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Barnet’s volunteers help Jewish Volunteering Network receive UK’s highest accolade for volunteering

  • Council and community

The Jewish Volunteering Network (JVN) in Barnet has been awarded the highest accolade for any UK charity, receiving The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

This is a tremendous achievement for the Barnet-based group which has over 400 charities utilising its services and over 8,000 registered volunteers helping the charity connect with the Jewish and wider community.

Barnet has a number of residents assisting the organisation, including Mike Boda, who uses his spare time to help holocaust survivors and run the IT systems at JVN.

Mr Boda is semi-retired and saw volunteering as an opportunity to give something back to the community.

Mr Boda said: “When I decided to retire, I wanted to make sure I had something to do and something that would utilise my skills. I contacted the JVN and they put me in touch with holocaust survivors. I help them to write emails, use computers, set up mobile phones and this allows them to keep in touch with their families. I’ve really learnt a lot and managed to do things that I’ve not done before, and I’ve met a lot of really interesting people.”

Whilst being given the opportunity to help holocaust survivors through the JVN, Mr Boda was able to assist the charity in helping run their IT systems.

“It’s a great way of learning new things and you get lots of opportunities when you’re volunteering that you wouldn’t be able to do in your normal day job. I’ve got a lot more out of it than I’ve put in. I’ve enjoyed volunteering a lot more than I thought I was going to and I actually wish I’d done it earlier.”

Mr Boda is one of the faces of the council’s borough-wide #BarnetTogether campaign which celebrates the contributions Barnet residents make to their local community.

The campaign recognises residents such as Mr Boda for the important work they do in the community to help make Barnet a great place to live and thanks them for doing their bit.

JVN also welcomes the support of Barnet resident Doreen Morris who runs its Supported Volunteering Programme. This initiative acknowledges how important it is that people with mild to moderate mental health and learning disabilities are given equal access to volunteering. With the guidance of volunteer mentors, Barnet residents with such disabilities are placed in suitable volunteering roles.

Do you know of a volunteer group that deserves a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service? If you do, visit https://qavs.direct.gov.uk/ and submit your nomination by 15 September 2017 to make sure they are considered for an award next year. Leonie Lewis, Director of JVN, is able to offer advice and assistance to any charity nominated for a Queen’s Award, as she has been appointed an assessor for the Queen’s Award Committee.

Visit the Barnet Community Directory to find out which community groups are near you, sign up to Volunteering Barnet to register as a volunteer in the borough and take our Barnet Together quiz to find out which community activities might be of interest to you. Let us know what you do for the community by using the #BarnetTogether hashtag on social media.

Barnet Community Directory
Volunteering Barnet 
Barnet Together Quiz
Jewish Volunteering Network

Visit: www.barnet.gov.uk/barnettogether for more information.

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