Wednesday, 6 June 2012

VOLUNTEER WEEK AT BIRMINGHAM SETTLEMENT

Lauren (right) and Shantae (left) gained life skills from volunteering with The Settlement.

As part of Volunteers’ Week from 1st – 7th June, Birmingham Settlement is focusing on the theme of ‘More Than Money’ – looking at the often-overlooked benefits of volunteering, both to individuals and organisations.
“When talking about volunteering public figures often focus on the contribution that volunteers make to the economy or the unpaid labour they give organisations,” says Rob Netherway, Volunteer Co-ordinator. “While the contribution that volunteers make to the economy is significant there are many other ways that they provide enormous benefit to the people and organisations they help.  Volunteers themselves receive a lot of value from what they do. This includes developing skills, building confidence, keeping active (especially for older people or those with disabilities) and enjoying a positive social environment.”

To highlight this, and encourage potential new volunteers, Birmingham Settlement are capturing as many case studies as possible during the week, enabling people to share their stories and what they personally gain from volunteering. They’ll be using a range of mechanisms to do this including blogging, filming, tweeting and picturing the volunteer experience throughout the week and beyond!
Volunteering takes on many forms at the Settlement. For example, two local students, Lauren and Shantae, volunteered at Birmingham Settlement as part of their two week’s work experience. They learned a range of skills including organising fundraising events, use of digital technology, and putting together a presentation about the Settlement’s Allotment Project – all valuable skills for their future. At the end of the placement Shantae commented, “I have learned what real life is all about.”

Birmingham Settlement will be launching its new Volunteer Forum on 7th June bringing together volunteers from across different service areas to contribute their suggestions, stories, ideas and experiences to help shape future plans and services.
“Our volunteers play an integral role in the life of Birmingham Settlement and we value their contribution immensely. The forum will give volunteers the opportunity to influence the decision making process and be integrated with the forums we have for other service areas,” says Rob.

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