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Spotlight on volunteering - TWO

Updated: Jun 5

This is the second story in our mini series on GCDA volunteers to help support and promote this year's Volunteers' Week . We work with so many fantastic volunteers at GCDA. Today we are shining the spotlight on Mirabelle Otuoze to show that volunteering is for people of all ages.


Mirabelle Otuoze is a 23-year-old undergraduate currently completing a degree in French and Russian Language and Culture.


Having moved back home to South London to try and save money on rent, Mirabelle found that she was not getting out as much as she used to. She had always wanted to volunteer but had never got round to it, and decided to contact GCDA’s community centre, Woolwich Front Room to see if she could help.


Now Mirabelle spends two days a week, serving food, setting up workshops and engaging with the many varied people who come through the door.


"People might think it’s unusual for someone my age to volunteer, and although quite a few of my friends do so, we’re probably not in the majority. However, I’d really encourage younger people to have a go, as it can offer a real sense of purpose and help you gain skills and experience that you might not usually have access to. I’m really passionate about the importance of third spaces, so Woolwich Front Room seemed like a great fit for me. Volunteering at WFR has been really good for my wellbeing. It allows me to connect with others and I find it so rewarding. I think WFR has also single-handedly revived my engagement with my hobbies too!”


As well as taking part in the weekly knit and natter sessions at WFR, Mirabelle has also enrolled on GCDA’s free Creative Writing Course with GCDA Learning.


“I already write poetry but my studies mean I’ve had little time to do recreational writing. The course makes me very happy and it’s built my confidence. I love the community I’ve found in the class.”


Mirabelle says the skills she has learned volunteering will stand her in good stead when it comes to finding a job.


“I don’t quite know what I want to do next, but I’ve learned such a lot about being in a work setting, and about my own needs and values too. I can’t recommend volunteering highly enough.”


Woolwich Front Room Manager Sarah Harper, who currently has nine volunteers on the books, says the staff team relies on their support.


"Our team of volunteers here at Woolwich Front Room is amazing, we absolutely couldn’t provide the services we offer, without their dedication. Mirabelle is such a valuable team member, who always greets our customers with a welcoming smile, and she is always happy to help around the venue. Our volunteers span a wide range of life experiences and ages, and all bring their own warm personality to their work here. Volunteering really is such a brilliant way to help your community, learn new skills, develop existing ones, and to be your own best person."



If you are interested in volunteering at Woolwich Front Room please contact sarahh@gcda.org.uk

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