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    • 19 Oct, 2020

    In their shoes: Voluntary Resources Coordinator

    Recently, we caught up with Nathalie Quinn, our Voluntary Resources Coordinator, who works with all of the amazing volunteers who support Mayhew.

    We found out more about her busy and varied role and her passion for animals, including her own Mayhew rescue dog, Maggie.

    How did you become Mayhew’s Voluntary Resources Coordinator?

    I started at Mayhew last June, although I’d wanted to work here for a quite a while. I have worked for a number of charities, including Save the Children, but I (and everyone else) knew I really preferred animals! I adopted my grey Staffy, Maggie, from Mayhew in 2016 and immediately felt it was a special place – there’s a real sense of warmth and everyone seems genuinely focused on the best for the animals. Maggie has changed my life, and that’s not an exaggeration. She has helped with my physical and mental health, as pets do, and she makes me laugh every day! After I adopted her, we were accepted to be TheraPaws volunteers, which we did for few months and loved, but then I got the job and had to stop as the roles overlapped.

    “Over 300 volunteers support Mayhew and a lot of my time is spent speaking to them and the staff they work with, which I really enjoy.”

    Nathalie Quinn

    Voluntary Resources Coordinator

    What does your role involve?

    I find most people assume being a Volunteer Coordinator is mostly recruitment, but it is so varied and each working day is different – although there is a lot more admin than I care for! I have a background in volunteer management but also in retail, events and communications, which is pretty much the perfect mix for this role.

    Over 300 volunteers support Mayhew, and this means a lot of my time is spent speaking to them and the staff they work with, which I really enjoy. Overseeing a bank of people this large and diverse can bring some challenges, but having a sense of humour and my very own ‘therapy’ dog works wonders!

    I am also learning from our volunteers, some of whom have been with us for over 20 years. At the moment, I am reviewing our processes to make sure the volunteer programme is doing the best for Mayhew and all its people. Working in an organisation where everyone is an animal lover is a real game changer, as we all have the same goal.

    What difference do volunteers make to Mayhew?

    Volunteers make up over 80% of our human team, which is about four volunteers to every employee. They contribute in a variety of ways, from fostering animals or promoting our projects in the community, to visiting prospective new homes for our rescues or inputting data – all are essential tasks we rely on every day.

    Animal welfare doesn’t stop at night or on national holidays, so some volunteers provide vital support for us over the Christmas period. Foster volunteers, meanwhile, are ‘on’ 24 hours a day, for weeks or even months at a time. Some never physically come to our Home, but by assisting at events or working from their own homes they are still helping to save animals’ lives.

    We also have volunteers who do little extra things that are really special – for example, ‘catnip Karen’ makes cat toys and even cardboard buses. The latter are supposed to be for the cats’ amusement, but what human doesn’t want to see a cat running around a London double decker!? Another volunteer makes delicious meals and brings sweet treats in for the staff, students and volunteers – those days are the happiest in the break room!

    How have things been affected by the coronavirus pandemic?

    Covid-19 has meant we are all apart: I am working from home and we have been unable to have any volunteers come in to help at the Home, plus many events have been postponed or cancelled. We keep in touch with our volunteers via our dedicated Facebook group, newsletters and monthly Zoom calls, and we ran a number of virtual events over Volunteers’ Week in June to say thank you.

    This year has shown us all how kind and generous people can be, but our volunteers have been showing us that daily over many years. I am really proud to be working with Mayhew volunteers and I hope I am able to for many years to come.

    When you’re not working, what are your interests?

    I moved last year to a house with two unloved, overgrown gardens, so I’ve been unknowingly recreating the one I grew up with. I talk to the plants in and outdoors, which my partner is pleased about as it’s the one time I’m not chatting in his ear!

    I’ve really missed live music, comedy, exhibitions and outdoor swimming during the pandemic, but the Ladies’ Pond at Hampstead Heath is open again and so are some galleries and museums, so I’m really happy about that!

    At the time of writing, we are not currently recruiting any volunteers or work experience students, but you can read more about our volunteer roles here.

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