Volunteers’ Week – Time to say thank you

NC839 Volunteers Week Logo

 

 

 

Every year, over 15 million people volunteer every month across the UK. They often go unnoticed as they go about their work not asking for thanks or recognition, however, without them many organisations and services would not exist. From the 1st – 7th June it is Volunteers’ Week, an annual campaign which celebrates volunteers and the contribution they make to their communities. It is the perfect opportunity to recognise those who put their time, energy and enthusiasm into helping others, whether it’s visiting an older person and breaking isolation, helping a charity in their office or supporting young people.

Savita Mason, Volunteer Centre Coordinator said “If anyone is interested in volunteering and would like to find out what opportunities are available to them they can contact the North Herts and Stevenage Volunteer Centres for a chat. We will also be at the Market Square for the Hitchin Health and Wellbeing day on Saturday 6th June so come and find us to get more information.”

“Volunteers week is a great time to begin volunteering and to use your spare time to help others. It is a way to give something back, but it’s also an opportunity to benefit from new experiences, make friends, gain skills and have fun.”

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Mark Packer recently had an appointment with the Volunteer Centre as he was interested in finding a volunteer role, he said “I approached the Volunteer Centre to look for a place where I could volunteer as I knew they would have information about the wide and varied roles available in Stevenage and would be able to help me. I believe going to them saved me a lot of time as I would not have known where to start looking. After meeting them I was quickly referred on to an organisation I was interested in. I have now started my volunteer role with Stevenage Shopmobility which I find really rewarding and would encourage anyone else thinking about volunteering to contact the Volunteer Centre.”

The North Herts and Stevenage Volunteer Centres are projects managed by North Herts CVS. If you are interested in volunteering you can search for and register your interest in roles online at do-it.org or can contact the North Herts and Stevenage Volunteer Centre on 0300 666 0596 or email volunteering@nhcvs.org.uk.

 

Volunteer and give back to your community

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Are you looking to do something new? Challenge yourself? Meet more people or perhaps improve your skills? Then Volunteering may be the answer. Volunteering is a great way to get involved in your local community and support those in need. Volunteers are a lifeline for charities, without them many would not be able to continue their good work. Using your time to do something to help a charity can be extremely rewarding, it can help boost your confidence, is fun and looks great on your CV too.

Honor Wood started to volunteer at Stevenage Haven, a shelter for homeless people, 18 months ago as a Lunchtime Helper. She said, “After retiring I wanted to stay active and give something back to the community. I was particularly passionate about homelessness and wanted to do something small that would be helpful. I decided to volunteer as a Lunchtime Helper which involves preparing and serving lunches to the residents at Stevenage Haven. One aspect of the role I enjoy is interacting with the residents and making sure they’re OK. I also like the friendly atmosphere and the structure volunteering gives to my week.”

She added, “If anyone is thinking about volunteering, I would say just go for it. It is important you find a volunteer role that is suitable and interesting for you.”

Savita Mason, the Volunteer Centre Coordinator said, “This is where the Stevenage Volunteer Centre can help. There are many different roles available for people to get involved in. You could volunteer with children, support older people in the community or perhaps help an organisation with administrative tasks and get involved in marketing or fundraising. The Stevenage Volunteer Centre is here to help find the right volunteer role for you. You can contact us to arrange an appointment to discuss the opportunities available and can also view them online at www.do-it.org.uk.

The Stevenage Volunteer Centre is a project managed by North Herts CVS. If you are interested in volunteering please contact us by calling 01462 424307 or by emailing info@volunteerstevenage.org.uk. We are based at In Town Training in Stevenage Town Centre and are open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9am to 4pm.

Support your local charities by sharing your professional skills

Skills Share Herts is a new ground breaking project developed by the Volunteer Centres across Hertfordshire. It matches employees and unemployed individuals that have professional skills with charities that require expert advice or help with short term pieces of work. This may include helping an organisation to create marketing materials, build a website, develop a database or it may involve providing advice on HR policies or assisting them with their business plans.

Skills Share Herts provides a way for charities to access professional and business skills which could help to improve the management and delivery of their services and gives companies the opportunity to show that they are supporting their local communities. It provides a means for companies to develop, measure and promote Corporate Social Responsibility and also provides opportunities for staff training and allows employees to gain valuable skills and experience whilst helping a good cause which can boost their morale.

