Volunteering Newsletter April 2021

Welcome to the latest edition of the Volunteering Newsletter to keep you up to date with volunteering news and opportunities across Norfolk. In this issue:

· Volunteer Passport update
· Take part in the Memory Walks Project
· The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS)
· Volunteer Story – Alice and Sara – SOS Bus
· Get involved in the Green Care Network
· Roles on the Volunteering Portal
Volunteer Passport update

We’re delighted to report that the pilot programme for the Norfolk Volunteer Passport is under way. 11 volunteers have started the programme, which will run from now until the end of May and will consist of five training modules and three support sessions. As well as taking part in the pilot programme, the volunteers will be letting us know about their experiences of the training and support. Their feedback will help us design the final programme. We’ve also set up a Steering Group of volunteers and staff from organisations to help us review how the pilot goes and make recommendations for the future shape of the programme.

We will bring you feedback about the progress of the pilot, including feedback from the participants in future issues of Volunteering News. In the meantime, if you would like any more information, please contact Claire Grainger.

Take Part in the Memory Walks Project

Make sure you have your phone with you next time you go for a walk, to record a short video for Voluntary Norfolk’s new Memory Walks project. This is a new project initiated by Voluntary Norfolk’s NCH&C Volunteer Team and which will shortly be launched on the Voluntary Norfolk YouTube channel. Alana Farrow, of the NCH&C team explains more:

“The Memory Walks project will be a playlist of short video clips which will be promoted to patients and displayed on big screens on Norfolk Community Health & Care wards. The playlist will be designed to encourage patients to remember local experiences and places and provide a window to the outside world. We are keen to capture sights and memories from across the county, perhaps significant local history sites like the cathedral, or a local park or even the bird feeder at the bottom of your garden. Let’s cheer patients and staff up with some new things to look at!”

How to take part in the Memory Walk project:

  • We are looking for short videos, between 30 seconds and 2 minutes long.
  • Videos can be filmed on smartphones or a bike camera, whatever you have.
  • All videos should be anonymous. By this we mean that no individual should be identifiable, this includes you. Do not film your home address, any children; car registrations etc. This is to safeguard all involved.
  • Please ensure you are abiding by current Covid-19 guidelines in your area.

Once you have recorded your video the next step is to send it to us. The easiest way to do this is using a free service called WeTransfer. We Transfer is easy to use and you don’t need to create an account; just upload your file, and when prompted send the file to Add your email address and a short message with your name, location of the video and date the video was recorded. We can’t wait to see your ‘Memory Walks’!

If you have any questions please email the NCH&C Volunteer Service Team at

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS)

The Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk is keen to encourage as many nominations as possible for The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, a high honour for any group that performs outstanding local service. The Award is promoted and awarded by Her Majesty and presented by the Lord-Lieutenant, together with a certificate, an Award crystal and invitations (COVID permitting) to the annual Royal Garden Party.

QAVS aims to celebrate the very best local voluntary groups across the UK. It is a prestigious Award, given to groups whose level of initiative and impact are truly exceptional. Groups should be volunteer-led, make a real and recognised local difference, and have high standards of financial management and administration. Any group based in the UK whose members are at least 50% volunteers and which has been operating for 3 years, can be nominated.

Norfolk has many eligible voluntary groups covering a wide range of activities. The Lieutenancy is determined to promote awareness of the County’s contribution to the nation’s wellbeing, and pride in its many volunteer-led achievements. Details can be found on the QAVS website.

The nominating procedure (between April and September) isn’t too complicated, but the Lieutenancy will help with advice if required. If after you’ve had a look at the QAVS website you think you’d like to make a nomination, please e-mail Sharon Stone.

Alice (left) | Sara (right)
Volunteer Story – Alice and Sara

We talked to Alice and Sara, who are both volunteers with the SOS Bus, which provides a safe space in the heart of Norwich for anyone who needs help on a Friday or Saturday night.

Alice is 35 and signed up as a volunteer with the SOS bus around six years ago when she was feeling bored with work and wanted a challenge. She started as a Shift Support Volunteer, but now sometimes volunteers as Shift Co-ordinator, keeping an overview of everyone who is on shift that night. There have been changes to the schedule during the pandemic, but the SOS Bus usually operates between 9.30pm and 3.30am on Friday and Saturday nights. Alice admits it can be a long night. Volunteers are asked to offer at least one shift per month, but Alice says she will do two shifts a month, if she can, as she really enjoys it.

Although the SOS Bus is mainly known for offering help to people who have had too much to drink, many different people with different needs come to the bus and Alice says that no night on the bus is the same. She says she loves the social side of volunteering with the SOS Bus and it’s a great way to get to know the City and the local community.

Sara who is 53 was told about the SOS Bus by a friend. Initially she wasn’t sure if it was for her, but after a couple of observation shifts, she says she knew she wanted to do it. She says she finds volunteering on the bus so interesting, “you meet people from all walks of life”. As a parent herself, Sara says that any parent who has sat by the phone and worried about a young person out at night will feel reassured that the SOS Bus is there for them to go to. Help on offer can include a drink of water, getting your phone charged, somewhere to wait for a taxi, a quiet space on a hectic night, or some medical assistance.

