More volunteering opportunities developed thanks to fundingPublished Tuesday 17 October 2023
Harborough District Council has been working with Voluntary Action Leicestershire (VAL) to develop volunteering opportunities in the district, thanks to government funding.
Volunteering can be a great tool for individuals - building life and employability skills, often aiding people on their journey into employment, as well as improving individual health and wellbeing. Volunteers are also vital for charities and community organisations to support a variety of causes.
Over the past six months, VAL identified four key areas where targeted support could help the development of volunteering.
The first area was individual support, which involved considering where and how potential volunteers could be reached and targeting specific areas within the Harborough district. Public engagement events were held to promote the benefits of volunteering to individuals and the community, which resulted in a number of people moving into volunteering.
The second area was supporting Volunteer Involving Organisations to develop and promote volunteering opportunities in the Harborough district and undertake bespoke recruitment activities to engage more local people within their organisations. Thanks to this support, 42 more volunteering opportunities were developed.
Working with local businesses to develop corporate/employee volunteering in Harborough district and corporate social responsibility to support local communities was the third area of action. A networking workshop for Harborough district businesses was delivered to help them to consider how they could support volunteering and community action in their local area. Following an overview of previous projects and engagement, there was a lively discussion on how micro volunteering and sharing business skills with the voluntary community and social enterprise sector could have a significant impact on local communities.
Finally, developing micro volunteering to create opportunities that are more inclusive and broaden the volunteer base in the area was looked at, and 12 micro volunteering opportunities were successfully created. Micro volunteering allows people to get involved in supporting community and social action in flexible, bite-sized chunks, with a range of small activities that can be completed virtually, remotely and with a great degree of flexibility.
Cllr Phil Knowles, Leader of Harborough District Council and Cabinet lead for Culture, Leisure, Economy and Tourism, said: “Contributions that volunteers make shouldn’t be underestimated. They make a huge difference to our communities so providing them with further opportunities is important. Volunteering can often be the next step on the work ladder and can transform lives by giving people the chance to gain valuable, transferable skills.”
Individuals or businesses interested in volunteering can visit the VAL website which has helpful information on volunteering and live opportunities. Organisations creating volunteering opportunities can also visit the website for support at: valonline.org.uk
This project has received £8,000 from the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-prospectus
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