Meet UKFCP's volunteers: Volunteer Recognition Day interviews



20th April marks Volunteer Recognition Day and of course here at UKFCP we cannot thank the volunteers who help our organisation enough. In this blog post we'll be highlighting some of UKFCP's fantastic volunteers from different departments.


Penelope Kopala


Penelope is our HR Team Leader who has been with us since September 2020.


Can you tell us why you wanted to volunteer for UKFCP?


I wanted to support Asian communities in the UK, particularly those who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.


What are the main duties and responsibilities in your role?


I lead a team of ten across four functions: Recruitment & Resourcing, Learning & Development, Engagement & Well-being, and Career Support. I work closely with our HR Deputy Team Leader Tjasa, other Team Leaders, and the senior leadership team to ensure we attract and retain volunteers.


What skills have you developed and what tasks did you take to explore those skills?


There are so many skills that I have developed. Some of them are my leadership skills, my ability to manage a team, and my technical HR skills. My project management skills improved as we continuously have to juggle multiple projects. This position has allowed me to develop as a professional and as a person.


What do you find interesting and rewarding about volunteering?


Having a positive impact on someone's life through volunteering is very rewarding! Working with all these talented people keeps me motivated. Furthermore, volunteering with people from different backgrounds is very interesting and has expanded my understanding of other cultures. So, I'd highly recommend everyone to consider volunteering with UKFCP.


Are there any other causes you are passionate about helping or volunteering for?


I'm very passionate about education and I'd love to volunteer and help an organisation that supports and promotes global education.



Xue Yang Shi


Sukie Xue Yang has been our Outreach Leader from March to August 2020.


Can you tell us why you wanted to volunteer for UKFCP?


Because it is a great platform to make a difference and to help those who are suffering under the Covid-19 outbreak.

What are the main duties and responsibilities in your role?

Creating the centre's mechanism to provide mental support, making connections to relevant authorities and people.

What skills have you developed and what tasks did you take part in to develop those skills?

I have learnt a lot during my time as a volunteer for UKFCP. I have improved my communication skills, learnt how to connect with and seek cooperation with authorities and organisations, and also through teamwork I made friends with many amazing people who share the same value.

What do you find interesting and rewarding about volunteering?

The most significant point would be helping the vulnerable groups to have a voice, and this feeling got stronger when some friends of mine told me about the fact that they hadn’t had the chance to speak out because of the fear of discrimination.

Moreover, I think UKFCP cherishes the ideas of every member, under this circumstance, the sparks (such as the Psychological support centre and virtual board which let people have their voice) that occur to me get the chance to be shared and discussed. Generating new means to help improve UKFCP is also a process of self-learning, which is fascinating.

Are there any other causes you are passionate about helping or volunteering for?

I am not currently volunteering in other fields, however, I deem that there are a few areas that are worth paying attention to: the cultural identity of the ethnic minorities in the UK, especially the vulnerable groups, as well as the dynamic state of their well-being during the pandemic period.



Changyue Liang


Changyue has been member of the Social Media Team since March 2021.


Can you tell us why you wanted to volunteer for UKFCP?


I wanted to volunteer for UKFCP because I have always wanted to do my bit for my community, regardless of how much or how little I can help. Especially with the increased Sinophobia we are currently seeing in the media.

What are the main duties and responsibilities in your role?

I currently help with putting together social media posts to spread awareness when needed. I also promote the organisation and help spread the word by liking and sharing posts, so it reaches more people.

What skills have you developed and what tasks did you take part in to develop those skills?


As I have only been volunteering for a short time, I have not yet really developed any new skills, but in the future, I hope to learn how to put together interesting and informative social media posts.

What do you find interesting and rewarding about volunteering?


What I find most rewarding is knowing that I helped to reach more people. Even a single extra person seeing our social media posts makes a difference.

Are there any other causes you are passionate about helping or volunteering for?


The main other cause that I am passionate is LGBTQ+ acceptance, as a member of that community as well, I hope to help as much as I can.



Jianyu Hao


Kerwin Jianyu is our mentor for YCP Student Committee since July 2020.


Can you tell us why you wanted to volunteer for UKFCP?


I feel intrigued in helping Chinese people in the UK, and at the same time, I can have a chance to improve my working experience as a volunteer.

What are the main duties and responsibilities in your role?


I work with the Team Leader and other team members as the support for other teams. When other teams need help our team could provide support as soon as possible. Normally, I would hold the meeting with the Team Leader as well as other volunteers to discuss our goal, the task distribution, process, feedback, etc.

