An Update From The Leathwaite Community: Volunteering During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Many Leathwaite employees have taken their time during Lockdown to help others where and when they can during the Coronovirus pandemic. Globally Leathwaite individuals have helped by joining The Samaritans, calling the elderly, even helping to teach.

Read their stories below.

Beth Hegarty, London

‘I’m really excited to have been volunteering to support Furlonteer with their fantastic new project, which connects skilled individuals on furlough with relevant roles in the third sector. Kick-started in reaction to the crisis, and founded over a virtual curry, Furlonteer is a non-profit project connecting encouraging those on furlough to give back and put their spare time and valuable skills to good use.

My role has largely involved checking in with Furlonteers to confirm their role and hear their feedback and positive stories. I’ve loved ‘meeting’ the team, all furloughed and mostly with professional services and marketing backgrounds. It’s been so great to see such positive results with thousands of charities and volunteers sign up in a matter of weeks! If you are furloughed and looking to make an impact, definitely take a look; it only takes a few minutes to sign up and you’ll be matched with a charity who needs your help.

On another note, I have recently begun some online training with the Samaritans to become a Listening Volunteer. The training has been incredibly valuable so far and it’s something I’m really excited about – watch this space for further updates!’

Maggie Hunt, London

‘I have been helping my boyfriend’s 12-year-old cousin with his French. He is about to move to a school where everyone else has already been studying it for two years, so I am skyping him twice a week to give him a bit of a crash-course.

I am fluent in French, which was half of my degree, so it’s a nice opportunity to use my furloughed time to use my skills for good! He is (luckily) a really bright kid and has learnt Spanish until now, so he is very easy to teach and good at picking things up. What I really enjoy about it is getting to teach him things that I never learnt until sixth form, without telling him they are supposed to be difficult…!

It’s really nice to have something to structure my week around, too – and I love using my French again! I will have to use it more when I come back.’

Ada Lam, Hong Kong

‘Thanks to my colleague Emily, I came across HandsOn, a charity platform in Hong Kong, where I saw this ‘Give a call to support the elderly (COVID-19 crisis relief)’ voluntary opportunity and I signed up straightaway! I started by attending a Zoom training session with the organiser and other volunteers. Each volunteer then got assigned one or two elderly individuals to give a phone call to check in with them twice a week over a four-week period – each call only takes around 10-15mins, so can be easily done. I have finished one cycle and am now doing the second one.

Those who know me well know I have a close relationship with my grandma who is 90! My grandma is lucky that she still gets to see her family and have us around her during the COVID-19 crisis, but I know not all elderly people are the same. Many live by themselves in Hong Kong and suffer from various illnesses. Therefore, I hope my little contribution can provide them some emotional support, by checking on their wellbeing and immediate needs. During the calls, we also share some tips to remind them how to protect themselves from catching the virus, as well as keeping them updated on new measures imposed by the government.

The elderly individuals are all very appreciative and so sweet. All of them have said to me that they are now old and useless but the truth is they are not! I love listening to their stories and keep reminding them of their massive contribution to Hong Kong.’

Lewis Rees, London

‘Teach First’s training, the ‘Summer Institute’ (SI) has been forced to go online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For those in the States, Teach First is the British equivalent to Teach For America. Usually SI is a bootcamp-style intense training course which takes place over 6 weeks, with trainee teachers being sent into the classroom in September.

As an Ambassador myself, I was asked by a colleague of mine to run the LGBT+ Affinity Group this summer. As such, I have been welcoming LGBT+ participants to the programme virtually, providing them with advice and reassurance during this difficult time. We are also going to be organising panel events and discussions for participants to fully engage them with LGBT issues in teaching.’

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