Doorstep Library Reading Volunteers visit the same families at home or on their doorstep, every week with backpacks full of books and two little stools to share their love of reading with the children they visit.
Our volunteers don’t just read stories though; they do silly voices, handpick the books, and give special recommendations for each child. And, at the end of the session, they leave behind a selection of books for the children to borrow for the week.
Through our long-term approach, our volunteers build trusting relationships with families, helping to connect them with the community and signposting to additional sources of local support. We are there to support children and families who need us most.
We have volunteer opportunities in Hammersmith, Parsons Green, Fulham Broadway, Shepherds Bush, East Acton, Euston, Kings Cross, Chalk Farm, Marylebone, Edgware Road, Queens Park, Pimilco, Brixton, Tulse Hill. These run on either Mondays, Tuesdays or Thursdays from 4.30pm to 7.00pm.
Doorstep Library is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people, and all those it comes into contact with. All volunteers undergo rigorous safer recruitment processes including specified interview questions, a DBS check, and the collection of written and/or verbal references. Safeguarding training is a mandatory part of the induction process for all volunteers, and they are expected to always adhere to our safeguarding policies and procedures.
Why volunteer with us? It's incredibly fun! You get to explore your inner child and share your passion for books and reading.
You will be a part of the Doorstep Library community of families, volunteers and staff members.
You can make a real difference to the lives of others.
You give back to the community you live in or the community you visit every week.
You build your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
You will develop skills and enhance your C.V
Skills Developed by Doorstep Library Volunteers
- Engaging with families
- Harnessing a truly empathetic and understanding nature to engage with potentially vulnerable families
- Understanding the benefits of consistency when delivering community-focused projects, seeing first-hand how consistency develops meaningful relationships with families on the ground
- Understanding the value of supporting families to access community services and increased knowledge of the types available
- Approaching families with a supportive and friendly nature
- Developing a good understanding of safeguarding and how to prioritise it
- Excellent time management
- Broad experience of working with families across different areas in London from a range of a differing backgrounds
- Thinking on your feet, able to accommodate for last minute changes in children being visited and what they might want to read
- Employing a good, patient nature with children from a wide variety of ages and backgrounds
- Using active listening to ensure children and families feel heard
- Using a wide range of approaches to create engaging sessions that promote reading for pleasure
- Developing a hands-on understanding of how to work with families in a child-led manner, based on children’s ages and interests
- Encouraging parental engagement in the sessions wherever possible, learning over time the most effective approaches and strategies to achieve this
- Learning through experience, how different reading techniques like phonics support children's reading development
- Learning more about children’s social, emotional and educational development from the early years to late primary school
Planning what books to use
- Develop an understanding of children's literature, expanding knowledge on a termly basis
- Employing an understanding of children’s interests to create a session they will truly enjoy
- Using cooperation and teamwork to agree on how to share planning with volunteer partner?
- For regular, weekly volunteers - consistent commitment to a community-focused project alongside a regular volunteer partner working collaboratively
- For stand-in, ad-hoc volunteers - adaptability and flexibility to support the running of community-focused projects
- For stand-in, ad hoc volunteers - the opportunity to volunteer on many different projects, working with different partners and meeting lots of different families and staff members.
- Team working to efficiently manage project logistics each week, i.e. set up and close down
- Use of bespoke database for regular reporting: developing a greater understanding of the types of data organisations capture, and the importance of monitoring and the need for data protection within that
Be able to make a regular weekly commitment or once every 3 weeks for a Stand-in volunteer during school term time of at least 9 months
Be compliant with our safeguarding procedures, complete an Enhanced DBS and Child Barred List check and provide two references
Enjoy spending time with children and believe in education for all
Have comfortable fluency in English
Be non-judgmental and respectful of a variety of lifestyles and children's learning
Have excellent communication skills - be able to listen to families and communicate efficiently with Team Leaders (including via text/emails/calls with Doorstep Library staff)
Be reliable - always attending a pre-agreed session and giving plenty of notice in advance of absences
Be friendly - to build good relationships with families, your volunteer partner and the rest of the team
Be confident - to lead the session or mentor a new volunteer
Be patient, persistent and flexible - tailoring your approach to each family's needs.
Using financial and food donations from across the community, the North Paddington Food Bank aims to provide at least 3 days worth of food to a household across Westminster to people who experience food poverty.
VOLUNTEER MENTORS needed for our young people! PLIAS Resettlement is a charity which supports offenders' rehabilitation, women in the Criminal Justice System and young people who need guidance (who could be at risk of offending).