27 May 2020 – 11:18 by barkery.jammeh – Manchester Community Central
Hi it’s Volunteers Week again, doesn’t time fly?!
Volunteers Week 2020 (June 1 – 7) is so different this year due to the Covid-19 outbreak. First of all, all of us here at Macc would like to send our best wishes to all of you out there and we hope that you stay well and continue to look after yourself and those close to you in these anxious and uncertain times.
Every year Volunteer Centre Manchester (VCM) enjoy celebrating Volunteers Week with a number of different activities to help highlight some of the fantastic work that volunteers do in and around Manchester. This year even with the Corona virus it has been no different and the amount of volunteers that have wanted to get involved and help people through this terrible time has been amazing.
Usually VCM are involved with or facilitate lots of different activities or projects throughout the week but this year has been slightly different. We (for obvious reasons) can’t hold our traditional Volunteer Fair where volunteer organisations and volunteers can come together to make those connections and build relationships for example. However because of the wonders of technology we can still do some of the things to celebrate and recognise volunteers and our Volunteer stories are just one of those.
Each year we ask organisations and volunteers to share their stories of how volunteering has made a difference to them. All the stories we receive are showcased all week, to celebrate, to inspire, and to spread the positive message of the good things that happen around us each day. Our first story (below) for Volunteers week 2020 comes from Yes Manchester and Northwards Housing for their Digital Champions and is a great place to start.
Thanks for reading and enjoy.
Digital Champions North Manchester
25 – 66
What organisation are you from:
What are the volunteer roles and what do they do in that role:
Digital Champions are a group of volunteers supported by Yes Manchester and Northwards Housing helping people to learn skills on how to use the internet, to understand which device to buy and the best broadband deals. We help to run drop-in Online Support sessions throughout North Manchester helping people to job search effectively as well as help with the following: housing applications, Universal credit, online basics computer course, email, help with online forms, school applications and online safety. We also help people to pay rent online and to report repairs to their property by using the Northwards Housing website.
How long have they been volunteering for:
The project has been running for these last 2 years.
How do they get involved with volunteering:
When the Digital Champions project was introduced at the Yes Manchester centre, the service users were very interested to learn more about it and get involved. Once we advertised the project, a considerable amount of people applied to become our Digital Champions volunteers. The main aim of the project is to offer our local clients the chance to do voluntary work and become active within the community. We work with digital champions volunteers that have been out of work for a long time and looking for work. The project gives them the opportunity to gain work experience and get back on track. We have noticed that volunteers find the project as a confidence booster which in turns allows them to believe in themselves.
Why did they get involved in volunteering:
Our project welcomes volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds and abilities. Some of our volunteers suffer from some mental health issues, and getting involved in this project is helping them to socialise and do something new for themselves. We also have volunteers that want to learn new skills, improve their verbal communication,work experience and meet new people. A group of our volunteers are retired and usually we find that these people want to give something back to the community and this programme allows them to do that.
What do they enjoy most about volunteering:
We all have our best moment when we support people but the most special moments that digital champions enjoy are when they see a change and success in their customer’s circumstances.
What difference has volunteering made to their life:
This project is giving people the opportunity to change their lives by boosting or building up their life skills. It is a pathway of filling those gaps in their knowledge. Our digital champions volunteers are learning something new every day which is giving them the motivation to share their knowledge when supporting people.
How does volunteering make them feel:
Some of our volunteers have built their confidence and started to believe in themselves. We have volunteers that have shown that their mental health issues have improved after joining the volunteering programme. In addition, a number of volunteers say that they feel that them meeting new people has changed their lives for the better.
What would they say to someone thinking about volunteering:
Volunteering gives you the opportunity to find your hidden skills, improve their knowledge and to help people around you!
What’s your favourite volunteering memory:
One of my favourite volunteering memories was that one of our volunteers was looking for a job because she had financial issues. All the digital champions got together and were doing some job search and sending her job adverts and applications forms. After some time she has secured a job and we were all happy for her success.
To see more about Volunteers week and read more stories. Please click on this link to Manchester Community Central website:
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