“I like the whole concept behind Healthy Planet”, a volunteer comments on their motivation to join Healthy Planet’s first ever volunteer road show, “especially Books for Free. I like the team atmosphere and the building of relationships within the community”. Volunteers valued the advice that was given and appreciated the more experienced volunteers sharing examples of how to involve community activities more in the Books for Free centres.
The event took place on 25 May in which over 30 volunteers took part and saw the Books for Free scheme; distributing and swapping books via the local community which would otherwise go to landfill. Books for Free has grown at an amazing rate within a few years. With numerous centres throughout the UK, run by 150 volunteers and to date saved 812 tonnes of books from landfill. With sustainability being the focal point of the event, the volunteers had the opportunity to get involved in sessions and exercises to find better ways to promote this message.
Three lead volunteers spoke about their experiences and on the best ways of running the centre and what they are doing to help transform them into real community hubs. When asked, a long term volunteer replied “hearing from other volunteers in other shops certainly gave an insight into what would work well in our centre”. With the majority of people feeling that they have learnt a lot more about Healthy Planet, they have taken a lot of valuable information that would be useful in their centres, People now feel more connected to Healthy Planet as a whole and feel confident that they can pass on information.
With the first road show being a success, we hope to mirror that success in future road shows around the country with the aim to further the connection with volunteers and to show appreciation for them. The day also saw the official release of the new volunteer’s handbook, a comprehensive guide made for volunteers. The day finished with a raffle prize draw and volunteers receiving goody bags and Healthy Planet polo tee shirts.