A GAME-CHANGING LOCAL EMERGENCY VOLUNTEER PROGRAMME ‘CAMERA’ LAUNCHED IN CAMDEN AND HAMMERSMITH & FULHAM USING LESSONS LEARNED FROM GRENFELL TRAGEDY
13th June 2018, London – A new and innovative emergency volunteer programme has been launched in the London Boroughs of Camden and Hammersmith & Fulham, that will enable local people with relevant skills and experience to be able to help in a time of an emergency.
The experience of the Grenfell tragedy showed that there was a surplus of people with useful skills and experience, e.g. Counselling, who offered to volunteer but were not allowed to help as there was no time to vet their skills and experience. Therefore, people who live and work close to an emergency who can offer useful assistance are not usually allowed or given an opportunity to help.
The new CAMERA (Coordinating And Mobilising Emergency Response Activists) emergency volunteer programme, funded by the Connected Communities Innovation Fund from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and Nesta, will enable local people who have useful skills and experience to be known and trusted to the local authority and so can be called upon in the time of an emergency.
Delivered by two charities, Volunteer Centre Camden (VCC) and Hammersmith & Fulham Volunteer Centre (HFVC), who lead volunteering in the local authority areas they serve. Volunteer Centres are key civil society ‘infrastructure’ charities who raise the level and standard of volunteering in their areas, helping local people to find suitable volunteering roles as well as supporting voluntary and community sector organisations to recruit and manage volunteers.
Shared Chief Executive of VCC and HFVC, Dominic Pinkney, said, ‘We are delighted to be launching this new emergency volunteer programme which will give local people a real opportunity to help in a time of an emergency. We saw first hand with Grenfell and then coordinating volunteers for the Chalcots Estate evacuation that when an emergency situation takes place local people want to be able to help but they do not really get an opportunity. The CAMERA programme will not only enable them to be able to help, but includes innovations such as emergency awareness training, support to set up emergency volunteer plans with employers and social media volunteers to help spread the correct information during an emergency. CAMERA is not just a list of people to be contacted when an emergency happens, it is a pro-active programme which offers emergency volunteers other opportunities to support the community.’
The CAMERA programme will embed itself in the emergency responses of the supporting local authorities of Camden and Hammersmith & Fulham with both areas boasting a strong track record of volunteering. Camden and Hammersmith & Fulham Councils prioritise and are seeking to develop further their high levels of community resilience and cohesion which this programme helps to achieve.
Councillor Jonathan Simpson, Cabinet Member for Promoting Culture and Communities at Camden Council, said: “We’re proud of our strong communities and our active voluntary sector in Camden and, if the worst should happen, we want to harness their spirit and skills to deliver the best possible response. Local knowledge and contacts are invaluable, but what this programme will add to that is the emergency training needed for groups to provide a real cohesive response with lead agencies Camden Council and our emergency partners.”
If successful, this programme could then be replicated in other local authority areas across the country.
If you live or work in Camden or Hammersmith & Fulham and would like to find out more about the programme, please the CAMERA programme by email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 7424 9990.
About Connected Communities Innovation Fund
Volunteer Centre Camden is one of 16 organisations selected to take part in Connected Communities Innovation Fund. The Connected Communities Innovation Fund is a partnership between Nesta and the Office for Civil Society at DCMS, providing up to £2.75 million in grants, alongside significant non-financial support, to the best innovations that mobilise people’s time and talents. The Connected Communities Innovation Fund forms part of a series of live funds from Nesta and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to mobilise volunteers alongside public services and grow the most impactful interventions that change lives. You can find out more information about Connected Communities Innovation Fund here:
About Volunteer Centre Camden
Independent charity Volunteer Centre Camden is the lead volunteering agency for the London Borough of Camden. For over 50 years it has been supporting local people, volunteer involving organisations and businesses to volunteer to help make Camden a great place to live and work.
Sheila Norris – Operations Manager
Tel. 020 7424 9990
Dominic Pinkney – Chief Executive
Tel. 020 7424 9990 or 07725 816466
About Hammersmith & Fulham Volunteer Centre
Hammersmith & Fulham Volunteer Centre has been leading volunteering in all of its varied forms in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. As well as helping local people to find suitable volunteering placements and acting as volunteer recruitment service for the voluntary and community sector, it delivers projects that use volunteering as an approach to help those isolated and disadvantaged to achieve their goals. In addition it has an internationally-recognised social enterprise subsidiary, Works4U, which enables businesses to support the community and in June will be representing the UK at an international volunteering conference at the United Nations Office at Geneva.
Dominic Pinkney – Chief Executive
Tel. 020 8741 9876 or 07725 816466
About Volunteer Centres
Volunteer Centres are known as ‘infrastructure’ organisations for the voluntary and community centre as they support volunteer involving organisations as well as helping local people to find suitable volunteer placements. To become a Volunteer Centre an organisation must be externally and independently accredited with the Volunteer Centre Quality Accreditation from NCVO: https://www.ncvo.org.uk/practical-support/quality-and-standards/volunteer-centre-quality-accreditation