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Volunteers’ Week 2014 – Case Studies

This year was the 30th anniversary of Volunteers’ Week and at Thrive Trafford we decided to celebrate it!

Throughout Volunteers’ Week between 1st -7th June Thrive Trafford promoted volunteering happening across Trafford in its many forms.

We heard about different experiences and during this week we showcased case studies from Trafford based organisations to show the variety of volunteering opportunities available in Trafford. Each day of volunteers’ week we published new case studies of volunteering activities.

If you would like more information on any of the stories below or have any volunteering opportunities please email caroline.lewis@thrivetrafford.org.uk

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Saturday's Case Study - Victim Support
Helen Cleary – Trafford Victim Support

Which organisation do/did you volunteer for?
Following a number of years of volunteering across public and private sectors I currently volunteer for Trafford Victim Support.

What volunteering activities do/did you do?
Migrating from a volunteering role with the Youth Justice Team I currently offer practical and emotional support to victims of core crime within Trafford and also offer a specialised support role to victims of Domestic Violence.

How and why did you get involved with volunteering?
On my return from living abroad, I commenced retraining in a new career and returned to studying full time. Volunteering offered the opportunity to support people whilst I was studying and also allowed me to gain valuable practical experience working directly with people. Volunteering became an excellent way to support the local community yet allowed a flexible approach to fit in around studying and increase my knowledge and experience.

What do you feel you have gained from being a volunteer?
Volunteering has allowed a greater interaction with people from the local community. I have been able to develop an empathic and listening approach, whilst also thinking along and offering a practical approach to solving immediate issues. The opportunity to put academic and practical knowledge into practise has helped to create a deeper understanding to crime and related issues and the impact this has on victims. Once back in the work place volunteering helped to develop a deeper understanding of the impact that domestic violence has on people and it has helped me to gain a much deeper insight to supporting victims in general.

How would you encourage other people to volunteer?
The many different ways to introduce people to volunteering through, multi media, face to face, colleges, the work place, all allow the opportunity to encourage and impress the importance of volunteering across different cultures and age ranges.

Are there any other volunteering opportunities you would consider in the future?
I’m always open to new experiences and look forward to learning to support others in different specialised areas such as homicide, hate crime etc through the current training and mentoring opportunities that victim support offer.

For more information on how you can volunteer with Victim Support please visit www.victimsupport.org.uk

Friday's Case Study - Citizen's Advice Bureau
Joe – Volunteer at Citizen’s Advice Bureau Trafford

Which organisation do/did you volunteer for?
Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
What volunteering activities do/did you do?
a) Information Assistant – During CAB ‘Gateway’ sessions where members of public can call in for advice

  • Take details and record on CAB Computer System
  • Give information sheets, where appropriate.

If a member of the public has a ‘simple’ question’ as Information Assistant I may be able to answer that simple question, often with help of Information or the Fact Sheet from the CAB Website AdviceGuide. I think known among CAB workers as ‘day-sheet’
If a member of the public has a ‘concern’ that is more ‘complicated’, I may ask him/her to complete the information sheet and copy details from that sheet (Name, Address, DOB etc) onto the CAB Computer system. That member of the public is then seen / interviewed by ‘first step’ ‘Gateway’ assessor’.

b) Gateway Assessor – During CAB ‘Gateway’ sessions where members of public can call in for advice
Following on from the point a) above, I am currently training as first-step Gateway Assessor, taking details from client about why he / she has come to CAB for advice, and providing information and Advice-Guide Fact / Information sheets. Because of my experience as a part-time volunteer (3 hours a week at most), my personal knowledge is limited – if I cannot find the answer on ‘Advice-Guide’, I nearly always have to refer to the Full time CAB employee, who are in charge of the public sessions.

