Aaron Barbour developed a thirst for volunteering during his time at Worth. In this week’s Alumni in the News feature, Aaron explains how that has evolved into a life spent carrying out invaluable work for a number of UK-based charities.
Aaron, who was in Butler House, currently runs the Katherine Low Settlement, a busy charity serving Battersea and the wider Wandsworth community dedicated to building stronger communities and enabling people to challenge and find ways out of poverty and isolation.
He said: “It was my time at Worth (1988-93) that got me into charities. I first started volunteering when I was about 14, on a Wednesday afternoon, at a care home close to the school and then a local centre for adults with disabilities in Crawley.
“This notion that we should be giving to others struck a chord with me. As I left university, I was clear that I wanted to work with people and I have done so ever since. I’ve worked, volunteered, trusteed, fundraised and campaigned with a number of UK-based charities – most community-focused, a mix of start-ups and those that are well established.
“At the Katherine Low Settlement, we run a range of our own community services to support children, young people and their families, older people, women and refugee communities. We campaign for social change. We support other charities to start-up and grow. We also coordinate local partnerships and networks to change local people's lives for the better together.”
Like many such organisations, the pandemic provided new challenges. Aaron said: “We adapted our community services to ‘virtual’ support, given over the phone, online, via the post and where possible on the doorstep or in parks (though this came later). We have since made over 6,700 calls to our most vulnerable elders with daily calls; delivered 500+ ESOL (English), Maths and IT classes via Zoom/WhatsApp/Google classrooms; supported our Somali Women’s Group via WhatsApp once their children have gone to bed; hosted new Corona Homework Clubs for 200+ refugee young people; posted thousands of art and education packs; and so much more.”
For more about Aaron’s work with the Katherine Low Settlement click here.
Worth Society is the School’s thriving alumni association that enables former pupils and staff to stay in touch with one another for business and social networking purposes, providing careers advice, support and lifelong guidance.