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Jo Wilby looks on

Meet Jo Wilby, Early Help volunteer

Published: 6 July 2022
Filed under: Jobs, training and skills

Meet Jo Wilby, Early Help volunteer

A desire to create a neighbourhood where everyone helps each other is what drove Jo Wilby into volunteering with Waltham Forest Council’s Early Help team.

“The idea of community – where everyone helps each other – means a lot to me, which is why this opportunity interested me”, Jo said. “I think this sense has been lost to some extent in our fast-moving modern city lifestyle and I want to recapture this. Neighbours should help neighbours. I want to be there to give a supportive nudge to anyone in my community, whether that is signposting to the right service or assistance filling out a form.”

The council runs Adult Early Help drop-in sessions, which are designed to offer residents the opportunity to access support and information across the borough.

Jo helps out in Leytonstone on Friday afternoons. She said, “Volunteering for a couple of hours a week is a perfect tonic for me as I work from home. It gets me out of the house and it’s for a worthy cause.”

The friendly volunteers in the Early Help team assist residents with a variety of queries, such as help with reading or filling in documents, accessing online services, signposting to a relevant service or even just an informal chat.

The Early Help team is keen to recruit more volunteers for all of the following locations:

  • Walthamstow Children and Family Centre Hub (313 Billet Road, E17 5PX), Every Thursday 9.30am-11am
  • Leytonstone Children and Family Centre Hub (2-8 Cathall Road, E11 4LF), Every Friday 1pm-2.30pm
  • Leyton Children and Family Centre Hub (215 Queens Road, E17 8PJ), Every Tuesday 9.45am-11.15am
  • Chingford Children and Family Centre Hub (5 Oaks Grove, E4 6EY), Every Wednesday 1pm-2.30pm

Potential volunteers apply through Legends of the Forest and a volunteer coordinator will reach out for an informal conversation and invite them to a session.

Jo was already volunteering as a signpost advisor at a food bank when she heard about the Adult Early Help drop-in sessions.

She said, “For anyone who is thinking about volunteering, just go and do it. Volunteering through Legends of the Forest gives you some great training opportunities which is especially important for those who want to use this experience as a leap-pad to get a job in a similar field."

If you are interested in joining the Adult Early Help team as a volunteer, please follow this link to apply.