How and why did you get involved with volunteering?
HOW – I applied on the CAB website and was interviewed by Louise at Trafford CAB.
WHY – Since redundancy, I had more free time and thought it would be a useful experience and a chance to learn about such matters as law, economics, employment and benefits. In layman’s terms to know more about ‘life’, if you know what I mean. It maybe experience that may lead to a ‘new’ job. I am currently working part-time for an agency as a teaching Assistant.

What do you feel you have gained from being a volunteer?
A lot – difficult to summarise. In short

a) More knowledge about various matters listed on CAB AdviceGuide Website – Benefits, Employment, Consumer, Relationships, Housing,

b) More confidence in dealing with the public when giving Information Sheets as Information Assistant or ‘interviewing’ as Gateway Assessor.

How would you encourage other people to volunteer?
Apply to CAB

Are there any other volunteering opportunities would you consider in the future?
In future, definitely, depending on amount of free time that I have. At the moment, that is difficult to assess because of waiting to be called by the agency before knowing if I am working on a particular week or day.
Is there any further comments you would like to make about your volunteering experience?
a) I must repeat my point as Gateway Assessor (point 1b) about my lack of knowledge of the reasons why a ‘client’ has come in to CAB session for advice. I am always grateful to Aidan, Louise and John (Full-time CAB employees in charge of sessions) for their help.

b) I like to think that I am learning and improving as a Gateway Assessor and hope that with experience, will continue to improve.

c) My volunteer time with CAB is limited because of my work – most days when I know that Stretford or Sale CAB are ‘open’, I have to wait until I am certain that the agency do not have any work for me on that day. Recently, I went to Stretford and was called whilst volunteering in CAB. I was able to finish the Gateway session and write it up on computer.

d) Thanks to all the full-time employees (Aidan at Stretford, John and Louise at Stretford) for their help and encouragement – it is much appreciated. Thanks also to Naz for her help when my password runs out.

e) Thanks to all volunteer colleagues also for their help and encouragement – great colleagues to work with.

For more information on how you to can volunteer at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau Trafford please visit –www.traffordcab.org.uk

Thursday's Case Study - National Trust - Dunham Massey
vol_nationaltrustlogo_volunweek Helen Clark
Volunteer at Dunham Massey

What to do when you have spent your whole career working in communications – marketing public limited companies, organising public relations for global companies and advising corporate companies on the way forward? Join the National Trust as a volunteer and see what is available.

After taking early retirement just over a year ago, I was keen to continue to use my skills and be with professional people, so volunteered at Dunham Massey. What timing! Charlotte Simpson, the Volunteer Development Manager was just planning a change management strategy for the 500 volunteers she manages, to come to terms with the forthcoming opening of the Stamford Military Hospital in Dunham. Dunham Massey was an active military hospital during WW1 and as the commemoration was due, a huge amount of detailed planning and organisation was to be undertaken. The staff at Dunham asked the volunteers for help and over a hundred came on board to do research into the family, the patients, medicines, the garden, the food, the treasures and the actual running of the hospital which was on top of the volunteering roles they currently undertook at Dunham.

My role was to embrace all these people and ensure they communicated and shared their findings. I wrote stories for the volunteers’ fortnightly e-newsletter; helped Charlotte with monthly sessions called A Ma Puissance where professional speakers came to talk about WW1 and the contribution Stamford Military Hospital made – all free for volunteers to attend. I also hosted a book club where I and other volunteers read and discussed non-fiction and fiction books all based om WW1.
I volunteered to use my skills, which I have, but so much more than that. I have met so many people from such diverse backgrounds, but all of them have one thing in common – they are passionate about Dunham Massey. I started working just one day a week, but since the successful opening of the Stamford Military Hospital, I am now in the middle of a project which involves interviewing the volunteers who were involved with the hospital. ‘Wow, what a job!’ I have learnt so much from them, especially the stories they found about each patient at the hospital; laughed out loud with joy as I shared their triumph at finally finding out essential facts, but most of all been so astounded at the dedication they gave to the project. I now spend much more time each week talking with these volunteers to find out for myself why they volunteered for the project and what they got out of it. Once I have transcribed all these interviews I will create case histories to go on the Dunham website, which I hope will encourage others to join.

