Here we celebrate some of our current volunteers and see what they have got up to during their time with Aston-Mansfield:

Ian Montagu

Ian came to Newham through our historical links with Mansfield College, Oxford, to volunteer with the Community Involvement Unit over the summer in 2011.

During his time with the CIU, Ian worked on the Directory of ESOL Provision in Newham and assisted in a community research project evaluating the conflict resolution and communication skills training provided by Conflict & Change’s children and young people’s team. His main achievement, however, was to single-handedly update the Community Centres Hiring Guide for 2011, increasing the number of voluntary sector-own or managed buildings included within it from 15 to 21.

Ian was asked (for Aston-Mansfield’s staff magazine in September 2011) to identify the highs and lows during his time volunteering with Aston Mansfield. He said:

Visiting Nelson Primary School as part of the Conflict and Change evaluation. I was thrown in at the deep end and asked to speak to school kids about what they’d learnt through the Conflict & Change programmes. I had no idea what to do at the time, but I was happy with the outcome and had some useable results.

I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve been involved in at Aston Mansfield and couldn’t have asked for more. My volunteering experience has definitely helped me work out what I would like to do in the future.

The latest Directory of ESOL Provision and the Community Centres Hiring Guide that Ian researched and updated are available on the CIU Publications page.

Beatrice Adutwim

Beatrice worked for fourteen years in teaching and in broadcasting as a radio presenter. She moved on to the UK in 2010 but struggled to find employment because of a lack of work experience in this country. She found out about Aston-Mansfield after hearing about plans for regeneration of Forest Gate at her local church and attending a forum at Durning Hall Community Centre. She decided to volunteer as a receptionist in November 2011 and has worked in the Durning Hall charity shop too.

I learnt a lot during my period as a volunteer and in June 2012 it provided me with the opportunity to apply for a paid Receptionist post at the Froud Community Centre. I continue to volunteer in the shop.

Working for Aston-Mansfield is one of the best experiences to happen to me in this country. With the support of the managers around me, work is very pleasurable. Anyone thinking of volunteering for any good reason should think of joining Aston-Mansfield because one cannot tell where it will lead to.

Ben Anderson

 Ben started volunteering for the Community Involvement Unit in the spring of 2012. His work included researching a directory of organisations that make the ‘local infrastructure’ in Newham (organisations who support other charitable groups in some way) and helping with the planning of Trustees Week 2012.

However, Ben’s main area of responsibility was updating the Directory of Faith Groups in Newham and then, using his IT skills, to create a completely new website – – so that the directory could be available for free.

This site has been very well received and praised by local MP Stephen Timms.