The alarm clock’s electronic nagging shattered our sleep at 5:45 this morning. Sue and I stumbled out of bed, sleepwalked through breakfast and getting dressed, loaded our gazebo into the car, scraped off the ice from the windscreen and we were on the road just after 06:30.
We arrived at my work at about 07:20 am – a time that many people would consider half way into their morning, but as an office worker, it was horribly early. We weren’t even the first to arrive, as I discovered while making the first cup of tea. Our Chief Executive, Jo, had beaten me in to work (although does live a lot nearer than me).
Regular readers will know that we don’t work in some highly pressurised financial institution (thank heavens), but at the heart of the voluntary sector. Sue doesn’t even work in the same town as me, but had come along as a guest to the launch of the Volunteer Centre South Derbyshire and South Derbyshire CVS‘s Open Day.
Dozens and dozens of people came along during the morning, which we had deliberately planned to start at 8:00 am so that people could pop in on their way to work. Itself, an inspired idea because several people did exactly that. the steady flow of people from a variety of organisations across the area didn’t let up. As a newcomer to the area, I couldn’t have wished for a better opportunity to meet and network with so many people.
My own attention was very narrowly focused on the Volunteer Centre itself, although I did find time for a quick dash round the building to see what superb displays and information each of the teams had put together. I probably shouldn’t single out just one team, but the Safer Homes display was outstandingly good.
However, I have no hesitation in singling out one of my colleagues from the Community Development Team. Ellen (and perhaps more relevant, her husband Euan) pulled out all the stops to make sure that our new leaflets were delivered to us in time for the event. Throughout the whole day, we had comments from our visitors about the fantastic quality of the design and printing of these leaflets. I firmly believe that they are the very best voluntary organisation publicity materials I have ever seen in my many years in the sector.
In fact the whole event far exceeded my expectations. On reflection, I have worked out why it worked so well. The whole of CVS worked together as a team to make it happen. One of our trustees took on car-park duty (on a very cold morning). Isobel, our cleaner volunteered to work with Kay, a reception volunteer to look after the food and drink needs of our guests. Every available member of staff was on hand to talk to people about their own work and to signpost them around our building. Donna went round taking the official pictures, (although Sue also grabbed a few “unofficial” ones). Chief Executive, Jo looked after the Chair of South Derbyshire District Council, Councillor Mrs Ann Hood. Other staff, volunteers and trustees looked after the signing-in sheets, masterminded the food, collected the feedback forms, guided visitors round, carried tea out to the Volunteer Centre team and often seemed to be everywhere at once.
This was such a contrast to my last involvement in a major event during Volunteers’ Week 2008 when I felt very isolated and unsupported. I feel really proud to be a part of the team that put on such a professional, well-organised and happy event. Yes, I really do like working at the Volunteer Centre South Derbyshire .