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Aiming for Volunteering Excellence

Volunteers are integral to the work of The Maypole Project. Alongside offering their time, they bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and skills to the organisation which we value highly. With this in mind, we want every volunteer who walks through our door to have a positive experience of volunteering with us, from the time they enquire to the time to leave us. To achieve this, we need to continuously look at how we can develop our volunteering programme to meet the needs of volunteers.

A very important part of this process is listening to our existing volunteers and getting feedback about their experience of volunteering with us.  This invaluable information helps us understand what we are doing well and where we can improve.

To start this conversation, in July, we sent out our annual volunteer satisfaction survey to all our volunteers who volunteer regularly and/or have been with us for at least a few months. We had a great response with over half of our volunteers completing the survey. And overall, the results are very positive with a large percentage of volunteers rating our volunteer management processes and procedures as excellent or good. Also, 96% feel that their volunteering has met their expectations and feel they are a valued member of the team.

These results are very encouraging and the feedback we received has offered us an insight into where we could improve as well. We will be looking at this in more detail over the next few months.

The process doesn’t stop there though. We also hope to continue to give volunteers a voice and an opportunity to play a part in the development of volunteering at The Maypole Project by starting a Volunteer Forum. This forum will be a space where volunteers can provide ongoing feedback on their volunteering experience and also provide an opportunity for us to consult with volunteers on new volunteer developments and projects.

These insights will be invaluable in informing our volunteer plans going forward so we can continuously improve the quality of our volunteering programme and realise our ambitions to make The Maypole Project an excellent place to volunteer.

Running and Me

In this blog Phil, Activities Co-ordinator at The Maypole Project, talks about running and the benefits to your  health not only physical but mental and how running for a good cause can keep you motivated when the going gets tough!


I guess I have run all my life, one way or another. From running round the playground in my junior school to running, tackling and try scoring on a rugby field, there has always been some kind of association to it.  In recent years I have really started taking on various different distances from 5k fun runs dressed as Santa and taking on giant inflatable obstacle courses. To some really large extreme distances, the largest of them all being back in 2016 where I ran 184 miles along the Thames over 3 days. All of these runs obviously have, had beneficial health and physical benefits for myself and so have been great at keeping me physically fit and they have always been used to fundraise for The Maypole Project.

But I have only recently started thinking about what running has meant for my mental health. I’ve always found that running, jogging or walking distances has made me very robust and determined and I think a lot of why this is, is because I have had a cause to run for. Having a goal of raising money for such a worthwhile charity, whenever I have taking part in any organised distance runs has really helped me complete them. As whenever the going got tough I would just grit teeth think about the families that The Maypole Project support and families that I have worked with and got my head down stopped moaning and just kept going. Knowing that the funds coming in for the run I was doing would help keep this fantastic support going.

But I think it goes a lot further then that as when I stop to actually think about how I feel when I run and what it does for my mind It’s when I really realise running is my therapy and how I deal with a lot of my emotions from my day. I am lucky to be able to still find the time to  run most days and when I am out running I am just fully focussed on that moment in time nothing else really. It’s my time (and as a father to a one year old now) It’s a precious time for me. This has giving me even more of a sense of how precious the time that the Maypole Project support offers our families is. I find that whilst I’m out I de-stress I can leave the office or my home with a face of thunder or grumpy as hell but after any time spent just running I come back calm and de-stressed (if a little knackered). I find also how that time spent outside breathing in the air taking in the sunshine (if it’s out) can also have a really creative way in the way I’m thinking. And I find that this is really when I am sometimes at my most creative.

Running as a whole has I think really helped me become the person I am now and really shaped the way I am both physically, emotionally and mentally. Running as a sport is not for everyone but there is something out there for everyone to help them cope de-stress and have just a moment of calm and just have a break. It could be Art, it could be dancing. It could be coming and speaking to a therapist or just coming to one of the many support activities that The Maypole Project provide.

Whatever it is it’s hugely important to take a moment to do it.




Whatever you are stressing about, getting active can significantly reduce this. Putting on your trainers can help with relaxation, anxiety and negative thinking . Running can help your body control stress and deal with existing mental tension. Longer distance runs can give you the time to help solve problems. Whilst shorter distances  can really help reduce tension.


Taking part in any physical exercise, whether that is running or another form, can be your new way of counting sheep at night. Moderate exercise can also significantly improve the sleep of insomnia sufferers.


