This post was written by Fabian Tompsett, temporary Volunteer Support Organiser
After a short break I am back in the Wikimedia UK office, now in the role of providing cover for Katie Chan as Volunteer Support Organiser for about four months. One of the first things I’ve noticed is that the place has a different feel: the team is no longer approaching a big event with a mixture of apprehension and excitement. Things are “back to normal”, but actually, not really!
Wikimania 2014 has given Wikimedia UK a big boost at various levels:
There’s a sense of “we did it”, we coped with playing a significant role in delivering Wikimania alongside our partners the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimania London team. Many members of staff have taken a bit of a break but are now back at work with renewed enthusiasm. We have been so happy to get back in contact with some Wikimedians who have had little to do with the chapter recently, as well as meeting up with new volunteers, including a number of Wikimedians of long standing who had not previously engaged with Wikimedia UK. So we also have the feeling that Wikimania had the endorsement of the Wikimedia community in the UK in general. Thank you all.
But this self-confidence is not accompanied by complacency. Actually people are focussing on how we can use the experience of Wikimania and some of the new ideas we came across to take Wikimedia UK to a new level. One aspect of this is my new colleague, Roberta Wedge, who is already having an impact on staff by raising issues which affect our engagement with women in various ways. Also as we have attracted a number of volunteers very local to our London Office, we have initiated regular Wiki Wednesdays to help deepen their involvement with the Wikimedia movement. More examples will emerge over time.
In my new role I shall be involved in volunteer support, something dear to my heart. I certainly learnt a lot about volunteer support from being involved in Wikimania, and certainly the Wikimania London team contributed to that learning. As this is a temporary position, part of my work is picking up on the activities Katie has been running. But as I got to know many of the new volunteers who signed up for Wikimania a key part of my work during these four months will be to develop our relationship with them.
We are also asking for input from volunteers to help shape how we make the most of the new opportunities which are arising post Wikimania. To help with this we shall be conducting a survey amongst our volunteers to get a better understanding of their views. However, I would welcome any direct contact from new or long standing volunteers to discuss any ideas you may have.
You can reach Fabian by calling the office on 020 7065 0990 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org