On the final day of our week of interviews to celebrate Small Charities Week we are chatting to two of our user volunteers. A lot of our clients also volunteer in the organisation and this can be a very rewarding and mutually beneficial experience.
Nora and Elizabeth - Volunteer receptionists
Elizabeth and Nora are both from Colombia and have been living in the UK for many years with their families. Having benefited from LADPP's services they decided to become involved in the project as volunteers and are now part of the LADPP reception team. As the first point of contact for our clients, the reception team do an invaluable job and we'd like to thanks all our volunteer receptionists for their hard work.
How did you find out about LADPP and why did you first come here?
Nora: People had told me about this organisation and I came because I was really keen to learn more English.
Elizabeth: I found out about this organisation when I was working with another Latin American group. I was having a look at what was available at other organisations in terms of support and so I decided to come to LADPP. They were able to help me with my illness and quickly I began to feel part of the organisation. Now I have a lot of affection for this place and I come and help and do what I can.
Why do you think small organisations like this are important for the well-being of the community?
Elizabeth: Well, they're important because the biggest obstacle as a Latin American is the language. You feel very frustrated when you can't speak and to know that this organisation can help you gives you the strength to fight that frustration. You can come here and they help with the problems caused by the language barrier. That makes you feel good and also protected.
What has been your best experience at LADPP?
Nora: For me, the best thing has been being able to help people and give my all. Also, it has been great to meet so many new people.
Elizabeth: Well, I have enjoyed sharing this experience, not just with Latin Americans but with people from other countries as well. Being an immigrant isn't easy, it's very hard and to know that I am helping people is very enriching. I think the work this organisation is doing is very important and also very necessary for the Latin American community.
Translated by Rachel Hobbs, Community Volunteer & User Development Worker
Today we are talking to one of LADPP's users to find out about his experience at the organisation and why the kind of help small charities provide is important to him.
Carlos Suquillo - LADPP client
Carlos, originally from Ecuador, spent 14 years living in Spain before moving to the UK. He came here four years ago, when the economic crisis hit Spain, to build a new life for his family. After working here for two years, in 2012 he suffered from a stroke which had a huge impact on his life and meant he had to leave his job.
Why did you first come to LADPP and how did you find out about the organisation?
My physiotherapist Helen told me that here I could do English classes and there were people I could talk to that could help. Then little by little I was able to make progress. It's been a really good thing that Helen has found for me. I'm also grateful to the advisers, who've helped me with the problems I had before coming to this organisation.
Why do you think that small organisations like this one are important?
It's very difficult when you have to go and talk to lawyers and things like that when you don't speak English. Small organisations like this really help. I think that these types of small organisations that offer services are doing a really good job.
In what way has LADPP helped you?
Well, the most important thing they have helped me with is speaking to the council. I live in the borough of Lewisham and the LADPP advisers have helped me fill out papers, translate things and have helped me write. They have helped me a lot and that's why I think we should support institutions like this.
Transcribed by Yeimmy Granada, Admin & Reception Volunteer and Maria Marin, Office Administrator Volunteer
Translated from Spanish to English by Rachel Hobbs, Community Volunteer & User Development Worker
On day three of Small Charities Week we chat to one of our volunteers about their experience at LADPP and ask him why small charities are so important!
Stephen Ayres - Fundraising Volunteer
Stephen has been volunteering two days a week at LADPP since September 2013 while studying for his History degree at University College London. Last week was his last week as a volunteer as he is now ready to start his teacher training on the Teach First programme. We would like to thank him for his support and commitment to the project over the last year and wish him all the best for the future!
What have you been doing at LADPP?
I’ve been working with Jhon (the Project Manager) as part of the fundraising team. Obviously small charities find it very hard to raise funds so we work alongside each other to write applications to grant funders. It’s pretty simple really, we have to write as many good and relevant applications we can and hope that we are successful! Our budget is a certain amount each year so that’s what we’re trying to hit this year and it’s just a case of plugging away until we reach that target really.
Why do you think small charities are important?
Because I think they can deliver services in a much more personal way than large charities or government. I think LADPP is a prime example, it’s a charity but a lot of people might not realise it is a good cause. It sounds like a very niche organisation but once you realise that there is a large community with specific needs I think a small charity is the best to deal with those needs because of the expertise of the workers there. They can help people in a more human and empathetic way and can build relationships with clients and service users in a way that large national charity may not be able to do.
What has been your best moment at LADPP?
Well in terms of an individual moment, getting the grant from Southwark Council renewed the funding of one of our staff for another year and that’s obviously a great feeling to know people will continue to be in work and can carry on delivering important services. I think in general I’ve been working alongside great people and met a fantastic range of people from all over the planet and all over the spectrum of diverse personalities and skills. It’s been a fantastic experience all in all.
Posts are written by LADPP members, users and volunteers.
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