My experience: volunteering at the Christian Socialist Movement
I started volunteering at the CSM in July 2009. I had a decent degree in politics, but after about six months of trying to find a job, I realised that wasn’t enough. I took the step of moving to London to gain experience while supporting myself with temporary work.
I’m so glad I made that decision.
Volunteering at the CSM was great. The organisation is involved in some very interesting work and there is a real sense of energy about the office. Of course, the office itself is a major draw. Working in the heart of the Labour Party is pretty special; whether it’s passing Douglas Alexander in the hall or opening the door for Dennis Skinner, it felt like a significant place to work.
That is not to say that the atmosphere was daunting in any way, actually the reverse is true. As you might expect of a Christian socialist organisation, the staff are good people. They were so welcoming and understood that I had to fit volunteering work around my job. But more than that, they were genuinely interested in me and didn’t talk down to me at all; in fact, they treated me with a level of respect which is not always the case for volunteers. There was also a strong sense that it is a faith-based organisation doing, as much as is possible, God’s work.
The God stuff was quite a pleasant surprise to me. I am a pretty each-to their-own type of Anglican and I tried as much as I could to approach everything as open-mindedly as possible, but I am aware that some Christians have views which are very different to mine. I found that there was absolutely no conflict. Looking back, I realise that I could hardly have been more wrong. Indeed, a lot of the work done by the CSM is about bringing people together. They are a very integrative bunch.
Of course, part of the work I did was admin for the day-to-day running of the organisation. It was made very clear when I started, though, that I’d have the opportunity to get involved in more interesting work. This might be the best part of working for an organisation like the CSM; it is small enough for a volunteer to be given real responsibility. That was certainly the experience I had. I worked on a project aimed at increasing the interaction between church communities and their Labour representatives. I really enjoyed the challenge and it allowed me to demonstrate that I could communicate and organise effectively.
Towards the end of the project, a job working in the political department of a major union came up. Thanks to the people I met at and through the CSM, I was able to get an interview and now I’m doing something I really like. I’m really grateful for all the help they gave me. (Author: Tom Warnett
Articles in this group
Bring God's Kingdom Here
Rosie writes about what brought her to CSM and what she thinks we're doing now. (Author: Rosie Colthorpe)
Volunteering with the Christian Socialist Movement
Zoe writes about her experience at the Labour Party conference and why she decided to volunteer for the CSM. (Author: Zoe Hart)
A point of view: faith and politics
An article from Christina Grant, a recent volunteer, about what brought her to CSM. (Author: Christina Grant)
The Heartbeat Of A Movement
A summary of Sam's time spent interning with CSM. (Author: Sam Brown)
Three Weeks with CSM
Read Simon's experiences of volunteering with CSM up to and at Labour Party Conference 2010 (Author: Simon Watkinson)
The Real Politics
Read Charlies' account of volunteering with CSM in 2010 (Author: Charlie Baughen)
Being Thrown in at the Deep End
Read about Esther's time at CSM (Author: Esther Barlow)
A Volunteer Blog
Read Grace's account of her time with CSM (Author: Grace Vanstone-Hallam)
Volunteering for CSM (Author: )