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25 Faces of Volunteering - Amy Shearer

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Amy Shearer is a dedicated volunteer who has been helping in the community since she has been 14 years old. Amy is passionate about helping others from a disadvantage or underrepresented community.

Tell us about your volunteering

I've been volunteering within Inverclyde for almost 10 years - starting with a club for children with disabilities when I was just 14-years-old. The 'U Matter Club' was an excellent place for youngsters with various disabilities, such as Down Syndrome, autism and blindness, to socialise and have fun in a safe space. From there, I went on to be a lead volunteer with 'Friends4Ever' club, a continuation of U Matter Club after it dissolved.

The groups were safe spaces for youngsters to be themselves and we were able to provide amazing opportunities every Friday night at the youth club and during summer and Easter play schemes. Unfortunately, due to University and work commitments, I had to part way with the Friends4Ever club. But, I'm now volunteering with Supportive Communities Befriending to help integrate New Scots into the Inverclyde area. The organisation do incredible work helping to make refugees feel welcomed into the wider community.

Why do you volunteer?

Since a young age, I've always been passionate about helping others and giving those from a disadvantaged or underrepresented community a voice. I've always believed in speaking up and out - something that I can now do in a professional capacity too. Certain stereotypes are associated with children with disabilities and also New Scots in the area, so by working alongside the organisations I've chosen I can help break down barriers.

What do you gain from volunteering?

Volunteering truly has made me the person I am today. I've gained invaluable life skills and had some 'money can't buy' experiences. For me, seeing a young person with a disability flourish and thrive with my support is a feeling you cannot compare to anything else. It helped me grow in confidence, learn more about myself as a person and truly allowed me to find out what I wanted to do with my life.

What would you say to someone considering volunteering?

Volunteering enriches your life in so many ways and opens doors into other opportunities. It's a great way to meet new friends and be introduced to people from various walks of life. If you are a young person looking to add to your CV, volunteering can provide a whole host of opportunities to help you gain a pathway into employment. There are so many reasons why volunteering is one of the best things I've ever pursued. I couldn't imagine my life now if I hadn't met some of my life-long friends through volunteering opportunities. It really opens your eyes to a world beyond your own!

25 Faces of Volunteering - Betty Stewart

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Betty shares her volunteering story and how she enjoys helping people to learn, grow and develop their skills and confidence.

Tell us about your volunteering

I am a Volunteer Tutor with the Adult Literacies Team and I also support a group of learners as part of a crafters group. I undertook a training course for Volunteering which I thoroughly enjoyed with lots of assistance from my Tutor.

My first volunteer role was with WOOPI (Wider Opportunities for Older People in Inverclyde). A few of the activities I was involved in included the WOOPI singers, crafters and much more.  

I then undertook a PDA in Adult Literacies Level 6 in order to support adult literacies learners. I found this challenging but with help from Tutors, I settled into it. On meeting my first literacies learner I was wary but my learner made me feel at ease, as I did with my learner, and I always had the support of my Tutors.

I do thoroughly enjoy my volunteering role and I hope my learners get as much out of it as I do in seeing how they progress and become more confident.

I also support a number of learners as part of a Craft Group. A group of ladies, some with health problems, others lonely, but all have the same goal: they all enjoy crafting and the company as I do. When starting a project - for example, Rag Dolls - we all share our knowledge with each other, and we are fortunate to be able to access resources through Community Learning and Development.  

We have had a few upsets during lockdown, some quite distressing, but we have come through it just like a lot of people have, and I am hoping we will be able to resume crafting maybe with some changes as Health and Wellbeing is more in need now than ever before.

All in all it has been quite a journey and learning curve.

Why do you volunteer?

First and foremost, I wanted to help people less fortunate than myself and hopefully improve their lives.  

What do you gain from volunteering?

I enjoy watching people learn and develop their skills and grow in confidence.

What would you say to someone considering volunteering?

I would say go for it! There are lots of people out there in need of assistance and you will receive all the help and support necessary to help you on your journey.

 

 

Interested in Volunteering for CLD please contact:

 Tricia Donaghy & Mark Frith – Volunteer Co-ordinators

 Community Learning & Development

 Inverclyde Council

 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 01475 715450

 

CVS Inverclyde Appoints New Lead Community Link Worker

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Elaine Cannon has been appointed as CVS Inverclyde’s new lead community link worker.

Elaine joins us from Moving On Inverclyde, a charity helping people recover from problematic alcohol and drug use, and brings a wealth of experience to lead our community link worker team.

CVSI CEO, Charlene Elliott, said: “We are so excited to welcome Elaine to the CVSI team and we look forward to her starting at the end of May. Elaine has spent her career helping some of the most vulnerable people in Inverclyde and I know she will excel in this role and make a huge contribution. The community link worker team plays an essential role in supporting people in the community with social and economic problems that often have a negative on their health.”

Elaine told us she is excited to start her new role: “I have a genuine desire to ensure people link with meaningful support and have opportunities to build positive relationships, reduce isolation and feel they are valued members of their community. This is something I will have in common with the Team from the outset. As a native of Inverclyde I have a vested interest in ensuring our people have every opportunity available to them regardless of any challenges they may face.”

