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  • Rebecca Armstrong

Volunteers wanted

We’re a dedicated small group of volunteers trying to make a difference – but we need more people. How can we drum up interest?

Transition Walthamstow is a small volunteer group trying to do big things. At the moment our only project is the TransMission Community Garden and it often feels like we’re not getting very far with it.

We need more people if we’re going to achieve anything. This is probably a perennial problem with groups like ours: how do we get more people involved?

We’re a core group of four people, with a fifth doing absolutely sterling work in the garden. There are then three or four more who come along to meetings and gardening sessions when they can.

Over the year or so that Transition Walthamstow has been going we’ve had people show up for one or two meetings but for whatever reason not come back afterwards. We’ve had this happen more with the gardening sessions. I think this is because the garden is a tangible ‘thing’ for people to get interested in, unlike the monthly planning meetings, which are just, well, meetings, and who needs more of those in their lives?

I don’t know why more of these people don’t become more regular volunteers. Hopefully we’re not scaring them off. We’re welcoming, friendly and helpful – at least as far as I know. I imagine it’s a mix of other commitments, lack of time and maybe realising this isn’t for them after all. We’ve also had a few former regulars drop out.

This is the nature of groups like ours – people come and go. We all have other things to do, other people we need to see, other interests and commitments. We also all only have a certain amount to give. But it still raises the question of how to find and retain volunteers. What can we do to make Transition Walthamstow a more appealing prospect?

Then there’s the question of how to get more people interested in the first place. We’re limited in what we can do. We’re a small volunteer group with no money to use for promotion. We all do what we can but we all have other commitments and time constraints. How do we get the word out?

We’ve got this website and we list all our events here. We also have this monthly blog and send out a monthly enewsletter. We’re on Twitter (or X as it’s supposed to be called now), Facebook and Instagram. We’ve put flyers in local outlets and we’ve had a presence at other local events. But we’re still lacking interest and uptake.

If you’re reading this and you haven’t been to one of our meetings or gardening sessions, what would convince you to come along? What can we do to entice you? And what advice do you have to help us get the message to a wider audience? We’d love to know your thoughts.

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