During 2007 we were successful in securing funding through the ‘Devon Step Up Fund’ to developed and run a 6 month client volunteering scheme. This proved to be very successful and produced a wide range of excellent hard and soft outcomes for our client beneficiaries. The pilot proved such a success that we have endeavoured to continue providing this scheme for our clients despite receiving no ongoing funding.
Often the scheme will run hand in hand with other services such as Training Opportunities and during the pilot we were able to provide Healthy Eating Training, Level 2 certificate in Food Safety and a First Aid course to the beneficiaries.
This supported volunteering scheme helps to provide a degree of structure and discipline into people's days. Many of the beneficiaries have a history of substance use, offending behaviour, homelessness and have often been unsuccessful previously in engaging with formal education. These people are not ready to go into a work situation but they do want to move forward in their lives. By engaging in this supported programme with us they can work to their own level whilst being encouraged and mentored to learn more skills. They are continually working towards different goals and acquiring the disciplines required to become employable.
For many of these volunteers, working with us enables them to look beyond themselves and their own circumstances and to be a part of something bigger.
The work that we do at the Freedom Day Centre would be impossible without the invaluable contribution from our wide team of volunteers. At times we think of it in terms of them serving us but in all of this we aim for our focus to be ‘how can we serve them?