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Inspiring inclusion through volunteering – celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month

Pauline Resident (1)

Pauline joined Peabody as a volunteer during the pandemic. Since then, she’s continued supporting and participating in various activities, events and projects at our Pembury Community Centre in Hackney. 

Published: 07/03/2024

We recently caught up with her to learn more about how volunteering has inspired her, why she thinks International Women’s Day is important and what this year’s theme, Inspire Inclusion, means to her.  

Pauline, who is also Peabody resident, explains how she started volunteering at the centre: “I lost my job during the lockdown and was at home a lot. A member of the Peabody team told me about a volunteering opportunity at Pembury Community Centre and asked if I was interested. I said, why not? 

“I went through all the registration procedures and completed all the training. I started volunteering at the Reading from the Start playgroup and sometimes at the bingo. I’m now back at work part-time but still volunteer at the centre when I can.” 

Pauline participates and volunteers at the centre’s evening yoga class, which Peabody funded with a microgrant. She describes how yoga has positively impacted her life since participating: “To me and the other women in the class, it’s the best thing. I have back pain and a knee and shoulder injury due to a fall nine years ago. Since I started the yoga course, the pain is going. People had told me about the benefits of yoga, but I wasn’t sure until I joined, and now I don’t want to stop.” 

The yoga sessions are in the evening after work, and Pauline volunteered to arrive early and set everything up. She’s passionate about how much the yoga sessions and volunteering at the centre have benefitted and inspired her. “It’s not just about yoga. It’s more about being part of a community and how that can inspire you. I talk to as many friends and neighbours as possible to encourage them to be involved.  

“I tell them they can come to the community centre. They can come and sit down, chat, and have a cup of tea. It’s a great way to meet others and not be alone.” 

Pauline further explains why celebrations like International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month are important to her. “I think it’s very important because women really work hard. As times go by, it’s changed a lot. Before, they didn’t recognise women as hard-working or that women could do the things we can do. I think International Women’s Day is very important so they can keep recognising women’s achievements.” 

Learn more about activities at Pembury Community Centre 

Pembury Community Centre has various regular activities such as the Reading from the Start stay and play group for parents and carers with children aged 0-4. Drop into the Pembury Community Centre on Tuesdays (during school term time) from 10am-11.30am to play, sing, read and make new friends. All the sessions are free.  

You can learn more about stay and play sessions, evening yoga and other activities at the centre on our events calendar. 

What is a microgrant, and how can you apply for one? 

A microgrant is a small sum of money (usually up to £500) given to an individual or organisation to help them develop or maintain an activity, event or project that benefits the local community positively.  

If you’ve got an idea for an activity or programme that you think will make a positive impact to our Hackney neighbourhoods, please contact Susan on 0774 051 5234 or 

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Got specific questions about Peabody? We’re always happy to help.