Fourteen-year-old Videl Amartey swapped the classroom for shifts as a volunteer with the Dons Local Action Group – and he has certainly proved his worth at the Old Ruts collection hub!
Videl, who is head boy at Rutlish School, has used his time effectively by combining home study with helping to organise food deliveries for a community project that now has a dedicated team of over 600 volunteers.
Though he has grown up as a Liverpool supporter, Videl has been inspired by his experiences with the Dons Local Action Group and he is planning to attend a match at Plough Lane in the future.
Videl has put together an account of his experiences so far and details why he decided to get involved. You can take a look at this below.
As soon as school closed and we finished our exams, me and a few school friends had a Zoom meeting to talk about what we would get up to during the lockdown. Apart from our school work loads, working out, video games and lounging, we also talked about some of the things we could do to use our time positively while the school was closed. My friend George (pictured left below) suggested the Dons Local Action Group’s collection hub at the Old Rutlishians' Club, and it seemed like an important thing to get involved in during this coronavirus pandemic. There are many vulnerable people at risk and in need of help in our community, and it is important that we all do our bit to help.
So far, we’ve been spending most of our time at the Old Ruts, where there is so much going on all the time, including the following: receiving, unloading and storing the deliveries of donations, sorting and organising food parcels, and going out on deliveries. It’s non-stop, but Craig (Wellstead) and the team make it a comfortable environment to be in. Each week they take their time to tell us what’s going on that day, and the tasks we can do to help. Then they leave us to do our jobs and use our initiative to do whatever else is needed. Everything is organised in shifts, so time goes quickly.
Everyone is very encouraging and appreciative, so it feels good to be there. It is a genuinely heart-warming experience to deliver the food parcels to the homes and hospitals, and meet the recipients. There’s a good team spirit among the volunteers, and we all wear gloves and masks, ensuring we adhere to social distancing, so that it is rewarding and safe to be involved.
Since George and I did our first shift at the Old Ruts, we shared our experiences with some school friends, and a few more of them are going to volunteer to do some shifts at the Old Ruts and at supermarkets. We hope that other young people in the area will see us or hear about the Dons Local Action group, and also take the opportunity to help out in the community. Even though we are social distancing while the schools are closed, it is a genuine reason to get out of the house and see other people in a combined effort to help the community. Please check with your parents and other people in your household if they are happy for you to help.
If you can’t join the Dons Local Action Group, then maybe you can donate food or other useful items. There are other causes you can get behind to help the less fortunate in the community at this time. Even checking-in on elderly neighbours or relatives by phone can make a difference for them.
I grew up in Belgium and have supported Liverpool since I was born. My Dad lived locally and used to watch Wimbledon at Plough Lane when he was younger. I’m looking forward to watching our local AFC Wimbledon team with him when the Dons move back to Plough Lane.
The Dons Local Action Group are looking for more volunteers to help this great community project. If you can help, contact 020 3301 4511 (9am-6pm), or you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .