Dulcie and Emily on reigniting their purpose during furlough
Being furloughed can be tough once that initial feeling of 'furglow' fades. Brand and Strategy Managers Dulcie and Emily talk to us about finding passion and purpose again through furlonteering for London Cycling Campaign...
Why did you sign up to Furlonteer?
We are Dulcie Davies and Emily Ormond who both work at the same creative advertising agency specialising in sport and wellness brands. Our friend and colleague, Lucy (Furlonteer's Charity Manager), opened our eyes to Furlonteer back in April when a large proportion of the agency was furloughed and it all started from there.
Initially we were both keeping ourselves busy in our newfound free time by predictable activities like painting the neighbour's fence, volunteering at the local community food hub or getting into 'the best shape of our lives' (an inevitable disappointment) and even starting a gardening Instagram account (@furgrowed).
As lockdown continued and our furloughed leave was showing no signs of concluding, we both felt an itch to do something of more substance that also offered a little more reward. As we were blessed with gorgeous weather back in May, we were hesitant of committing ourselves to something too time consuming that would sacrifice our 'furglow', however, we soon realised that being a Furlonteer was endlessly flexible.
Could you tell us a little about the charity you’ve been furlonteering with?
We were matched with the London Cycling Campaign, a charity that works tirelessly to make the streets of London safe for cyclists. We recognise the boom in cycling in London amidst the coronavirus outbreak and as both Londoners and cyclists, we were incredibly excited about this project and couldn't wait to get started.
Ultimately the goal is to increase awareness of the charity, convert members, and increase government lobbying for safer cycling in London.
We began by laying the foundations with some brand positioning work and are now working to freshen up and modernise their visual identity -
as Brand and Strategy Managers, we are really enjoying this opportunity.
How has this experience impacted your time on furlough?
At the start of this crisis, being furloughed felt almost like a career holiday - the sun was shining and as long as you had some outdoor space it felt you had an abundance of time to "get all those tedious jobs done". However as time went on, the effects of not working became apparent. Jobs often give us our day's purpose, so due to the extended length of time not working it can lead you to doubt yourself.
Working for London Cycling Campaign has reignited that purpose and perhaps even reinforced why we do what we do. Sometimes it is easy to forget the skillset you have - we have been lucky to help an amazing charity doing great things for cycling in London. This has been very rewarding both for ourselves and our furlough experience. This positive reward and experience will definitely lead to us continuing volunteering in the future.
What advice would you give to furloughed staff thinking of volunteering?
Well for furloughed individuals, I think if you ask yourself "do you feel fulfilled currently?" or "are you making the most productive use of time?" and the answer to either of these questions is no, then Furlonteer could be your answer. Whether you do a job that's similar to your everyday role, or another that also suits your skillset, then it is the perfect way to use and build upon your skills. Not only are you able to help a charity/social enterprise that, in a normal world, may not be able to hire your expertise, you are also utilising your time efficiently and building up your own CV.
For charities, I think it's worth reiterating that the global pandemic has caused extremely talented individuals to be furloughed. Entire industries have been shut down overnight meaning there is an abundance of talented minds willing to help! One positive from the crisis is the rise in community spirit!