We asked Sara what her advice would be to someone thinking about volunteering on the SOS Bus and she said “Give it a go! Sign up for an observer shift and you will know if it’s for you or not, but you will be quite surprised”

The SOS Bus has not been operating during the current lockdown, but is preparing to re-open on Saturday nights, starting on the 17th April, and is looking for new volunteers. See the link below for more details about their volunteer roles. You might also be interested in a short film about the work of the SOS Bus which you can watch below.

The SOS Bus: A safe space in the heart of Norwich

Do you have a volunteer story?

If you would like to share your experiences of volunteering in Volunteering News, please do get in touch with us:

Get involved in the Green Care Network

The Green Care Network is a network of groups and organisations across Norfolk with an interest in fostering local people’s connection with nature. The network defines ‘Green Care’ as any activity or intervention that uses nature and experiencing nature as a way of boosting mental and physical health. They are looking for a volunteer with an interest in Green issues to help with Media and Communications for the Network. The role will include helping to develop the Network’s website and social media and helping with administration of the membership and events. For more information, please go to the Network’s website

Roles on the Voluntary Norfolk Volunteering Portal

Below are a selection of the new roles on the Volunteering Portal this month. If you would like to search all of the current roles on the Portal, please click here.

If you would like any help with searching for the right role for you, please contact us at

If you would like to join the volunteer team in Norfolk, helping roll out vaccinations in your area, sign up via the Voluntary Norfolk website.

If you have registered to become a Covid-19 Response volunteer and you have not heard back from us, please bear with us as we work through the applications. If you would like to register for a Covid-19 Response role, please complete this online form or for more information, please contact the Volunteer Centre.

Food Provision Volunteer

The Feed’s new food provision service will ensure that anyone rough sleeping can access a hot meal in a safe and welcoming environment. Food Provision Volunteers will play a vital role in making attendees feel welcome and looked after, by providing a warm welcome, serving food and acting as a friendly contact to signpost to other services. Full training and supervision will be provided. This is an opportunity to helping reduce homelessness and making a real difference to those who are street sleeping.
Cooking Volunteer

The Feed’s new food provision service will ensure that anyone rough sleeping can access a hot meal in a safe and welcoming environment. Cooking volunteers will provide an essential part of the food provision service, creating hot and nutritious meals for people who are street homeless to enjoy. You will be trained and supervised by the Community Engagement Officer and Operations Manager. Ideally volunteers will be available at least weekly to prep meals in bulk for the week’s services.
The Museum of the Broads are looking for volunteers for their reception. They are asking for a smiley, cheerful volunteer to welcome visitors and to be ready with helpful information to make their visit more enjoyable. The reception volunteers also operate the till, sell items form the shop and supply snacks and drinks. A little knowledge about The Broads is useful but not vital. Full training will be given. Applicants need to enjoy meeting people from all walks of life. Rota system operates; each volunteer 'on duty' for approximately 3 hour duration on a regular day(s) a week, June to November 2021.
Find out more

SOS Bus Shift Support

You will need to have a willingness to help and support individuals non-judgmentally and be able work within a close team environment. You will need to be able to keep calm, working out the best way to support vulnerable people in sometimes chaotic environments. A ‘can do’ attitude is vital for the smooth running of the service. 


SOS Bus Driver
The SOS Bus provides a safe space in Norwich. During the Covid pandemic the service is currently running on Saturday nights, 19:00 to 23:00. The service offers, where possible, support, advice and practical assistance. The service also aims to reduce the number of ambulance call-outs, limit A&E attendances and free up police officer time.
Customer Service Volunteer Kings Lynn
If you enjoy being in an office environment, are compassionate and like meeting people then this could be the role for you. This vital service enables people to maintain their independence and quality of life after an illness or injury. Whether it is to help take a relative out, or take a child to school, it makes a difficult and distressing time a little bit easier. Spread the power of kindness with the British Red Cross and help make sure that everyone who needs one can get a wheelchair.
Find out more
Furniture Upcycling Volunteer

The Purfleet Trust are looking for help with the upcycling of furniture to be used in our warehouse and for the clients to move on with in their own accommodation. This may involve sanding, varnishing, waxing and painting items. A interest in upcycling, experience is desirable but not essential. 
Find out more
Guildhall Volunteer Visitor Guide

The Shakespeare's Guildhall Trust are looking to recruit more Guides to join their team as they prepare to re-open from May 2021. In 2019, their first year of operation, SGT volunteers showed over 3,000 visitors around the Guildhall. The Volunteer Guides will be involved in visits from the general public and will also have opportunities to support other activities including school visits, performances, fundraising events and any other activities that the Trust is involved with.
Find out more
Working Together
Voluntary Norfolk is working with Community Action Norfolk, Momentum and our statutory partners, such as local councils, the County Council and the NHS to co-ordinate volunteer activity in response to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) crisis. You can see the latest update from the Working Together partners here.
Contact us
The Voluntary Norfolk Volunteering Team members are all working at home at the moment and our office telephone won't be answered.  If you would like any more information about volunteering in general or in response to the Covid-19 crisis, do please email us on

For regular updates about volunteering and volunteering opportunities,
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Volunteering News is written by members of the Voluntary Norfolk Volunteering Team and is edited by Voluntary Norfolk volunteer, Melissa Joy.
Working Together is a partnership project between Momentum (Norfolk), Community Action Norfolk & Voluntary Norfolk.

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