Volunteer to read with children – join our growing team today. At Doorstep Library, we believe in the power of words to take children places, not just in their imagination, but in their lives. Whether in person, online or in the post, Doorstep Library supports children living in some of London’s most disadvantaged areas. Our teams of Home and Online Reading Volunteers make weekly visits to children at home or online, to read stories, lend books and connect families to their local community. 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 National Volunteer’s Week!
The benefits of volunteering
There are a multitude of reasons why someone chooses to volunteer. Whether it’s helping others or just wanting to meet people and learn new skills. Part of what makes a good volunteer is finding something that inspires you or that you’re truly passionate about and then finding an organisation who meets that need.
Giving your time to help Doorstep Library as a Home, Online or Stand-in Reading 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 others, to build new relationships and to learn new skills. As well as greatly improving your own mental health and wellbeing.
Research by The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has found:
- 78% of volunteers were now in contact with people from different backgrounds and cultures
- 77% agree it improves their mental health and wellbeing
- 68% agree it helps them feel less isolated – this is even higher among younger volunteers (77% for those aged 18–24 and 76% for those aged 25–34).
“I would like to thank you for trusting us and giving us the opportunity to be part of the Doorstep Library family. I absolutely loved my time at Doorstep Library. I truly believe in the work that Doorstep Library are doing and the value it brings into the homes that we visit. On the rounds that I went on I could see the great impact that Doorstep Library had in inspiring a love of reading and confidence within children.” – Dijana, Westminster volunteer
What the roles involve
Regardless of what motivates you to volunteer what ties all of Doorstep Library volunteers together is not only their love of books and reading but the strong relationships they build with their families and fellow volunteers. Depending on your capacity to volunteer, at Doorstep Library we offer a number of different roles to suit most lifestyles. From a regular Home and Online Reading Volunteer visiting families every week to a stand-in Volunteer who fills in on an ad hoc basis when our regular readers are away. We hope you’ll find a role which is right for you.
Home Reading Volunteer
As a regular Home Reading Volunteer, you’ll visit the same five families on their doorstep, in one of our four boroughs (Hammersmith and Fulham, Camden, Westminster or Lambeth) every week. Which means you’ll get to know one set of families really well. Finding the most appropriate books for every child you visit and building a long-standing relationship with the whole family. We ask our regular Home Reading Volunteers to be available on a set day every week during term time only from 4.30 pm – 7.00 pm.
Online Reading Volunteer
Our newest role is that of the Online Reading Volunteer. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has accelerated educational inequality at an alarming rate and continues to be a growing problem. As a result, we’ve adapted or home-reading service and have now launched our Online Reading Corner with a brand-new volunteering role. As an Online Reading Volunteer, you will visit the same three families virtually once a week through our online reading sessions, all happening via Zoom. Volunteers will also need to be available on a set day every week during term time only from 4.30 pm – 6.30 pm.
As a stand-in Reading Volunteer, you will fill in for our regular Home Reading and Online Reading Volunteers when they are away. Stand-in readers only cover reading sessions as and when they’re available and so don’t need to make a weekly commitment. They also have the chance to work with different volunteers and meet different families. As with our other roles, sessions only take place during term time, after school hours.
How to get involved
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. Sign up to attend one of our Information Sessions on Zoom to find out everything you need to know about becoming a Reading Volunteer. 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.
“I have to say that the training sessions I got at Doorstep since I started are the most efficient and professional ones I received in my whole work, charity and personal life. You are always clear, concise, on schedule. Thanks for showing us you value the time we give.” – Clemence, Lambeth Volunteer
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 now!
To find out more about our volunteering opportunities visit our Volunteer page.