The Power of Skilled Volunteering: Ryoko’s Inspiring Journey

An interview with Skilled Volunteer Ryoko Finnerty

Jun 2023

Ryoko discovered Link UP London through friends when she was searching for an accessible way to do something good with her skills. Following an initial chat with one of the team, Ryoko was matched with a logo design project for the Maidan Lane Community Centre. It was here that she witnessed the power of her skills in transforming a community’s online presence and leaving a lasting impact.

The Community Centre had an ambitious goal of redesigning their website and creating a more professional logo to better represent their services. This is where Ryoko’s expertise came into play. Her experience as a graphic designer in Japan had equipped her with a diverse skill set, having worked on projects for educational companies, machinery manufacturers, websites, magazines, package designs, and more. This rich background allowed Ryoko to bring a fresh perspective and a wealth of creativity to the project.

Over a couple of months, fitting volunteering around her schedule, Ryoko poured her passion into the logo design project. The result? A resounding success. The client’s feedback was overwhelmingly positive, praising Ryoko’s design and the proposal she presented 

“Our new logo has captured the essence of what we do, and it speaks directly to the care and compassion of our work within the community. Through the professionalism of the Link Up London Team and Volunteer, and their support every step of the way, the project has helped to elevate our brand and marketing.” 

Reflecting on her experience, Ryoko expressed her gratitude to Link UP London for their support. She believed that this project not only boosted her confidence but also provided her with an opportunity to review and refine her skills in a new environment.Being relatively new to the UK, Ryoko found the project to be a stepping stone towards her dream of working as a designer in London.

“I felt that the project was a success and very encouraging for me, so I would like to thank Link Up London for their support… The Project had “a very positive impact because I didn’t have that much experience in the UK yet. I hope to work as a designer in this country and this project has helped me to review my skills and I feel that it has been very good [for me].” 

Beyond skill enhancement, Ryoko cherished the connections she made during her Skilled Volunteering experience. Engaging in this work introduced her to new people, expanding her professional network and motivating her to find new employment opportunities. “I’m also happy to have met the new people through this work, and I believe that will encourage me in my future job search…” 

While Ryoko’s project with Maiden Lane Community Centre may have ended, she is interested in engaging in more Skilled Volunteering Projects in the future and urges other professionals to share their skills as well.  

“I would like to tell other professionals that there is a different kind of pleasure in providing skills to people in need than the pleasure you get from a normal job, it would be great if more people would give back skills to society” 

Ryoko’s story serves as a testament to the power of Skilled Volunteering. It showcases the impact one person can make through their expertise and demonstrates how Skilled Volunteering can not only effect positive change in the community, but also support personal development too.  

I found it beneficial to be able to offer my professional skills to an organisation that supports people in need, it allows them to invest the high cost of hiring a professional consultant, in their work in the community instead. For volunteers, especially if the person is still building their career, like me, it is a great way to build a track record of their work and make new connections with people.  I highly recommend using your professional skills for volunteering!”  


Many thanks to Skilled Volunteer Anca Stef for taking the time to interview Ryoko for this ‘Volunteer Story”.

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