer

Doorstep Library currently has 114 full-time volunteers who all share a love of books and reading.  They go out each week during term time to visit the homes of families living in disadvantaged areas of London.  During the visits they lend books, read with the children and connect with the entire family.

Why volunteer with Doorstep Library?

Whatever your motivation for volunteering, our volunteers all say that one of the main reasons they are so committed to the work they do, is because of the relationships they build with the families they visit. With the range of families you see weekly, no two visits are ever the same. In one visit you can be playing peek-a-boo and reading touch-and-feel books with a six-month-old. Whereas in another visit, you are utilising your acting skills and doing your best angry dinosaur voice for a toddler.

Being a Doorstep Library volunteer doesn’t just mean you are bringing books into someone’s home. You are actually bringing knowledge of distant planets and faraway galaxies. You are inviting wizards and witches and tigers to tea, and you are creating moments of bonding between children and their parents as they share a story or two before bedtime.

Volunteer reading with children

Being a volunteer

As a Doorstep Library volunteer, you empower and equip parents with the skills they need to encourage their children to love reading for pleasure in the home. You also help them to feel less isolated by connecting them to the wider community. This is done through signposting to local events, fairs, or community centres. And we know that our volunteers are making an impact as 96% of parents said Doorstep Library visits have increased their child’s enjoyment of books and reading. (*2)

“I truly believe in the work that Doorstep Library are doing and the value it brings into the homes that we visit. On the visits that I went on, I could see the great impact that Doorstep Library have in inspiring a love of reading and confidence within children!”Dijiana, Doorstep Library Volunteer

Volunteering can easily feel like a task that never makes it to the top of your ‘to do’ list.  However, taking that first step to finding out a bit more about it could be just the inspiration you need!  Feel good about yourself by choosing to volunteer to read with children and make that a New Year’s resolution you do keep this year.

How to become a volunteer

Sign up to one of our Information Sessions to find out everything you need to know about volunteering with us. You will have a chance to meet a member of staff as well as a member of our volunteering team. If you then decide to become a volunteer we offer some really engaging training, as well as ongoing support for all our volunteers.

There is no better time to start volunteering. Help us to spread the magic of Doorstep Library visits to even more families across disadvantaged areas of London. Volunteer to read with children this New Year!

To find out more about our volunteering opportunities visit our Volunteer page.

*1 – Source – https://www.ncvo.org.uk/policy-and-research/volunteering-policy/research/time-well-

*2 – Source – Doorstep Library’s Beneficiaries Survey 2018.