What does Doorstep Library do?
Do you remember a character from a childhood book as fondly as an old friend?
If you do, you’ll know the magic of being able to slip into another world as and when you need to, or how books can make your world a bigger, brighter place.
For bookworms especially, it’s hard to believe that anyone could see reading as anything other than empowering, or even just a pleasure. For the third of children from disadvantaged areas who leave primary school without being able to read well, often it’s nothing but a chore.
That’s why our Home Reading Volunteers like to turn up on the doorstep, with backpacks of books, two little stools, and a pair of volunteers who know that words take you places
What do Home Reading Volunteers do?
Our volunteers bring the magic of reading directly into the homes of families living in disadvantaged estates every week in Hammersmith and Fulham, Westminster and Lambeth.
Armed with a backpack full of books and two little stools, Doorstep Library volunteers visit the same 5 families every week to share their love of reading with primary school aged children. Doorstep Library volunteers don’t just read stories though. They do the silly voices, hand pick the books, and give special recommendations. By making it fun first, we inspire children to experience the joy of stories and books, and transform them into budding readers.
By really getting to know the families, week after week, we empower parents to get stuck into the sessions too and encourage them to get involved in their children’s education. Sometimes though, we’re just there to give that bit of extra support, whether we’re signposting information about a family activity, lending an ear, or even just being a friendly face. Then, before we go, we leave behind a selection of books for each child to borrow for the week.
Where do we do it?
We work in on disadvantaged estates because poor reading skills are inextricably linked to economic disadvantage and reduced life possibilities. For various reasons, children from the poorest families are less likely to have books, less likely to read with their parents and less likely to read for pleasure. Not only are they more likely to fall behind in their studies as a result, they fall behind in their lives. We go to them because much of what support there is doesn’t reach its target and we leave our most vulnerable children behind.
We’re looking for an enthusiastic, community-oriented self-starter, whole heartedly committed to tackling illiteracy and breaking down social barriers on the ground to run our projects in Hammersmith and Fulham. Being a Project Coordinator here at Doorstep Library is a high energy, multifaceted role. Working with our highly experienced Programme Manager, you’ll deliver three projects per week, coordinate a 50 strong volunteer team, and manage a part time Team Leader delivering another two projects, whilst building relationships with families from hugely diverse backgrounds during home reading visits. You’ll also provide additional support for families, develop creative, sensitive and accessible holiday activities and signposting programmes, and analyse the impact and outcomes of our work.
We started out with one project in Fulham and have expanded our reach to 14 projects across 3 boroughs, making visits to over 500 children a week at present. We plan to continue expanding our reach, which makes it an exciting time to get involved.
- 35 hours per week.
- 6-9 hours per week based on projects across Hammersmith and Fulham.
- Projects run on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from either 3.45pm-6.30pm or 4.30pm – 7pm, depending on location.
- The remaining hours are based in our Victoria office.
Working with the Programme Manager, Team Leader and alongside the Programmes Team, you will:
- Lead two/three teams of ten volunteers on a weekly basis for two/three Doorstep Libraries in your designated borough, whilst overseeing the many details that make for the smooth running of a project, and conducting Home Reading Visits.
- Manage the day-to-day work of the part time Team Leader who will be leading two teams of ten on a weekly basis for two Doorstep Libraries in your designated borough.
- Support and regularly communicate with a team of up to fifty volunteers by promptly answering queries via text, email and phone calls, plus scheduling stand in volunteers for sessions. Ensuring volunteer satisfaction is essential for retention. We’re a volunteer led service and simply would not exist without them.
- Assist the Programme Manager with the development of monitoring information for the individual Doorstep Libraries and lead on their collection.
- Prepare for and facilitate end of term evaluation sessions with the Team Leader and volunteers.
- Manage effective working relationships with staff where projects are based to ensure the smooth running of the service and support Team Leader to do so.
- Be responsible for the recruitment procedures of all Home Reading Volunteers and ensure that full teams of ten are provided for each Doorstep Library. This will consist of shortlisting applications, interviewing, contacting references, processing DBS checks, writing and reviewing feedback for trialee volunteers.
- Deliver our Volunteer Training Programme to new volunteers, alongside our Lead Trainer (involves occasional Saturday working.)
- Complete probationary period reviews of volunteers including undertaking courtesy calls when volunteers have been successful, and rejecting volunteers at different stages of the process.
- Deliver a system of individual appraisals for volunteers on your projects.
- Ensure volunteers adhere to our policies and procedures to ensure the smooth running of the projects and integrity of the organisation.
- Oversee management of the stock of books on each project, including replenishment of stock, fulfilling requests and book rotations between projects.
- Supported by the Marketing team and along with the rest of the Programmes team, ensure that Doorstep Library builds brand awareness locally and volunteer recruitment campaigns are effectively carried out for your borough. This could be through regular leaflet and poster sharing with local bookstores, or by creating fun, engaging digital content which tells the story of life “on the ground” for volunteers in your borough, to name a few examples.
