On 11th June 2019, the National Lottery Community Fund announced almost £88 million had been awarded to over 3,000 good causes to help communities to thrive by tackling loneliness and isolation.
YOU was awarded £10,000 of this funding to support with the recruitment and retention of volunteers. Volunteers at YOU are very important as we have many services that are supported by those who give up their time to give something back to their communities and work alongside some of the vulnerable people accessing our services. In particular, our My Time (a service that supports carers) and Counselling with YOU services, as these services are predominately delivered by volunteers and so much value is added by their amazing contribution.
Our 17 Counselling with YOU volunteers have a wealth of knowledge and experience between them and offer person centred, holistic counselling to people who may not be able to access counselling for a very small fee. The volunteers are a mixture of students on Diploma courses and qualified counsellors with other roles or their own private practices.
The My Time team will go to a carer’s home to discuss with them their current situation and then match the person with a volunteer or staff member depending on their support needs to provide respite for carers. An example of the support provided by one of our volunteers was to Mr and Mrs P. Mr P really wanted to go out and about, and unfortunately, due to ill-health Mrs P could not push his wheelchair around and felt Mr P was missing out because of this. A volunteer was matched with Mr and Mrs P who now takes Mr P to local green spaces on a weekly basis as this as what was important to the couple.
Within Advice Portsmouth, another service delivered by YOU, the volunteers and staff provide legal advice to the people of Portsmouth on a range of issues such as social welfare benefits, family issues, employment, debt, housing and consumer law. One volunteer is also trained to support people to complete debt relief orders, and they saved people approximately £590,000 worth of debt in 2018.
Our West Sussex Connect Domestic Abuse service have launched their Peer Mentor project and are looking for volunteers who are survivors of domestic abuse to come and support current service users. These volunteers can help through recovery support groups of one-to-one sessions, with the support of staff at Connect.
Across our services, we are always looking for innovative ways in which we can work with volunteers to support the people we work with in their communities and we truly appreciate any time that our volunteers give. We welcome anyone to get in touch to have a conversation about what they are looking for as part of a volunteer role, and also what we as an organisation can do for our volunteers. Part of the awarded grant has already been used to recognise the contribution of our current volunteers as part of big Thank YOU to their dedication and hard work. The rest of the grant will be used so YOU can attend fairs to recruit further volunteers across our geographical locations in partnership with local agencies, such as One Community, Purple Door and Portsmouth Together. It will also be used for other reward and recognition strategies to aid our retention of our amazing volunteers.
Further information and contact details on all the opportunities mentioned within this article can be found on our website: www.theyoutrust.org.uk, or feel free to give our recruitment team a call on 01329 821 936.