Steve Howlett in London

I'm amazed by the achievements of our remarkable volunteers at the annual Peabody Volunteer Awards.

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Emilia's story

Six years ago, Emilia was made redundant from her job.

Already suffering a bereavement, she turned to her community – both for support but also to offer her services to help others.

Emilia is now a Peabody volunteer helping to run Stay and Play sessions at her local community centre and has been involved with our Reading from the Start programme, also aimed at supporting parents with young children.

Just recently, she attended her first job interview in more than 10 years and continues to work with Peabody’s Employment and Training team to help her make the move back into paid work.

Award winners Positive Steps

Last week I attended our volunteer awards ceremony – helping to recognise and celebrate the contribution of our volunteers. It was an inspiring event.

One of the award winners was the ground-breaking group Positive Steps Thamesmead.

It’s a programme that places volunteers in the local health centre to connect patients with help beyond traditional health services.

The aim is to tackle the problems which lead to, or exacerbate, ill health and stress like housing problems, court appearances, drug or alcohol dependency or domestic violence.

400 people have been helped in the first seven months of the project and it can help reduce doctors’ workloads. 

A growing network

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Volunteers in celebratory mood

In the last year Peabody volunteers have donated 180,000 hours of their time to working in their community. Our volunteer programme is an integral part of the Peabody family, transforming houses into homes and neighbourhoods into communities.

It has grown as the organisation has grown - from 80 volunteers in 2009 to 750 volunteers today.


It was great to see the diversity of people who get involved in volunteering.

Jecoliah Peabody award-winner 2015Aged just 15-year-old, Jecoliah is a founding member of Thamesmead Youth Voice who runs drama sessions for young people and helps with funding opportunities for her local community centre, The Link Thamesmead. She started volunteering when she was only 11 years old.


Johnny started out as a Kitchen Assistant for a local over-50s group an incredible 30 years ago and now manages the centre.

The Victoria Community Centre Management Committee has only been running a year but has already raised £10,000 and built up an offer of 30 hours a week free or low-cost activities.

The benefits of volunteering

Volunteering can help people gain the skills, experience or confidence they need to move into paid employment. Or it can people to lead fulfilled lives or feel connected to their community.

The value doesn’t stop with the individual though; the whole community benefits.

Peabody’s ambition is to provide 1,000 volunteer opportunities this year that develop positive life chances, inspire social entrepreneurship, and enable talented people of all ages to contribute their skills, knowledge and energy.

That’s 1,000 more people benefiting and 1,000 more chances to build stronger communities.

Find out more

Find out more about volunteering with Peabody or view our current volunteering opportunities.