It’s Volunteers' Week and each day one of our amazing volunteers will share their experience of volunteering with Nunhead Knocks.Stephanie Mittiga has been working as a zone coordinator alongside her full-time job in the Civil Service. Below she talks about the people she’s been able to support and the impact Nunhead Knocks has had on the community
When the coronavirus started, I remember talking to my husband about how we could help, but it was a challenge as we didn’t know who in our area needed support. The very next day, we got a leaflet through the door from Nunhead Knocks and I knew it was the perfect way to get involved. I got in touch immediately and registered my interest in being a zone coordinator.
I was so excited to start and alongside my buddy, who shares the caseload, I was assigned an area/zone nearby to where I live. However, I soon realised I’d have capacity to do more as we didn’t get a lot of requests, so I was assigned a much busier zone which I managed alongside the original one. Having a buddy has really helped, it means we can work together and pass things between us. We’ve had lots of cases but they’ve been steady, people have got in touch and needed help at different times.
My role is to manage the cases that come into my zones by allocating a volunteer who can help. When I see a new request, I like to pick up the phone and speak to the client directly. It's good to hear exactly what they need so that I can assign the most relevant volunteer. For example, if it’s a family who needs help with a big shop, I’ll need to find a volunteer with a car whereas if it’s a person living alone, I’ll ask someone who lives as close by as possible.
Most commonly, people are asking for help with their shopping or are requesting meals. One lady who was shielding, needed some food picked up as she was coming out of hospital. The hospital kept changing the day she’d be released so she was getting concerned that we wouldn’t be able to help. We spoke a few times and once she was able to tell me the day she was coming home, I arranged for a volunteer to do a food shop and have it brought to her on the very same day. She was so excited when they dropped off her shopping and extremely grateful. It’s been so satisfying being able to directly help people that you know are in need, even if it’s only in a small way.
I’ve really enjoyed the role, all of the people who have needed help that I’ve spoken to have been so friendly and the volunteers have been brilliant too. I didn’t know a lot of people in the area but I’ve been able to meet so many new people and feel connected, even if it’s virtually. Volunteering has been something I’ve always wanted to do, the problem has just been finding the time. I wish I’d done it sooner.
I consider myself lucky to still have my job in the Civil Service and to be able to work from home. I’ve been fortunate to continue life almost as normal, well without the commute and social life! I’m originally from Australia but have lived in Nunhead for over three years now. I love the community here, there is such a village feel and it’s definitely the friendliest place I’ve lived in London. I hope that this ends up being a foundation for positive community action beyond Coronavirus and that we can continue getting involved with causes that matter.”
Committee members Claire, Paddy and Charlie look back on their time in the group and how it should be structured in the future.
Residents of Nunhead and Peckham share how lockdown impacted their mental health.