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Progress2work: A Spotlight on Volunteering

In the run up to National Volunteer Week (31st May – 6th June), progress2work have been planning a series of events to promote the volunteering opportunities available with the programme. Keep reading for more information about our opportunities, our partners, and what we have planned for National Volunteer Week 2021!

Volunteering is one of the five key delivery aspects of the progress2work programme. On the project, we have three volunteer training coordinators (VTCs) who facilitate and organise volunteer activities for clients and residents within the community we work. . We can see these as volunteering ‘out’ and volunteering ‘in’.

Volunteers ‘out’ for progress2work are clients who are signed up to the programme and receiving our holistic employability support. We know that volunteering, at any level can have a number of great benefits for wellbeing, social interaction, mental health, and employability skills!
From work placements, to participating in our Tea and Talk events, our clients can access volunteering opportunities which can help them gain confidence, build skills, and add vital experience they need to help them move closer to work.
Part of the volunteering offer to clients is finding work placements with employers, to give our clients more experience and insight into the jobs they’re hoping to go into. So far, we have had some great case studies of clients getting stuck in and developing their skills and confidence. You can read about Edward’s story in our April Update here: Progress2work: April Update – Opportunities for Adults (theopportunitycentre.com). Read on to find out about one of our partners offering volunteering opportunities in the Kirklees area.

As well as finding volunteer placements for our clients, part of the VTC role is to recruit, train, and manage volunteers on to the programme, who help to deliver support for the clients on our programme. This delivery can be any activity or sessions our volunteers want to hold! The non-traditional and research-based aspect of progress2work involves trying out different methods of delivery to find what works best for our clients. These activities could include a gardening club, knit and natter sessions, or even IT training. We are currently looking for interpreters and translators to support our clients who speak English as a second language. If you’re interested in this opportunity, please use the details below to get in touch.

Volunteers ‘in’ can get involved in a number of different ways in delivery. Supporting with delivery by holding sessions for our clients is just one option. For those looking for one-to-one or support experience, we offer a peer mentoring scheme, where volunteers can mentor and support individual clients on the programme to help them progress. We also take on programme ambassadors; providing services in the community under the progress2work umbrella. Our ambassadors work in the community and promote the programme to members of the public and potential clients.

Our volunteer offer is based on building sustainable community development in our areas of operation, so we’re looking for volunteers who want to give back to their local communities and help those in need of support. The level of commitment is up to you; you can get involved in a one-off event, or work with us one day a week!

We’re constantly building our register of partners on the project – check out some of our monthly updates to find out about some specific partnerships we’ve developed in local areas! We have been working with some great organisations in Bradford, Leeds and Kirklees. We would like to highlight one of our partners to show some of the opportunities we have facilitated for our volunteers.

Sensory World in Dewsbury:
A great organisation supporting the community, which focuses on learning and sensory difficulties by utilising a multi-sensory centre with therapeutic and entertainment access. Recently, we have secured a room at Sensory World where we can hold one-to-one and group sessions, in addition to The Opportunity Centre in Dewsbury. We have also had some of our clients volunteer there. One of our clients in Kirklees felt she needed some admin experience before she could achieve a paid role, so our VTC Hadji organised an admin placement there enabling her to build skills and learn more about what the role would need. Another client in Bradford wanted to volunteer and help local communities, she started helping in the kitchen at Sensory World to support the Food Bank activities supporting local individuals in need. Within this placement, she gained confidence working in different settings and supporting people who needed it. In the near future, we hope to hold a Deaf Awareness Presentation from one of our clients with a peer mentor volunteer. You can read about Haider’s presentation here: https://adults.theopportunitycentre.com/2021/04/progress2work-march-update/

National Volunteer Week is the first week of June – we’re holding a number of great events to get our clients and the public involved! We will be releasing a menu of opportunities for our volunteers; open to participants and ambassadors for the programme, find out what is available for you to access today!. Keep your eyes peeled on our social media platforms to find out about the different events, sessions and opportunities we’ll be offering in the run up to National Volunteering Week.

Contact progress2work@theopportunitycentre.com for more information on how you can get involved in volunteering.

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