Volunteering means I’ve gained new skills and new friends

June 25, 2020
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It’s Volunteers' Week and each day one of our amazing volunteers will share their experience of volunteering with Nunhead Knocks.

Today, we kick off with Sophie Malik, HR Director and Brenchley Gardens resident of two and a half years, who started volunteering for Nunhead Knocks in April, with a month in the IT team. 

Getting involved

“At the start of lockdown, my job was cut to two days a week so, like many people, I was suddenly faced with lots of spare time. I work in a tech company focused on sustainable energy so finding something where I can do good felt important.

“I first heard about Nunhead Knocks after noticing some signs go up near my home and I offered my support through the website, mentioning that I have tech skills. I was soon put in touch with the Development team to help fix some IT issues and, since then, I’ve been working with eight other amazing volunteers - Alex, Dan, Fahzan, Gareth, Kristina, Michelle, Natalie and Reuben - who are all passionate about helping the community.

“Of course, we’ve all had tremendous guidance from Clive, who knows so much about Nunhead Knocks and inspires us to get creative.

Sophie and Grimble

Developing systems to serve the community

“My job is to make sure that technical volunteers are set up to help the community and that our database gives the right information to the right people at the right time.

“A big part of this is developing interactive maps which help serve the local community by ensuring that volunteers can track support cases easily and protect people’s data too. To keep our volunteers and the people we help safe, there’s a lot of information that needs to be considered and managed. For example, if someone has coronavirus and they need our support, it’s important that the volunteer can see this and take appropriate measures, particularly if they’re high-risk themselves.

“I’m really proud of the interactive maps and we’re constantly trying to improve them so that volunteers can get what they need before having to ask us for help.

New skills and new friends

“I’m really interested in tech and, even though I work in a tech company, I lack hands-on experience as my role focuses on people. However, volunteering for Nunhead Knocks has allowed me to develop exciting new skills. I’ve been able to learn from a bunch of really skilled individuals who are eager to help and share their knowledge. 

"For instance, I didn’t know anything about databases and now I can confidently train people on how to use them. I’ve also learnt to appreciate the unique working environment of a volunteer organisation and the different levels of support so many can offer if they’re privileged enough to have the time. It’s been empowering to be taken seriously when suggesting tech solutions to senior developers and to work alongside them as a peer.

“Before lockdown, I lived in my own bubble and only knew other locals who are a similar age or live directly around me. However, getting involved with Nunhead Knocks has introduced me to so many people from different generations and backgrounds. I’ve made some really good friends that won’t just be for lockdown.

“Looking forwards, I hope that Nunhead Knocks continues to bring people together. Unfortunately, people will still need support after the lockdown ends and having an organised system to help neighbours is a remarkable achievement for Nunhead Knocks and is important for our community.”


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