FOURTH column by GL11 Community Hub in Cam - written by Adam Allington Jones

Adam Wilson is a volunteer manager at the charity and speaks about volunteering and Volunteers’ Week 

The first week of June is Volunteers’ Week in the UK. A perfect time to reflect on what volunteering means to me as Volunteer Manager at GL11 Community Hub.

I sometimes think we prioritise nouns over adjectives, and perhaps that's the case with the word ‘volunteer’.

Volunteering can often be seen as a series of tasks that need to completed and vacant roles to be filled – and there is a place for this. But volunteering can also be seen as simply living in our local community.

I want to redress the imbalance and really focus on the adjective. To volunteer simply means to give of yourself freely without an expectation of something in return.  

If you are living in the local community – with a web of social relationships – you’ll probably be volunteering without knowing it. 

You might be volunteering time and kindness to neighbours by catching up in the street.

You could be volunteering empathy and experience to friends who may be facing difficulties.

Or it might be volunteering a smile of thanks if somebody holds a door open for you. 

Volunteering is the heart of community, it's the lifeblood of everyday life, and it’s why I love my job at GL11.

As Volunteer Manager, I feel my job is to nurture potential and foster social connection. 

Across the UK, we are seeing a huge rise in isolation, anxiety and numerous other issues, and no amount of mobile phone apps, or AI is going to fix them. What will help to fix them is connection and understanding.

I sometimes joke that a lot of my working day is spent just saying thank you to volunteers, and it’s kind of true. But it’s also sincere.

I feel both grateful to be able to work alongside so many people who want to get involved in community life and for the fact there is such a strong local community waiting for your involvement.