On 7th March, local Wandsworth charity Katherine Low Settlement held a celebration at Battersea Power Station to recognise the contribution of their 159 regular volunteers. The evening included food (made by a KLS volunteer), drink and speeches from volunteers, the KLS chair of trustees Ben Thomas, KLS Director Aaron Barbour, Wandsworth Mayor Cllr Cliers McCausland, and MP of Battersea Marsha de Cordova. In his speech Ben Thomas shared that volunteers had given 9500 hours of their time to KLS in the last year, which would amount to over £100,000 if they were paid for those hours on the London living wage.
Despite it being cold, wet and windy outside, it was a warm feel-good night for everyone involved in the thank you event. They enjoyed the wonderful homemade food of a KLS volunteer/ESOL student who made more than enough to go around.
Aside from the recognition and gratitude bestowed upon the volunteers, the evening was also an opportunity to mingle between the various projects KLS run on Battersea High Street. KLS have projects that work with older people, ESOL classes which support newly arrived refugee adults learn English, and a project called Love to Learn which gives educational support to refugee children so that they can reach their potential in the UK education system.
Long-time KLS volunteer Sarah told everyone in her speech about her journey of becoming a learning mentor for Love to Learn. She spoke of the relationship she was able to build with her first mentee and his family over four years, and the positive outcomes this has had for his confidence both personally and academically. She also spoke of the support she received from KLS staff. Earlier in 2019 Sarah decided that due to her passion for KLS’s community work that she would increase her voluntary commitments and become a trustee for the charity.
Looking forward, Katherine Low Settlement are looking for ways to expand their projects and reach even more people. KLS Director Aaron Barbour shared that the charity have waiting lists for every single one of their projects, meaning that the demand is there for their services, and it is their responsibility as a charity to find ways to grow in order to meet the needs of their local community.
You can find out more about volunteering at Katherine Low Settlement by visiting www.klsettlement.org.uk/volunteer