Constructive Voices stories

This is a live resource for journalists and anyone looking for stories and story ideas. It contains constantly updating stories, contacts and case studies relating to how some of the big issues we face in society are being tackled by the voluntary sector and the potential solutions emerging. So if you’re covering or planning a story and need a human angle, a knowledgeable contact or just some inspiration, this is the place to look.

If you can't find what you want, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can do a shout-out to our Constructive Voices Network who'll hopefully be able to deliver what you're looking for.


Harry Heber fled the Nazis in 1938 and came to the UK from Vienna on the Kindertransport.

His parents were also brought to the UK so survived the Holocaust but were so poor they couldn’t afford to have him live with them. Later he became an optician in London and then wanted to give something back to the organisation which saved him and his family, so since retiring, he has volunteered for World Jewish Relief making prescription glasses to send for free to communities in eastern Europe who can’t afford them. 

At the last count (end of 2018), Harry had distributed almost 60,000 glasses to 15 countries. He’s most recently been providing glasses to victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

You can read more about Harry (and his sister Ruth) here.

Contact: Rebecca Singer, Head of Communications and Community Engagement at World Jewish Relief - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 020 8736 1250

 

 

A woman working on a project in a workshop

UK Men’s Sheds Association helps form communities of older men to make, mend and share skills 

Read about projects in Denby  and in Huddersfield

Contact: Victoria Little - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Claire Hetherington - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Tel: 01904 704177

Age UK runs Women in Sheds following the success of their Men in Sheds projects. Venues include Cheshire and Leicestershire 

Contact: Amanda Hodgkinson, Cheshire East Age UK - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 01606 884923

Refugee Radio supports refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants. It runs community projects targeting mental health, isolation and social exclusion. They use radio and music to give a voice to those who do not have one.

Dental charity Dentaid is tackling toothache and oral problems around the world, using mobile units to treat vulnerable people in the UK and sending volunteers and portable dental surgeries called DentaidBoxes to refugee camps in Calais, Greece and parts of Africa. It relies on a network of volunteers.

Cocktails in Care Homes is a project run by intergenerational charity Magic Me. They put on cocktail parties every Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm – 7.30pm in London care homes. Volunteers get to socialise, serve drinks and chat with residents. And have a drink themselves of course. They’re hoping to expand to other areas.

Room to Reward offers charity staff and volunteers the opportunity to enjoy a short hotel break as a reward for their commitment, hard work and selflessness. They’ve signed up over 475 hotel partners to the initiative who have agreed to donate unsold rooms to nominated ‘hidden heroes’ within charities. Over 750 hidden heroes have been rewarded so far.

The Wirral Dinghies project provides homeless people in Wirral with a place to go to learn practical boat refurbishment skills and develop social networks. From a workshop on the docks in Birkenhead, participants provide the local community with a boat repair service as well as renovating old disused dinghies which are sold to sustain the project.

Love Support Unite is a grassroots charity that partners with communities in Malawi to break the cycle of poverty through sustainable development, offering “a leg-up rather than a hand-out”.

Action for Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL), a small charity in London working with refugees and asylum seekers, runs The Rainbow Club, a Saturday school offering Maths and English lessons to children aged 4 to 11 years old from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.

Good Gym combines doing good with running and getting fit. Volunteers stop off on runs to do physical tasks for community organisations and support isolated older people with social visits and one-off tasks, such as changing a lightbulb, doing some gardening or moving furniture.

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