“As Lead Link Worker I would see it as an important part of the role to ensure we are representing the voices of the people we work alongside at a strategic planning level. As we move further into our recovery from COVID 19 restrictions and the challenges this has brought I believe this is a perfect time and opportunity to build on the learning we’ve had to make our communities strong again, with the Community Link Worker Team playing a vital role in this.”

Since the Inverclyde CLW programme was established in December 2017, the team have supported over 3,000 patients with issues and have made referrals to 148 agencies locally across a variety of sectors.

In March, CVSI successfully extended its Community Link Worker programme for an initial two-year period following a recent public procurement tender exercise.

Keep up to date with the work of our Community Link Worker Team by following them on Twitter @Inverclyde_CLW

25 Faces of Volunteering - Angela McCutcheon

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Angela is an active CLD Volunteer Tutor Assistant who volunteers her time to empower and help others achieve their full potential.

Tell us about your volunteering

I am a volunteer tutor assistant for the Community Learning & Development team at Inverclyde Council. I am normally based in Auchmountain Halls supporting service users.

I studied for the PDA Supporting Adult Literacies Learning course with Inverclyde Council and through this training I attended different placements to gain practical experience of working with adult learners. Once I received my qualification, I applied to volunteer with Inverclyde Council because I found the whole experience very rewarding and wanted to continue helping learners.

Why do you volunteer?

Seeing a service user gain confidence in themselves and having that realisation that they can do something is the reason why I volunteer. For me, it is all about empowerment and helping others realise their own potential.

What do you gain from volunteering?

I take great satisfaction in knowing that I am part of something which has the interests and aspirations of the learners at its heart.  

What would you say to someone considering volunteering?

I would say give it a try as you will be fully supported and will find it to be a very positive and enriching experience.

 

 Interested in Volunteering for CLD please contact:

 Tricia Donaghy & Mark Frith – Volunteer Co-ordinators

 Community Learning & Development

 Inverclyde Council

 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 01475 715450

25 Faces of Volunteering - Gordon McEwan

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Gordon volunteers his time with two local organisations. He teaches and supports people to use technical devices and also supports a furniture shop to sell their products via E Bay. Due to restrictions of COVID-19 Gordon still wanted to volunteer so started an online home cooking course.

Tell us about your volunteering

I volunteer for two different organisations, the first being with the Community Learning and Development Team. In this role I support and offer tuition on new technologies, smart phones, I-pads etc. I teach them how to use digital devices in a better and safe manner. I am on hand to assist with problems in this field and show people that modern technology need not be scary but useful.

I also volunteer with the British Heart Foundation where I look at the donations in the furniture branch and identify what would be suitable to put on eBay & therefore hopefully raise a higher sales price.

Also, recently with lockdown not allowing face-face provision I have started to develop an online home cooking course (Moodle) to give people a guide to simple home cooking on a budget, with hints & tips on buying, storage, safety & recipes with pictorial guides.

Why do you volunteer?

A few months after retiring I started with the British Heart Foundation furniture store in Greenock, working for a few hours each Tuesday, evaluating donations from the public and putting what we considered most valuable on eBay to try and achieve a higher sale price. I found this a really good role and established a good working rapport with the other team members. As I wanted to experience other roles I looked around for other possibilities, my daughter noticed on Facebook that CLD where looking for volunteers to support a program in Inverkip with a focus on technology learning.

I joined the team and received excellent training to guide me through how to deal with people outside. I started by providing some support at a centre in Port Glasgow giving help and advice on using new technology, then moving to Greenock library to support a Microsoft word class. Both of these gave me a feeling of usefulness, not just in the course I was involved with but also an insight into the other opportunities available.

Then came Covid-19 and the lockdown, at first, we did not have much to do just routine calls from my team leaders. As we moved on technology came to the fore and we started using video calls and were given access to Moodle. A request came in for ideas for possible Moodle courses, at this point I suggested a home cooking course, this was given the go ahead and I put together a basic home cooking course with kitchen hints and tips, do’s and don’ts, safety advice and some recipes. This is just starting to be launched and hopefully can be expanded and provide people with more confidence to cook healthy meals at home and move away from ready meals and takeaways.

What do you gain from volunteering?

I retired from full time work Dec 2018, after a few months of relaxation I decided I needed something to occupy myself & keep my body and mind active.

I was looking at volunteering first and foremost as a way of supporting good causes without the strictures of a more structured working environment (i.e. paid part time with fixed shift patterns and working hours). I feel I still have useful skills to share and volunteering gives the best opportunity to cover a wide variety of needs in the local community.

What would you say to someone considering volunteering?

I would say go for it, but make sure it’s in an area that you have an interest in or want to become involved in. Don’t just dive into the first role that comes up, it may not be right for you and could put you off volunteering in other fields.

 

Interested in Volunteering for CLD please contact:

 Tricia Donaghy & Mark Frith – Volunteer Co-ordinators

 Community Learning & Development

 Inverclyde Council

 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 01475 715450

Our team are currently working remote of the office but can be contacted via individual emails or ...

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