To mark the fifth anniversary of Serve the City, the NGO’s president, Manuel Rudkin, talks about the struggle to find enough volunteer projects to meet demand.
Jess Bauldry: How many volunteers have worked on your partner programmes since the organisation was founded?
Manuel Rudkin: 580 individual volunteers have worked with us so far. Some have come once or a few times, others on a regular basis. In total, they have volunteered for 4,468 hours!
How many volunteer programmes are you working with and what do they involve?
We mainly focus on projects to serve the homeless, asylum seekers, disabled or elderly people, children in need or victims of abuse. Currently, two of our regular projects are the beauty event and the street team.
The beauty event is organised in shelters where we treat women in crisis to an afternoon of pampering with make-up tutorials, manicures and massages, while their children are cared for in a separate room. We want to remind them that whatever the circumstances of their lives, they are beautiful and valuable.
The street team works in collaboration with Stëmm vun der Strooss. We use their facilities to prepare food and drinks which we then take with us out onto the streets to give to our homeless friends. It’s not just the food and drinks though; conversation and getting to know each other is very important too.
What are the main challenges you’ve observed in creating meaningful volunteer programmes and engaging volunteers?
A challenge we sometimes face is simply creating enough projects to meet the demand and bigger projects to include more than just a few volunteers. We are always open to suggestions for new projects!
What have been its key landmarks for Serve the City over the past 5 years?
Actually we are really happy about every achievement, but a few big ones were the our movie nights project, which was entirely funded because we were selected at the event “La Philanthropie, ça marche” in 2015; getting an office space in collaboration with our partner Médecins du Monde in 2016 and starting relationships with companies and creating CSR projects for them in 2017.
What are your future plans, in the short, medium and long-term?
In the short-term we would like to grow our team. We are all volunteers and always need a hand to organise projects and do all the behind the scenes work. The next steps would include creating a lot more projects for our regular volunteers and more CSR projects for companies. In the longer term, we would be happy to assist other cities in the greater region to launch their own Serve the City.
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