It is also great for individuals with professional skills who may be unemployed. It gives them the chance to develop themselves, improve their CVs and career prospects as well as giving them the opportunity to gain access to new networks and create links in the community that they otherwise may not have made.

Skills Share Herts operates by using an online social networking platform. When employees or individuals register themselves they can create a profile for themselves and state what skills and experience they have and what they might be able to help with. Charities are also able to register their volunteer opportunities that require professional skills and browse the expertise on offer. Both parties are able to communicate with each other directly through the site.

If you are interested in joining Skills Share Herts please contact the Stevenage Volunteer Centre by calling 01462 424307 or emailing info@volunteerstevenage.org.uk. Alternatively you can request to sign up to Skills Share Herts by visiting the Skills Share website.

 

 

Volunteering as a driver, and a fun visit to the farm

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I have been volunteering for the Community Transport department of NHCVS since January, and also help out in the Volunteer Centre when time permits.

There was an opportunity to assist a project called Breakaway Playscheme; they were short of a driver for their minibus, which would have meant the group couldn’t go on an outing to Church Farm in Ardley. So I willingly volunteered my time, arrangements were finalised and off we went on the day.

Playscheme supports mixed ability youth so this was a valuable opportunity for enrichment.

The weather was nice enough that a walk around the farm was possible, the youngsters seeing various animals – lambs, piglets and ducks were in abundance. There was also a tractor trailer ride for everyone who had been well behaved, which obviously meant everyone who wanted to go was able to.

I get asked a lot about why I give my time freely, but when you can see the faces of both the adults and the children enjoying themselves it becomes apparent.

A post by Tom, NHCVS Volunteer

A day in the life of an NHCVS Intern

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Starting a new job can be nerve wracking. On my first day I remember having various thoughts roaming around in my head. Will they like me? Am I doing it right? Looking back on it now, I can honestly say that my first day was a pleasant experience where I received a warm welcome by all staff and then started various training on forthcoming roles and responsibilities. Now after a few months, I feel as if I am really getting into the swing of things, andas  a result seem to be enjoying my role more and more.

As a Media and Communication Graduate with varied experience across Television, Radio and Journalism I was particularly enthusiastic about this role and saw it as an opportunity to enhance my current skillset. On most days I am finding my role to be busy and hectic where I can be doing a number of different things, such as writing the monthly e-bulletin, organising training events or writing press releases to promote events. However I can reassure you that this isn’t a bad thing as I am the kind of person who likes keeping busy. I value the extensive range of experience I am gaining from working within the voluntary and community sector, and being able to help charities and individuals who are looking to volunteer. What I love most is the buzz from being able to meet new people and pointing them in the right direction for volunteering, whether this is for Time Bank, a community skills exchange project or the Volunteer Centre.

Part of my role is formed by providing administrative support to the rest of the NHCVS team. This comes with the responsibility of carrying out administrative tasks such as answering the phone, greeting guests, and dealing with requests from local voluntary and community organisations. This part of the role involves a lot of structure where I’m given a number of set tasks to work through on a daily basis. I find that I’m very satisfied when I get through my ‘to do’ list at the end of the day and I am always ready to start on the next task or challenge that I am presented with. Each day seems to be different from the previous one which provides the role with a lots of versatility and balance.

Promoting, supporting and evaluating the NHCVS training programme is where my role starts to get especially exciting. Booking venues, advertising courses by producing a range of marketing and communication materials, and registering attendees keeps the role varied and interesting. At present I have been promoting our Emergency First Aid training, scheduled to take place on Tuesday 26th March which is something I am really looking forward to. I love working directly with a wide range of individuals and it’s always rewarding when we hear positive feedback afterwards.

Being responsible for the development and delivery of the North Herts 50 Plus project has given me a whole new perspective into ways in which you can make a difference in the community. Providing administrative support, being responsible for publicity and organising forum events to represent the interests and views of over 50s in North Hertfordshire has proven to be challenging but exciting.

I like to take each day as it comes and consider this internship as a big learning curve, but hope that in the process I have given you a useful insight into my journey so far.

A post by Neena, NHCVS Intern