Volunteers Week 2023 – Jo-Anne’s story

“Living in Leicester, I am based at Riverside’s Leicester Office and manage Repairs and Maintenance in the Central Region. As a local person I have always wanted to do something for my community and so, a little while ago I volunteered as a school governor for an inner-city secondary school, Moat Community College. When I started, I had no idea what it entailed, but I soon settled in. Schools don’t just need people with skills and experience in education, they also need people who know about buildings, health and safety and financial management. The Governing Body’s role is to help set the strategic direction of the school and act as support and a ‘critical friend’ to the Head Teacher. As an inner-city school with 98% Muslim students, many with English as a second language it faces a number of barriers to teaching and learning.

As a manager at Riverside, I have developed lots of skills that have helped me be an effective governor at Moat. For example, I can use my experience of managing people at Riverside when I am asked to sit on recruitment or disciplinary panels at Moat. I have also contributed to careers events at the school, talking about the different roles there are in social housing that offer rewarding and interesting careers, in the hope that pupils may be inspired to join Riverside in the future whether as an apprentice or housing professional.

Having volunteering days at Riverside really allows me to make a meaningful contribution to the school. Most recently the school was subject to an OFSTED inspection which is quite an intense and stressful process for both the school and governors. I used my Riverside volunteering day to be at the school for the inspection and I was interviewed by the OFSTED inspectors. The inspection went very well, and the school was judged as being GOOD with a glowing report. It really was the highlight of my time with Moat to see all the hard work of staff pupils and governors recognised in black and white.

I would recommend volunteering as a governor to anyone, it really is rewarding on a personal level but also provides a wonderful link between education and industry that may encourage students to follow a career in housing.”

Jo-Anne, Operations Manager

Find out about opportunities at Riverside. https://riverside.org.uk/about-us/jobs-and-careers/