Running can be a fantastic way of combatting that sluggish and withdrawn feeling that is associated with depression. Regular exercise can boost your mood if you have depression, and it’s especially useful for people with mild to moderate depression. Running can take your mind off worries so you can get away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression and anxiety

4.Boosting Self Esteem

Exercise releases feel-good endorphins, natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being. Exercising  outdoors can also result in lowered blood pressure and increased self-esteem.

5. Increased Creativity

Going for a runrun can boost creativity for up to two hours afterwards. As I’ve mentioned I find running is when I am at my most creative and have my most creative thoughts. Whether it’s thinking on hay to solve a problem or what my next running and fundraising event will be for The Maypole Project. So next time you find your are sitting around waiting for that eureka moment to happen take yourself out for a run.

So if you think that you may want to start up running do it, remember all the benefits your body will enjoy from getting active as well as the mental health benefits as well. And if you feel like you would like to run on behalf of The Maypole Project we have plenty of places in any type of distance and for any ability. Just follow this link to see what places we have. 


An update from our CEO

Please see below an update from Sally Flatteau Taylor (CEO) regarding
The Maypole Project’s planned short breaks activities in Royal Borough
of Greenwich

“The Maypole Project’s ACTIVITIES provision offer in Greenwich is to families with
children with disabilities AND their siblings. The design of our proposed short breaks provision to Royal Borough of Greenwich for Summer 2019 was created to suit a wide range of abilities as “targeted” services.

Our proposal was unfortunately understood as “specialist” service provision

and neither party noted this mismatch prior to the publication of the short breaks brochure.  After much reshaping of the offer from
ourselves to fit the specialist provision and recruiting and training
a fantastic team to support the work, we could not reach an
agreement for this provision with RBG which meant that our negotiations to the contract
were unfortunately closed.
We do however continue to offer our therapies and activities to families in the
borough of Greenwich.  Whilst these are currently nearly fully subscribed
if you are, or know of a family who would benefit from our
services please do contact us for information”

Reflecting on the valuable contribution of our trustees

This week is Trustee Week and a chance for The Maypole Project to celebrate the valuable contribution our trustees make to the charity.

Our current Board of Trustees includes some passionate and dedicated individuals who bring a wealth of experience to the organisation, whether that is from a personal or professional perspective. They give their time voluntarily to share the important job of governing the charity, directing how it is managed and, ultimately, make sure we are doing what we were set up to do.

Such an important role, often unseen to the outside world, is not only a crucial part of ensuring we meet our responsibilities as a charity but also is key to helping us develop both our existing services and new services so we can reach out to as many families as possible.

We can’t thank them enough for their passion and dedication to supporting our work and look forward to another successful year of working together.

Below our Trustees give us a little insight into what being a Trustee means to them:

Julie Froggatt

I joined the Board of Trustees in 2015 and have been in the role of Chair for a couple of years.  For me, what The Maypole Project offers is unique, and makes such a tangible difference for so many families.  I am constantly amazed – and energised – by the determination and sense of fun of the families I come into contact with – in the face of often great adversity – and feel that I gain as much from my involvement with The Maypole Project as I give. I am proud to work with a great Board, and look forward to playing a part in the Project’s future development.

John Smedley

I decided to become a Trustee after being made aware of the great work The Maypole Project does from a work colleague of mine.  I really enjoy being a part of the Maypole family and find my role as Trustee motivational, interesting and fun.  I get to see and hear about all the things the charity is doing to help people – and there are so many things.  The sheer enthusiasm shown by everyone involved with the charity is truly inspiring.

Leila Seeney

I joined The Maypole Project Board of Trustee’s in 2016 because I wanted to contribute my professional skills to running of the charity and offer a parents’ perspective to the Board. I have a passion for helping children affected by disability and their families. I find the role rewarding and satisfying and I was initially surprised at quite how much work goes into the running of a charity! I feel privileged to be on the Board of Trustees.

If you’d like a rewarding and interesting role that lets you give back to your local community, we currently have a vacancy on our Board of Trustees for a Treasurer – click here for more information

Team Maypole celebrate 15th Anniversary

The dream of the CREATION of The Maypole Project’s unique service, at first seemed impossible
Though the need from families was fast apparent, its GROWTH seemed improbable
When we summoned  the will, the skills, the support it’s LONGEVITY became do-able
And TODAY the FUTURE of the project from it’s 15 year “start” is essential, inevitable
AS LONG AS all of our wonderful supporters find creative ways to help us!

There are lots of ways you can help us to celebrate our 15th Anniversary year, have a look through our website or contact fundraising@themaypoleproject.co.uk