Elfrida Rathbone Camden
Elfrida Rathbone is a voluntary organisation supporting disabled young people, parents and families. They deliver services for Camden Borough Council.
Alexis Keir from Elfrida Rathbone
It’s about quality of service
Elfrida Rathbone is a diverse organisation. We work with young disabled people, we work with families needing support on a range of issues. And we provide advocacy services.
Last week a member of staff, Gosha, came up to my office and she was really keen to speak to me. She said “Alex, I really need to speak to you now” and I thought ‘Oh this is probably going to be a safeguarding issue’.
But it wasn’t a safeguarding issue. Gosha works on our project which helps young disabled people to be volunteers, and she’d been working with a young person – who I’ll call Peter – who’d been volunteering at a Co-op store in Camden. And the store were offering him an interview for a paid job. Gosha had come to me to ask if it was OK to get a cab, and pick Peter up and go up there for the interview. I said “Of course – absolutely fine. Go and do it!”
I use this as an example because it was so responsive. We deliver our volunteering project in a really hands-on way. And it is because we think young disabled people have a part to play.
I don’t think Camden Borough Council could run the project themselves and my suspicion is we do run it more cheaply – but that’s not really the point. It’s about the quality of the service. It’s about believing in young disabled people contributing through volunteering and being able to respond to opportunities.
It’s not just about service provision. What voluntary services have is the links, the connections, the relationships. I don’t know how you ascribe a monetary cost to that.
Alexis Keir @DirectorERC
Director, Elfrida Rathbone Camden