It's because of our volunteers that we can call ourselves tenant-led and make sure our services reflect your needs and priorities. Not only do we want to recognise the achievements of all our volunteers, but we also want to get more people involved in volunteering! By being a volunteer, you get to make a real contribution to your community while also having a direct input into how we run things at Red Kite.

As this week is National Volunteering Week, we interviewed Lucy – one of our members of staff who started out as a volunteer:

How long did you spend volunteering with us?
I started out volunteering just for two weeks, but I enjoyed the experience so much that I ended up extending that to two months. This then extended into a full-time job!

How did you get into volunteering?
I first got into volunteering because I wanted to add experience to my CV and increase my job prospects, as volunteering is a great way to gain experience.

What did you enjoy most about your time volunteering?
Definitely how nice and friendly everyone was towards me! They really made me feel appreciated and a part of the team. The fact that I was volunteering didn’t make them treat me any differently, which meant that I really felt like what I was doing was a real meaningful contribution to the company.

What was your biggest challenge when volunteering?
When I came to Red Kite, I had no knowledge of social housing so I needed to learn quite a lot of things! Thankfully everyone was very accommodating and quickly got me up to speed, and if I ever had a question about something people were happy to answer.

What was your biggest achievement then?
I’d say my biggest achievement is all the personal experience I gained while volunteering. Working in an office environment is something I’d never done before so being able to add that to my skills has really helped my career.

What would you say was the most useful skill you gained from volunteering?
I’d say communication skills! Learning how to talk to people at different levels in the company in a professional way is something you absolutely need to have but is very hard to teach. It’s one of those things you can only really learn on the job, which volunteering gave me a great opportunity to do!

Finally, what would you say to people thinking about volunteering?
Definitely do it! It’s a great opportunity to gain experience and knowledge that you’ll be able to apply wherever you go afterwards. There are some things you simply can’t learn without hands-on experience.

Things our volunteers have helped us do this year

  • Selecting our new contractors to carry out, cleaning, asbestos removal, external repairs and painting, and day-to-day repairs
  • Helping us monitor cleaning and grounds maintenance in communal areas
  • Designing our new Red Kite app and portal with us
  • Approving a whole range of environmental improvements such as new planters and a paved area and new fencing at Woollerton Court
  • Converting a bin store at Nancy Hall Court into a charging area for mobility scooters
  • Installing new parking areas at Edgewood and Coppice Farm Road
  • Planning the activities for our Annual Get-Together Meeting
  • Approving our new parking strategy
  • Managing our sheltered scheme budgets
  • Helping us shape our new Neighbourhood Award
  • Carrying our telephone surveys for us so we know what our customers really think
  • Designing and signing off newsletters
  • Helping appoint new members of staff by sitting on interview panels
  • Choosing the colour ranges for new garage doors and decorations in communal areas
  • Agreeing performance indicators
  • Helping us put together the Leaseholder Welcome Pack.