- Supported by the Marketing Assistant, attend local fairs/ community events as and when required to raise awareness about volunteering opportunities in your borough, and encourage your volunteer teams to join you to help spread the word.
- Working with partners (children’s centres, primary schools, community organisations), assist in the development and updating of a signposting database for the organisation, and implement a termly signposting programme to further support our families.
- Supervise direct support for priority families across the projects as required, including facilitating access to local community services and specialist organisations. To support the Team Leader/s in doing so.
- Nurture effective, ongoing, referral pathways with local primary schools, children’s centres and family support services.
- Participate in designated local network meetings of statutory services, schools and family support organisations as appropriate to promote and further the objectives of the organisation.
- You are able to work until 7pm three evenings per week (please see above for exact days) and have the flexibility to attend out of hours’ community events, networking meetings and training sessions as required, with time off provided in lieu.
- You are able to obtain a clear DBS certification (provided).
- Whilst on project, you’re able to lead, motivate, and manage a team of ten volunteers with confidence, diplomacy and positivity, deliver friendly but firm instructions to the room, and think on your feet.
- You have exemplary time management skills in order to balance leading the team effectively and going out on home visits.
- You’re reliable, have a strong sense of responsibility and can lead on the many details that make for the smooth running of a project independently.
- You’re physically fit enough to lift boxes of books, carry a backpack, walk quickly between houses, go up and down flights of stairs, in and out of lifts, and, crucially, you’re prepared to go out and in all winds and weathers with gusto and enthusiasm.
- You’re unfazed by the prospect of knocking doors in estates to find new families, have the persistence and patience to build and sustain early stage relationships with those families and have the ability to motivate and support volunteers to carry out this essential part of the role.
- You’re at ease with children from 0-11 years old, whether that’s showing a 6 month old a board book or discussing Phillip Pullman with a discerning Year Six pupil. You advocate our child led approach and are flexible and adaptable to suit each family’s needs, on a week by week basis.
- You love children’s books and/or are a real bookworm yourself therefore know the importance of reading for pleasure on a personal level.
- You have a non-judgemental, sensitive, empathic approach to the barriers faced by the families we visit and have the ability to build their trust.
- A true people person, you’ll thrive on the opportunity to meet and build relationships with people from different cultures and every walk of life. That could mean an isolated Mum who’s just moved to London from Eritrea, a volunteer who’s sold a multimillion pound company and now has time to give back to their community, or a primary school teacher looking for a way to help a child 3 years behind with their reading level.
- You’re a model Home Reading Volunteer and the team can look to you for inspiration and support when, inevitably, they are faced with their own challenges throughout their volunteering experience.
- You have excellent all round communication skills, whether that’s actively listening to families during a busy home reading visit, sending high quality texts and emails to volunteers or having a difficult conversation with a prospective volunteer who isn’t meeting expectations during their trial period.
- In the office, you’re highly organised, comfortable managing your own workload and able to deal with multiple tasks and challenges at the same time, whilst effectively supervising team leaders independently running projects in your borough.
- You’re perceptive, and show sensitive insight when recruiting the right volunteers for projects.
- You’re a confident speaker who can talk passionately about our work to prospective volunteers, donors and other stakeholders.
- You’re a committed team player, have experience working in a busy, hands on small or medium organisation and have a willingness to share responsibility of the charity.
- You’re community-oriented and would really embrace the challenge of taking ownership of both your hub and of Doorstep Library’s reputation in and relationship with your borough.
- You’ll have a thirst for learning more about your borough, the communities we work in, the challenges they face and the services available to them, and are fascinated by London at large, the social challenges it faces and its myriad complexities.
- You’re excited by the prospect of tackling illiteracy hands on and empowering parents to get involved in their children’s education.
- You’re motivated by equal opportunity, everyone having the chance to fulfil their full potential, and the chance to contribute to multiple social issues, namely literacy, community and social cohesion, in a practical way with direct impact.
- You’re able to adapt to the rapidly changing needs of a small charity and are passionate about developing, improving and sustaining Doorstep Library for the future.
- You have experience coordinating and running community based, grassroots project work and building relationships with beneficiaries over the long term.
- You have experience working with a range of people across the public, private and community sectors.
- You have experience recruiting, managing and training volunteers.
- You have a good understanding of the demographics and particular cultural and socioeconomic challenges faced by the borough you are applying for and/or London.
- You have specific knowledge of local services for low income children and families in the borough you are applying for and/or London.
- You have good writing skills, are confident in creating “on the ground” content for social media and understand the power of digital media to mobilise people.
- You’re confident at giving presentations to small groups.
- You’re a natural, authentic storyteller.
Salary - £25,000-£26,000 per annum dependant on experience (with in-work travel expenses reimbursed), plus 25 days holiday and 6% pension contribution.
This will be a 12-month contract initially, with the view to becoming permanent at a later date.
We will be interviewing as CV’s are received.
The client requests no contact from agencies or media sales.