Inside Out Community
#TheBigSuffolkPledge is now in full swing, across Suffolk individuals, groups and businesses are thinking about how they can support volunteering locally. If you are wondering what kind of volunteering roles are available and why they are important, hear what Inside Out Community have to say about their volunteers.
“It’s about Suffolk, It’s about the people of Suffolk.”
Inside Out Community is a thriving community of artists, volunteers and members who use art and creativity as a way of maintaining their mental health and emotional wellbeing. Ankita Aggarwal, Project Manager and Fundraising Officer explains “we are a locally based charity in Ipswich. We do various creative workshops in music, in visual art, dance and movement and creative writing, but the aim and focus of all of that we do is the mental health and emotional well-being of our members. We believe in the power of creativity for people’s well-being, and we are lucky to be in our 20th year of operation this year”.
Inside Out Community has a huge variety of volunteering roles from helping to set up the room and equipment for its members, to offering one to one assistance to those who need it and administrative support. They are currently looking to expand their Trustees board in order to drive the creative efforts of the charity to meet local mental health needs but they are also looking for Fundraising Ambassadors to help support the workshops further. The community aspect even reaches their fundraising. Members of the community have already come up with fun and unique ways to raise money. “We’ve had people make scarves. We’ve had people make cakes. We’ve had somebody do a little garden event in their back garden with a raffle. We’ve had people make jewelry, bookmarks and all sorts of things and then give them to us to sell, to raise money for the charity. They come up with those ideas, sometimes it’s inspired by workshop that we’ve done, sometimes it’s a particular interest that somebody has but its another vital volunteering activity that keeps Inside Out Community thriving.”
A sense of community is at the centre of everything Inside Out Community does. Ankita believes Inside Out Community can be defined by three terms: Mental health and emotional well-being, local community and creativity. “Those 3 terms really define us and we’re really glad that over the last couple of years we have also managed to become quite culturally diverse as a conscious effort. We’re very lucky that we’ve been able to reach out to ethnically diverse communities in the recent times that includes the Jewish community, the Roma community, the Sikh community, the Chinese community and the African Caribou community” Katie Farrow, Creative Administrator added “ if we’re doing a workshop in African art it’s important that we have an African artist delivering that workshop” It is clear that Inside Out Community is open to all, it is not a closed group and offers a warm welcome and a community approach to all involved. The diversity of the community enables shared learning and a genuine interest in art. Inside Out Communities investment in diversity has not gone un-noticed, they have recently won a GOLD award in Pride in Practice in recognition of their efforts to become a more inclusive community.
It’s not all about the creative element, Inside Out Community also offers growth, support and recovery to its members including its volunteers. Many of their current volunteers started after being a member of the community and growing in confidence. Inside Out Community offers a ‘Members Growth Pathway’ which directly supports members to grow and take on other roles within the community. Ankita herself has followed this path “I joined Inside Out as a member during COVID you know when everybody was experiencing isolation and loneliness. I joined their dance session online at that time and that gave me so much confidence, just seeing some very warm-hearted people and smiles on the Zoom screen made my day, So I got that confidence and obviously now I’m here in this role as a Project Manager”.
In 2021, Inside Out community and volunteers were even awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service with a special recognition award for their work during the Covid 19 Pandemic. Volunteers really went the extra mile during the Covid 19 pandemic, they took on new roles such as delivering creativity packs to those isolated at home and making sure online workshops were up and running.
Inside Out Community like many relies on the work of their volunteers, from the workshop to the Trustee Board they are the heart of the Charity. Charities in Suffolk continue to seek volunteer support more than ever, Katie explained why #TheBigSuffolkPledge is important to Inside Out Community “I think what makes #TheBigSuffolkPledge important, particularly in relation to Inside Out Community, is like many organisations It’s about Suffolk, It’s about the people of Suffolk. It’s about supporting our own community and the people within it” Pledges whether big or small will help charities like Inside Out Community. Pledging to share volunteering roles and opportunities is a great way of supporting volunteering in Suffolk or as Katie says “Perhaps if you’re a company that has some materials such as coloured paper you don’t need or paint, brushes, etc. you could volunteer to donate these materials to us”
To find out more about volunteering at Inside Out Community visit https://www.insideoutcommunity.com/ email [email protected] or call 01473 563900, you can also search for volunteering opportunities across Suffolk by visiting volunteersuffolk.org.uk
Could you make a pledge to support charities like Inside Out Community, visit The Big Suffolk Pledge – Community Action Suffolk to make your pledge today.