I absolutely love my role at Dunham and never thought when I initially approached Charlotte that I would be so involved with communicating the First World War! I imagined volunteering would involve showing people around the house – how wrong I was! There are so many opportunities, but if I hadn’t volunteered in the first place, I would never have known. Some volunteers at Dunham have spent many years there, evolving in their roles and their historical knowledge is unsurpassed. ‘One thing we all have in common is thirst of knowledge and there’s no better way of fulfilling that than by becoming a volunteer.’

I would thoroughly recommend anyone from any background to volunteer; it has opened up my life to a world of social history and I have met such wonderful characters. Retirement so far is great – mainly due to my involvement at Dunham and the terrific team of people I work with. I thoroughly recommend volunteering.

For more information about the WW1 anniversary celebrations taking place at Dunham Massey from this Saturday 7th June 2014 or to find out more about how you can volunteer at Dunham click here

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Wednesday's Case Study - THT 'Give and Gain Day' - Employee Volunteering

On Friday 16th May 2014 Thrive Trafford, in partnership with the charity Red Rose Forest, hosted a huge volunteering event as part of national ‘Give & Gain Day’. More than 60 volunteers from across Trafford swapped their usual Friday at work for a day giving time back to the community as part of Business in the Community’s ‘Give & Gain Day’. Projects included litter picking, cutting back vegetation, including invasive balsam, tree thinning, opening up ditches and re-decking a bridge.

The day which also took place nationally for employee volunteering, helped to connect skilled professionals with people working within community improvement projects.

Businesses who took part in Trafford included DWF LLP, Styles and Wood, Bruntwood, Chep UK, Sainsburys Urmston, Trafford Housing Trust, Thomas Carter Opticians, Nixor Resource Consulting Ltd and the University of Manchester.

Mike Savage, Operations Manager for Red Rose Forest said “Urmston Meadows is a fantastic resource but like many other countryside sites needs some TLC to make the most of it for people and wildlife. The hard work that all the employees have done today makes an enormous difference and is a great start to the improvements to the site we hope to achieve in the future…”

Below are some short case studies from some of the volunteers that took part on the day:

Vicky Turner from Manchester University

Which organisation do/did you volunteer for? Urmston parkways

What volunteering activities do/did you do? Pruning/ weeding

How and why did you get involved with volunteering? I have always wanted to volunteer and this was an opportunity I could do through work

What do you feel you have gained from being a volunteer? I felt I helped the community, and I felt I achieved something on the day and it was something I have never really done before. (I currently live in a flat with no outdoor space)

How would you encourage other people to volunteer? Using social media and telling my story

Are there any other volunteering opportunities would you consider in the future? Yes definitely my manager is looking into future opportunities

Is there any further comments you would like to make about your volunteering experience? I really enjoyed the day and the organisers on the day were great

Bianca Reda from Styles and Wood

What was your experience of Give and Gain Day? Great day, learnt about the forest and also gained experience of garden tools such as saws etc

What difference do you think you made on the day? Although cutting down trees didnt seem right the staff/volunteers explained the impact we were having on our native trees and plants so I feel we made a difference to their development

Would you consider volunteering again? Yes

Any other comments? ‘Fantastic day, greatly organised and S&W should be informed of more days like this as everyone later on in the way was mentioning how much fun they had’

Samantha Booth

What was your experience of Give and Gain Day? I loved every minute of it and would definitely do it again

What difference do you think you made on the day? We made a huge difference

Would you consider volunteering again? I will definitely be volunteering again

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Tuesday's Case Study - Cyril Flint - June's Story
June is 93 years old and lives in a flat on her own. Her husband of 50 years died 10 years ago and since then June has been feeling more and more lonely and depressed. Her children live all over the world and rarely get to spend time with her.

