Young people and volunteering, a way forward

Young People and Volunteering a way forward

Sandwell has a thriving voluntary and community sector with approximately 800 recognised groups across the borough; of those groups around 500 are wholly reliant on volunteers.

In response to local need, Volunteer Centre Sandwell is working with partners from private, public and voluntary / community sector to develop a series of volunteering opportunities in getting the best out of our young people.

Jean Taylor Chief Executive Officer comments “we have seen a significant rise in the number of young people seeking volunteering opportunities.  In fact over the period 1st April 2010 to 31st March 2011 the number of people who used our services increased by 91%.”

Local solutions to help young people could be developed through an expansion of accredited programmes of informal learning and volunteering. These should be included in the definition of meaningful activities. If local partners ensured that opportunities become more attractive by placing more weight on volunteering and community service as a route into work and formal training, developing local initiatives for young people who give their time can;

  • Start to break down some of the engagement barriers
  • Provide a valuable way of improving skills, building confidence and gaining work experience
  • Act as a stepping stone into work and training and in some cases be an alternative to employment or training.
  • Allow young people to contribute to the local economy
  • Help tackle social problems, build social cohesion and further develop local culture and sport.

Young people are motivated to volunteer for a number of reasons; their personal feelings (e.g. satisfaction, feel-good); personal needs(e.g. pastime, relationships); altruism; experience (e.g. skills and work prospects); and personal incentive (e.g. qualifications)

For young people who are not engaged in education, employment or training, or who are not engaged as carers, volunteering offers a tool to help them re-engage and often has a positive impact.

Volunteering helps to develops skills which young people can then use. This includes generic skills such as teamwork, communication and other social and interpersonal skills.  It is often the supportive and people-centred ethos of the volunteering sector that facilitates the development of these skills.

If your organisation would like to consider the option of providing an opportunity for young people in Sandwell, The Volunteer Centre would be happy to arrange a meeting with you. Please contact the office on 0121 544 8326 or email [email protected]