Supported Volunteering Project
Volunteer Centre Greenwich has run a supported volunteering project for over ten years, supporting people with a range of needs including, disability, mental health issues, long term unemployment and social barriers in social housing.
Our Supported Volunteering Project provides bespoke volunteering opportunities accessed with the support of a trained mentor. This is coupled with a qualification in an accredited Level 1 Employability Skills Course. The mentor provides tailored support dependant on the needs of the mentee. All mentors have a Level 2 accredited qualification in Mentoring and VCG holds Mentoring and Befriending Provider Status demonstrating the standards that the project adheres to.
The project enhances people’s employment prospects by increasing their confidence, skills and experience. Mentors work with their mentees to support them in identifying and working towards their agreed goals and move towards their next step in their employment journey.
The Young People’s Project
This highly successful project is in its second year. It is run in partnership with The Camden Society and GLLaB (Greenwich Local Labour and Business), where a menu of employment development opportunities are offered to young people aged 16-25 living in Greenwich, who have a learning disability or are on the autism spectrum. This project works with the young people helping them to access volunteering, training and supporting them in finding paid employment.
Last year the project supported 12 young people, matching them with a mentor who worked with them for six months on their path to employment. 9 of the young people also benefitted from attending the 6 week Employability training course. By the end of the project 7 young people had found paid work.
What a young person on the project has to say:
‘The mentoring project has helped me in many ways, from restoring my confidence not only in an Interview type situation but also in my abilities. I was always the type of person to not want to give an answer to a question in case I got it wrong and I embarrassed myself and also never put up my hand or voiced my opinion because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself and have all eyes on me. Not only the course has but my mentor has also been extremely supportive and encouraging by giving me constant reassurance. It may be because we have a common interest which has made up click easier but she just seems to get me and understand where I’m coming from even when I struggle to explain myself which can be very often’. Young Person
The Henry Smith Project
The Henry Smith Project was set up in 2018. It replicates the young people’s project but for adults over 25. The project is again working in partnership with The Camden Society and has been funded for three years by The Henry Smith Charity. The project supports, trains and mentors people with a learning disability who are furthest away from employment, to volunteer, gain work experience, build confidence and increase their employability skills. All mentees are again matched with a mentor who works with them in achieving their goals and are able to access the Employability Skills training.
Transforming Day Opportunities
This is VCG’s latest supported volunteering project. Funded by the Royal Borough of Greenwich it is collaboration between VCG, the Camden Society and Advocacy in Greenwich. The overall aim of the project is to support people with a learning disability into employment. The supported volunteering element of the project offer the same level of support to people who currently access day care services, so providing a mentor and training opportunities for people with learning disabilities. There is less of a focus on employment for this project as the ultimate aim is to build skills, experience and confidence through accessing volunteering opportunities with a view to people becoming a giver of services rather than a receiver of services.