Due to her frailty and low mood June only gets out and about when she needs to attend medical appointments. June was referred to Cyril Flint Volunteers by her care workers who thought she could do with a weekly visit from one of our trained and police checked befriending volunteers. Once assessed we matched June with a volunteer, Helen, who lives in her local area and shares some of her interests.

Helen now visits June at least once a week. They share stories, watch television together, and now and again they bake, a hobby that June used to really enjoy but hadn’t had the confidence to continue on her own. June says, ‘I really look forward to Helen’s visits. We make each other laugh and she is great company.’

For more information about how you to can volunteer with Cyril Flint please visit – www.cyrilflint.org

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Monday's Case Study - Trafford Leisure Trust - Trafford Community Champions

The Trafford Community Champions Programme recruits people from within the Community, develops a profile of their interests and offers them opportunities to volunteer back within that community. In reward for their time banked they can access a variety of courses and other incentives along the way whilst being mentored. Once qualified the idea is that they are deployed into their community to deliver a sustainable local activity.

The case study below comes from a young lady who first accessed the programme around twelve months ago and is still actively volunteering.

Sabrina Mistry
Volunteering in the Trafford Community Champions programme is an amazing experience. No two sessions are the same, and the programme offers the ideal platform to use and expand on my existing skills, whilst giving something back to the community.

At the moment, I volunteer during the weekend. The atmosphere created by the sports staff and young people, makes the whole experience unforgettable. Instead of doing what most people do on a Saturday night, I prefer to volunteer. I know that young people look forward to what people like me can offer, and also see me as a role model. This is definitely a unique experience: to see trust and friendship build, along with the lasting impression left on young people, which develops them into the role models of the future.

I have learnt a lot since I started and have formed a good bond with the staff and young people. I feel that my confidence has grown, along with the development of my sporting skills. The Trafford Community Champions programme recognises commitment to volunteering, and has recently rewarded me with a t-shirt and hoodie. I have also had the opportunity to obtain the FA Level 1 Award in Coaching Football. Obtaining this qualification was a very proud moment, as it was the result of the time committed through volunteering to earn myself a place on a first-class course.

The volunteering programme is one of the best initiatives available, especially if people want to get into sport. Work experience is just as important, if not better than qualifications, and the Trafford Community Champions programme offers the best of both. I believe all skills and experience gained are transferrable for any employment, for example: communication, public speaking, planning and leadership, just to name a few. Therefore, what I have gained, and will continue to learn, shapes me as an individual and will stay with me for life.
‘I am very thankful to Sport Trafford for providing me this opportunity and would strongly encourage others to get involved’

For more information on how you to can volunteer at Trafford Leisure Trust please visit
www.traffordleisure.co.uk

Join our Pro Bono Bank - Business Volunteering
Business volunteering is a great way to utilise the knowledge, skills and experience of professionals to benefit local communities and make a real difference. Thrive Trafford already work with a wide range of businesses who donate time, skills and resources to local good causes. During Volunteers Week we want to encourage even more to get involved, so we are launching the Trafford Pro Bono Bank.

The Thrive Pro Bono Bank is a pool of responsible professionals and business leaders with varied skills, knowledge and experience. The bank creates a network of responsible business professionals who work and live in Trafford, who can share their expertise with the voluntary sector- and each other.

Joining the Pro Bono Bank gives you access to a wide range of volunteering opportunities which:

  • Can support you to develop new skills
  • Is a small commitment which is flexible
  • Utilises your skills and knowledge to create a positive impact in the local community

The Bank provides an easy and flexible way to volunteer your time. Could you offer over-the-phone marketing advice to a social enterprise? Or run a financial planning session for the board of a charity?

Thrive Trafford will be hosting a networking event over summer for professionals interested in joining the Pro Bono Bank.

If you would like to express an interest, or require further information please contact them through the website or by emailing info@thrivetrafford.org.uk with the subject line ‘Pro bono bank’.