Strategic Partners Virgin Media O2 explain why building long term relationships with Digital Inclusion Hubs is so important

Good Things’ Volunteer Manager, Hilary Nugent, speaks to VMO2’s Community Leads Team about the importance of volunteering.

This Volunteers Week, we wanted to shout about the great work that Virgin Media O2’s Community Leads teams have been doing to support digital inclusion and hubs all around the country.

Community Leads introduce themselves in local areas ahead of any major Virgin Media O2  build work being started, forging relationships with local authorities, community groups, and local residents to make sure that work goes as smoothly as possible for everyone.

As part of Virgin Media O2’s wider strategy to support digital inclusion,  Community Leads have been working hard both to promote the National Digital Inclusion Network to new organisations, and provide volunteering support to existing members of the Network. Alongside introducing Good Things Foundation to over 100 new organisations over the last year, they’ve run digital support sessions and provided a wide range of volunteer support to local hubs.  

I recently caught up with Sally and Jack from the Southern team to hear more about what they’ve been doing, and why they’ve enjoyed it so much.

Jack spent time volunteering at Rhondda Housing Association in TonyPandy, who carry out a wide range of support activities in their community, including a food bank and a men’s shed.  

Jack, and other team members, got involved in lots of events, including  “Fit and Fed”  events for children during the summer holidays , and a pride celebration event.

His absolute favourite was supporting a treasure hunt at Christmas, that took participants to shops along the high street,  donating bags of gold coins as prizes . The event built a sense of community,  and he enjoyed it so much that  “I was only planning on being there for a couple of hours, and ended up staying til 9pm at night!”

“It was great meeting all the kids at the fit and fed events one month and seeing all their faces again the next month and them all running up to saying hello!”

“The kids decorated my work lanyard during Pride week and I still have all the decorations attached now” – Jack

Sally, with a range of colleagues, volunteered at Horsham Matters.  With their can-do approach, they waitressed at lunch clubs, collected donations for sponsored auctions, and supported charity golf days. They also distributed Christmas hampers (including a very useful O2 sim in every pack).

They’ve made some important introductions too, enabling  Horsham Library, a member of the Network, to attend lunch clubs and run digital support sessions. They  introduced Horsham Matters to the National Digital Inclusion Network as part of their volunteering, which will enable more people to find the digital support they need in Horsham.

Both Jack and Sally have been made so welcome by these organisations, and feel like they really connected with the local communities and were able to see first hand how their volunteering could help.

Jack, Sally, and their teams, have hit the nail on the head with their volunteering, offering wide ranging flexible support, adding value to the work of these organisations and  developing long-term positive relationships – all while having a great time!

“Our work is always all about building relationships but this means so much more  to be able to build a  long term relationship with such a great organisation like Rhondda Housing Association” – Jack