It’s volunteers week and at Mustard Tree we’re celebrating the incredible people that give their time every week to run our organisation. It’s been truly inspiring to hear their stories.
Have you ever considered the power of volunteering? It’s unique – the opportunity to offer and learn skills, trusted to represent an organisation, all with the amazing feeling of doing good for others. Doing good does is good for you! NCVO research showed that almost 50% of volunteers do so to help people. Helping others creates positive changes in the brain associated with happiness, a sense of competence and increased self-esteem.
At Mustard Tree our volunteering is a little different. We harness the power of all that good stuff to the people who come to us, helping them realise their own potential to give and to grow.
People are at the heart of everything we do. Those who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or experiencing social isolation and poverty engage with Freedom – our life skills, employability and wellbeing program designed around each person in a safe space where everybody contributes to the actual enterprise of Mustard Tree.
Whether it’s in our shop, reception, warehouses, vans, kitchen or on our facilities team, as a ‘Freedom volunteer’ you contribute, realise your value and build your skills by also taking part in our courses and classes. By being a volunteer, people take ownership and responsibility – not simply a service user receiving support. They help visitors to Mustard Tree to shop and find the support they need – they really are the face of Mustard Tree. Volunteering brings belonging, purpose and most importantly, enables people to move beyond homelessness and poverty, for good with a strong meaningful CV and experiences.
There are also our ‘Friends of Mustard Tree’ volunteers, who are vital in helping Mustard Tree open its doors every day. They act as mentors and companions, contributing 184 hours a week to ensure each Freedom volunteer gets the most out of our opportunities. We quite literally could not provide the depth, breath and range of creative, engaging and empowering activities we offer without them.
The relationship between our volunteers is so powerful. Every encouraging word and positive experience is contagious – if you experience positivity you will give it out in your community and relationships. You will believe in your ability to make a positive impact. Your perspective on life can completely change in just a short time.
Each volunteer hour given, whether Freedom or Friend, boosts our ability to reach more people in Greater Manchester to remove the barriers to a safer, more secure future by addressing inequality. Every single volunteer lives our values – putting Dignity, Diversity, Belief, Opportunity and Partnership at the core of everything we do with the public and each other. All we can say is thank you for their compassion, commitment and dynamism – we are so thankful to share stories and celebrations with them this week.