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It’s week two of Sling Library Appreciation Month 2018, and this week the spotlight is on Volunteers.

Our Library is actually entirely run by volunteers- including the co-owners, so this week we’ve posting something from the volunteer point of view.

Here’s what a few of our wonderful selfless volunteers had to say……

~Jay~

How long have you been involved with Bracknell Sling Library?

Since the beginning. I had tried to make contact with the old Bracknell sling library that wasn’t in existence anymore. Then Gemma and Clare stepped up and created the new Bracknell sling meet.

What training have you received?

Peer support training.

What kind of jobs do you do for the Library?

Helping with fitting slings, talking to new praents, helping with events, baking cakes and biscuits for events and sharing social media posts created by others.

What’s your favourite thing about volunteering with the Library?

Trying all the new slings, helping mums and dads find the right slings for them and the friendships made over the years with other volunteers and parents who come along.

 

~Ruth~

How long have you been involved with Bracknell Sling Library?

About two years- although I’m rarely there these days due to having got a new job with the fab reference that the Sling Library gave me!

What training have you received?

I’ve had no formal training but ample opportunity to watch the rest of the team demonstrating stuff, and have a go with my children/ the dolls where it’s felt necessary.

What kind of jobs do you do for the Library?

Turn up to sling meet, set up, help parents choose/ practice with the slings, tidy up.

What’s your favourite thing about volunteering with the Library?

Being able to help new parents to access the world of slings which meant so much to me when my children were small- the freedom to go where and when I pleased regardless of steps and naptime, to hold your baby close when they are poorly, to hold your child close and still make tea, to be able to welcome a new baby and hold your toddler and new baby safely at the same time when needed, to offer my school child some close time after a difficult morning to make parting that bit easier.

 

~Gemma~

How long have you been involved with Bracknell Sling Library?

I have been involved since it’s inception, a crazy Facebook Messenger conversation in January 2015 resulted in a cup of tea with a complete stranger. What did happen was the creation of a local Sling meeting into a meagre Sling Library. That stranger Clare is one of my closest friends now and our library has grown so much, but only with the help and dedication of a lot of people along the way.

What training have you received?

From the start YouTube videos, and like-minded friends influenced my skills and abilities. Lots of getting things wrong myself. As the Sling Library grew, we identified that more formal training was beneficial. Peer support training was completed and I considered looking towards a consultancy course. With a full time day/night job and a growing toddler, I soon realised that both myself and our library wouldn’t benefit from this expensive addition.

What kind of jobs do you do for the Library?

All of them: setting up the room, assisting with customers, clean down of the room after a session… Social media- but Clare is the queen here. Finances but without Jenny our maths wouldn’t work despite my grade A GCSE- spreadsheets are not my cup of tea! Enforcement of “lost slings”, purchasing new slings and the sales of retired carriers. Also arranging social events with volunteers. I would highlight that none of the jobs are done by any one person, it’s very much a team game.

What’s your favourite thing about volunteering with the Library?

Easy answer- tiny baby cuddles. Oh and friends- my friendship group has always been very small. I think it’s doubled since being involved in Bracknell Sling Library and I wouldn’t be without a single one of our volunteers, and the people that have helped us along the way.

 

~Caroline~

How long have you been involved with Bracknell Sling Library?

Since 2015. I initially came to hang out when my little one was tiny, then eventually volunteered.

What training have you received?

I am a peer supporter which involved completing training on giving advice and using the common types of slings. I’ve also watched many a you tube tutorial for different carries with woven wraps if that counts!

What kind of jobs do you do for the Library?

At the moment, I do occasional behind the scenes support as I am now working on Fridays and unable to give face to face support.

What’s your favourite thing about volunteering with the Library?

My favourite thing about volunteering with the sling library is all the friends I have made along the way. I love to spread a bit of the slingy love and help other parents/carers either practically or by sharing the same friendship & support network.

~Clare~

How long have you been involved with Bracknell Sling Library?

From day one! Gemma and I had been talking in the previous social slingmeet up group on facebook and decided together it would be wonderful to have a go at setting up a library. Little did we know how much work would go in and what kind of success we might see over the years.

What training have you received?

We arrange regular peer support training for our volunteers, including ourselves and are currently looking at CPD. There are lots of new slings on the market, so in an addition, we make an effort to keep up to date with what’s available, what’s popular and so on. I’ve also undertaken a Futurelearn course “Babies in Mind” to look at attachment theory during the perinatal period.

What kind of jobs do you do for the Library?

I am involved in numerous aspects of the library- stock take, banking, laundry, paperwork, advice, fit and hire, emails, social media, design work, photography, event organisation, room booking, charity events, volunteer recruitment, booking training, volunteer welfare….. the list goes on! All the volunteers pitch in with whatever their skills are to ensure that the library runs smoothly.

What’s your favourite thing about volunteering with the Library?

Sometimes it’s exhausting running a library alongside raising a family and working part time… however, it’s completely worth it. The comments we get from customers about how much slings have changed their lives, how grateful they are and how affordable and accessible the service is… it makes it all worth while. It’s also great to work alongside such a wonderful bunch of likeminded people- I’ve made so many great friends.

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