“Let the volunteer see the opportunity” is how Paddy McGuiness would describe the Volunteer Centre for Patchway, Filton & The Stokes, had it been the subject of his Saturday night entertainment show Take Me Out.
Based at its new location in the Hub in Rodway Road, Patchway, the Volunteer Centre serves the communities across Patchway, Filton, Little Stoke, Bradley Stoke and Stoke Gifford by acting as the conduit between organisations with voluntary opportunities and people wishing to offer their services as volunteers. This is achieved through a mixture of management of the do-it website, drop in sessions in and around the local community and drop in sessions and telephone advice at the Volunteer Centre’s office.
Dan Whiting has been volunteering one day a week at the Volunteer Centre as a placement/admin assistant since January 2012:
“When I accepted a new job at the turn of the year, I was placed on a period of gardening leave by my previous employers. Whilst initially excited at the thought of taking an enforced career break, my mind did begin to wonder just how I would fill my days as I was mindful that I didn’t want to be bored and look back on this time thinking I wasted it, so I decided to do some voluntary work.”
“An Internet search led me to the do-it website (www.do-it.org.uk), which is a national database of voluntary positions that can be filtered to local opportunities. Coming from a sales & marketing background, I decided that I wanted to do something office based, although the opportunities are there to do something completely outside of your day-to-day skill set or even comfort zone.”
“I applied for an admin assistant role at the Volunteer Centre and agreed to work one day a week. In my four months the role has been varied – I have attended drop in sessions in the community, designed a leaflet for youth volunteering opportunities, re-organised the paper based filing system in the office and found locations and venues to be approached in the community to have a Volunteer Centre notice board to attract new volunteers.”
“The part of the role I enjoy the most however is acting as the volunteer’s Paddy McGuiness: I match volunteers to the organisation they want to volunteer and check the progress of their application to find out whether they were successful.”
“Volunteering has been an enjoyable experience and has prevented me from being lazy and wasting my time off. It will certainly be added to my CV as I think it demonstrates a can-do attitude and an extension of my skill set.”
People volunteer for a number of reasons and Dan’s is just one example. The usual cliché when asking why people volunteer is “to give something back” and whilst this is commendable there are other benefits to volunteering such as making new friends, doing something new, reaching a goal and increasing confidence. In the current economic climate volunteering can benefit frustrated job seekers as it can offer the chance to gain more skills and experience to enhance your CV and offer a greater appeal to potential employers, whilst keeping your mind active.
In terms of voluntary opportunities the roles are just as wide and varied as the reasons why someone volunteers from dog walking to befriending, sports to counselling and youth work to supporting the elderly. For a full range of opportunities visit www.do-it.org.uk, contact the Volunteer Centre on 01454 868 986 or drop in and meet a volunteer advisor at:
- The Volunteer Centre, Patchway – Every Wednesday; 2pm – 4pm
- Bradley Stoke Library – 15th May, 29th May, 19th June, 3rd July and 24th July; 2pm – 4pm
- The Old School Rooms, Stoke Gifford – 9th May, 30th May, 20th June and 11th July ; 10am – 12pm
- Filton Library – 19th June, 3rd July and 24th July; 10am – 12pm
- Coniston Community Centre – 15th May, 29th May, 26th June and 17th July; 10am – 12pm
Source: Press release from the Volunteer Centre, Patchway