What skills have you developed and what tasks did you take part in to develop those skills?


By helping the team to approach potential sponsors and partners last year, I became more familiar with the gist of writing sponsorship and partnership proposals. Also, I gained some knowledge about how to write approachable sponsorship and partnership emails.

What do you find interesting and rewarding about volunteering?


I like knowing and working with other people. Through my experience with UKFCP and YCP, I have come to know several passionate and interesting people.

Are there any other causes you are passionate about helping or volunteering for?


I would like to help other students who come to the UK for the first time. For example, how to take advantage of psychological and career development services in universities.



Haseung Ellen Shin


Haseung Ellen Shin has been a member of our Human Resources team since January 2021.


Can you tell us why you wanted to volunteer for UKFCP?


Having studied and worked in the UK for years, I can fully relate to what it's like to live as an Asian, an ethnic minority. Besides the language, we face ethnic inequalities in almost every area. I believe it was only brought to the surface due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was always there. So, I wanted to have the opportunity to be involved in helping the community, and supporting East and Southeast Asians in the UK by offering my skills and knowledge.

What are the main duties and responsibilities in your role?


My role is to create an engagement strategy for volunteers to enhance their wellbeing and engagement. I personally aim to strengthen communication between the teams so that we can leverage pro bono talents to multiply the synergy.

What skills have you developed and what tasks did you take part in to develop those skills?


With HR leader, Penelope, we analysed the results of the Baseline Survey and came up with growth benchmarks suitable for UKFCP and to effectively evaluate the current status of both volunteers and the organisation through the Pulse Survey. Throughout this project I not only had the chance to develop further knowledge in volunteer engagement but also significantly enhance my soft skills (e.g. interpersonal skills). Currently we are discussing a collaboration with Szilvia, the Learning and Development Leader, as one of the growth benchmarks mentioned above. Training for volunteers is essential in engagement and I am highly looking forward to it.

What do you find interesting and rewarding about volunteering?


The academic research profession of social science seems to create a gap in the field of practice because we mainly see the problem through the political-economic aspect of structural interpretation and criticism. So volunteering within the HR team at UKFCP, which has relatively direct action-taking, relieves this thirst. Also, I find it pleasing that my role and responsibilities are not hindered by any noise or power struggles.

Are there any other causes you are passionate about helping or volunteering for?


So currently I am volunteering at Africa Health Organisation (AHO) developing strategic planning to support the transforming of Africa’s health and social care. I have a huge passion for global mental health and culture because mental health is often considered secondary to physical health in the field of international development or an invisible problem. A more culturally informed approach to mental health should be fostered. This also applies to multicultural workplaces like UKFCP. In this new normal, the wellbeing of the workforce is the priority for workplaces so I believe treating wellbeing as a tangible skill will help the organisation to achieve its full potential.



Choon Young Tan


Choon is the Social Media Deputy Team Leader who joined us in February 2021.


Can you tell us why you wanted to volunteer for UKFCP?


I wanted to volunteer for UKFCP because I was passionate about helping fellow Chinese and East Asian people who have been affected by the pandemic and the increased prejudice many have faced as well.


What are the main duties and responsibilities in your role?


I help lead the team to increase awareness of UKFCP and its social media presence across its different platforms through implementing a social media strategy and creating content for them. I assist Lisa in managing the social media channels and the team, as well as reporting to the other departments about our progress and plans.


What skills have you developed and what tasks did you take part in to develop those skills?


As of yet in my short time with the UKFCP I have not further developed new skills, but in the future I hope to improve video creation and editing skills that will not only benefit myself but also help us create more and new videos for the organisation and our social media channels.


What do you find interesting and rewarding about volunteering?


I like the idea that on some level I am helping to give back to the community and helping communities who need assistance. By spreading awareness of the organisation and lending my content creation, social media and marketing skills to it, I am hoping this will have a positive effect and inspire others, whether it be to come forward for assistance from us or learn something from us.


Are there any other causes you are passionate about helping or volunteering for?


Other areas of East Asian issues I care about include media and political representation. I am also very passionate about championing causes for LGBTQ people and rights and animal welfare rights, both of which I also currently volunteer for or have done previously. I cover all these topics extensively through my personal blog, creative writing, and poetry.


You can connect with Choon via his LinkedIn page, as well as his blog and its respective Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages.


Thank you to all the volunteers who took part in this campaign and to the many others who work with us in the different departments. In the future we hope to highlight more of them as well. If you'd like to join UKFCP as a volunteer, click here to see what vacancies we have available.

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