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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Starr

About me: Voluntary work and other unpaid activities.

Text underlined in bold and blue on this blog page will take to you to relevant websites or documents.

I have joined Translators Without Borders as one of their Social Media Promoters. This is a very minimal role at the moment. In the future I hope to become one of their actual translators, I need a few more years' experience in this role first.

I joined the Caen-Portsmouth Friendship Committee in April 2016.

In May 2017 I was made chair of the Caen-Portsmouth Friendship Committee.

This committee is what remains of the original twinning committee for the city of Caen, originally started by Portsmouth City Council. Due to austerity measures, there is no longer any funding for twinning coming directly from them, although the council does support the committee well and has members elected to the committee to represent it. Indeed the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth is the official 'President' of the committee.

In March 2018, we hope to add supporters of Duisburg-Portsmouth twinning in the city to our committee to form the Caen-Portsmouth-Duisburg Friendship Committee, which will seek to promote and support twinning links between the city of Portsmouth and its two European twin cities.

I have therefore been doing much voluntary work with Portsmouth City Council to help promote our links with both Caen and Duisburg. I have set up websites for both the city links. These websites can be accessed from this website's home page and through these easy to remember links for Caen and Duisburg (below)

Links for Caen Twinning - Caen Twinning Hompepage - Caen Twinnin News Blog - Caen Twinning Facebook Page

e-mail address:

@PortsmouthCaen - Caen Twinning Twitter Feed

Links for Duisburg Twinning - Duisburg Twinning Homepage - Duisburg Twinning News Blog - Duisburg Twinning Facebook Group

e-mail address:

Links for other language related volunteering

In order to keep my languages fresh and current, I joined some social groups in Portsmouth for speakers of French, German and Italian. Over time, these group meetings became less frequent due to the original founders leaving the city (one went to Ireland, another to France) or just stopping the organising due to other commitments along with the major hike in monthly fees by the original website, which became even more expensive due to the suddenly weakened British Pound.

I took the groups from where they were origanally being organised and moved them to Facebook, which does all the original website did, but makes no charge.

As a result I now organise social events in Portsmouth for people who speak French, German and Italian to meet-up and chat in those languages at various venues around the city. I also send out a monthly e-mail to people who don't 'do' Facebook informing them of the forthcoming events.

French Speakers in Portsmouth


German Speakers in Portsmouth


Italian Speakers in Portsmouth


I am the Instute of Translators and Interpreters Regional Group Co-ordinator for their newly established (2017) South Central Translators and Interpreters Network


Twitter @SouthCentralxl8

I am members of these two groups, which thankfully have their own organisers

Spanish Speakers in Portsmouth

Russian Speakers in Portsmouth

In 2017, I joined Shaping Portsmouth's Portsmouth Ambassadors group and have helped out whenever I could. One of the highlights of helping out was being able to combine my membership of theis group with Caen twinning at Portsmouth's Victorious Festival in August 2017. I promoted the Portsmouth Ambassadors scheme at this event. I was also able to see one of the three bands from Caen playing at the festival and managed to at least make contact with the other two bands.

In September 2017 I joined the Shaping Portsmouth Portsmouth Ambassadors' Steering Group Committee and in October 2017 I was made the Vice Chair of the Group.

In 2018 I was awarded the Shaping Portsmouth - Portsmouth Ambassadors' 'Ambassador of the Year Award'. A totally unexpected award which was a lovely surpise. During that morning I filled in a pledge card to help out where I can in the city. Following this, I was contacted by the Education and Business Partnership in Lakeside, Portsmouth. I am now registered with them as a mentor for secondary school students. Another voluntary activity beneficial to the city of Portsmouth.

I also am one of the website 'Helpfulpeeps' promoters. This website seeks to put people who need help of any description with people who can provide such help. The idea is that you all help each other out. There are of course those who wish to simply take, however a lot of people do help each other out through this website.

In my career as a teacher I joined a yahoo group (in the days long before Facebook) called mflresources founded by a teacher called Anna Grainger. Anna went off to start her family and quite possibly never returned to teaching. I created two further groups as the space on the original group became very limited. The idea was then and still is to share resources to make the lives of busy teachers that little bit less hectic.

Some money was found, orginally by Anna in the days before 'Austerity' to create the domain - This eventually was taken over by the Ashcombe School's Helen Myers who at the time was Chair of the Association for Language Learning.

Even though I have now left teaching, I am still a moderator of these yahoo fora and still help out by contributing to this valuable resource used by over four thousand language teachers worldwide.

One final thing I do is simply be a member of the Facebook group 'Helping Hands Portsmouth'. I have donated a lot of my no longer required textiles to them, for use in thier work with the homeless of the city. The admins of the group go out every day into the city and hand out sleeping bags, duvets, clothing hot drinks and food to the homeless on the streets of Portsmouth and seek to help them start their lives again, wherever such help is desired.

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