Can volunteering help young people get what they need?
- Tuesday, 06 March 2012
A couple of years ago, Voluntary Community Service (VCS, the Cardiff Volunteer Centre) tried this approach – listening to young people and what they want. The organisation operated a very successful project, offering advice and support to young people in Cardiff who were not in employment, education or training (NEETs), who thought that volunteering might help to improve their employability and general life skills. At the core of the project was asking each young person what they wanted to achieve, and then advising them on whether volunteering could help them to achieve it. It also involved considering which of the 500 local volunteering projects would be their most productive choice.
The project was funded by Welsh Government, and partnered locally by Cardiff Council’s Youth Service and Careers Wales. The message was spread to over 750 young people, of whom nearly 300 liked the idea of voluntary work, and 80 of whom VCS worked with on an intensive basis. The feedback from all concerned was very positive and the project won an award from Careers Wales.
And then, inevitably, it ran out of funding and stopped.
But a good idea never really dies. And in a time of severe difficulties for young people facing unemployment and all its consequences, VCS have been able to persuade The Big Lottery to fund the project again, starting in early spring 2012. This time, guaranteed for at least two years. More details will be available soon.