Case studies

Nadege

Nadege and Dan are both Youth Action Team Members with the vinvolved Derby city team. Below they talk about their experiences of volunteering with the Youth Action Team in Derby.

Nadege Ware - 18 - YAT Member

• What inspired you to take part in this volunteering activity?

Well I started volunteering because a friend of mine was doing some volunteering and suggested that I get involved and as I had some free time on my hands I decided to go for it. I visited the volunteer centre to get more information and I decided the YAT would be something I would be interested in.

I've been involved in various volunteering opportunities the most recent being the interview panel, the film and the cleaning up of a garden in a local primary school.


• What did you enjoy about this volunteering activity?

There were different enjoyable aspects of the different activities, for example participating in the interview panel was an enjoyable experience as I had previously participated in a pupil panel for my school and enjoyed that a lot, the overall position of interviewing people is one which I enjoyed a lot.

Making the film was enjoyable because as it is not something you get to do everyday, the whole experience involved various filming days at different locations with different people which was another thing I enjoyed; the opportunity to meet and interact with different people was very enjoyable. The opportunity to actually use the filming equipment was really exciting and another great thing about this opportunity. Another great thing about the whole filming project was that we got to be involved from start to finish with picking locations editing, everything and in the end we got to see the outcome of what we worked so hard on and it was great!


Has it helped you improve your job prospects and if so, how?

Yes I think volunteering has definitely helped me improve my job prospects, I've gained so many different experiences and improved different skills that are crucial to success in many different jobs. Skills such as communication and teamwork have all been developed through volunteering. My volunteering experiences now form part of my CV which recently helped me obtain a new job. The employers were pleased with my volunteering involvement and I believe it was one of the reasons I got the job.


How has this project helped you develop personally and in ways that might help you at work?

Again my communication and teamwork skills have been developed enabling me to work effectively within a team, which is an important skill in many jobs. As well as enabling me to communicate successfully with different types of people.


THE PROJECT

What sort of things did you get up to on the project?

Well with the filming as mentioned previously we got involved in the whole process from the choosing who was going to film the film, actually taking part in the filming and the editing.

The volunteering day at the primary school cleaning up the garden involved; clearing leaves from the pond and the surrounding area, cutting large branches off the tree and generally tidying up the garden area.

With interview panel I was involved in the discussion of the questions which were going to be asked in the interview as well the actual interview itself.


• Was the project everything you expected?

It was more then I expected, I thought we would have just been involved in the filming part in the sense that we would be the ones being filmed but we actually got to use the equipment and be involved in other stages of the whole project, which was really good.

This is similar with the interview panel; I was given the opportunity to give my input on the questions which were going to be asked during the interview which was not something I expected. I thought I would just be involved in the interviewing but the fact I got to be involved with choice of questions was an unexpected surprise.


• Will you continue to be involved? Why?

Yes definitely, I get a lot out of it and I really enjoy the different things we get involved in.


THE LOCAL COMMUNITY

• What impact do you think this project has had on your local community?

Definitely a big impact for example with the clearing up at the school, that benefited the school and children a lot as it meant they had somewhere nice to play. Another similar opportunity which I have been involved in is painting a disabled couple's living room, they were extremely grateful for what we did and I believe they benefited a lot from the few hours work we did.


What feedback have you had from your local community?

Well for example at the school the teachers all thanked us at the end of the day, for all the work we did. Thom and Simon also receive a lot of thank yous from the people we help out, whether that be organisations or general individuals.

______________________________________________________

Daniel Scott - 22 - YAT Member.

I began volunteering with the Derby Youth Action Team (YAT) in the summer of 2008 after I'd finished University. A friend got me involved and it was good to be actively doing something whilst looking for employment. It was also a positive way of making new friends and meeting new people. I also saw it as an opportunity to improve my skills and make links with potential employers in Derby.

The main enjoyment from this project comes from the people that are involved with it. Both Thom and Simon are very knowledgeable and extremely helpful. The rest of the YAT are also very friendly and sociable, which has made my time volunteering with them even more enjoyable. The opportunity to go and do different things as one off events also makes it a good role to be involved in, as it helps improve skills and understanding of many different areas. The social events which take place are always good fun too, and I think Thom, Simon and the other YAT members do an excellent job in making volunteering more fun within this opportunity.

Whilst I do not believe that the volunteering I did greatly improved my job prospects, it did help me to find volunteering opportunities which would help me. From being involved with the Derby YAT, I found out about vtalent year (a near ideal opportunity for myself), and also CSV, who I currently volunteer for full time, which I am hoping will lead to further education and then job prospects. Without the input of Thom and Simon, I would probably not be in the strong position for my future career which I feel I am now. They helped direct me towards volunteering opportunities which would suit my career needs. Their experience has been invaluable to my continuing development.

The project has helped me to become a more confident person and has made me more sociable with people who I haven't previously been, by increasing my contact with these groups. It has also given me the opportunity to interact with people who are both older and younger than me. Interaction with such a wide range of people will be useful in my future career as a Social Worker. It has helped me to understand the interaction of charities and organizations which I believe will be critical to me in the future.

During the project I completed many different roles and activities; this was one of the best things about the volunteering opportunity. I completed funding bids, spoke to organisations about the barriers for young volunteers, attended one off events, created and maintained media sources (website, DVD and newsletter) as well as attending meetings to focus the attention and direction of the YAT. I thoroughly enjoyed the variety of roles which were available to me; this was one of the most important things for me during the volunteering. The project is also highly flexible, with some people volunteering two or three times a week, and others only once month, yet neither is a problem for the staff running the project.

At the beginning of my volunteering, I was unsure what to expect from the role, and thought it could potentially be quite dull/boring. However, in the last 12 months of volunteering with the YAT it has been considerable more than I ever could have imagined. I think this is partly down to the YAT being a new idea when I first began, and the focus and direction was unsure. It was difficult to become involved at such an early stage, but it has also been interesting and rewarding to see the vast development in the work of the YAT. As previously stated, the opportunity has been fantastic, and is one I would recommend to anybody. I would suggest that it has far exceeded any expectation I could have had of it; again, this is down to some of the brilliant people who work with the Derby YAT.

Despite moving away from the area I would like to maintain some involvement in the YAT. I have already been back for an event in the six weeks that I have moved away! As I have only moved away temporarily I also want to maintain my involvement, and would like to continue to be involved until I turn 25/26, and become too old!

I think the project has had a positive impact upon the community. I am unsure as to figures, but I believe that through the work of the YAT, more young people will be volunteering in Derby than ever before. The YAT promotes volunteering, and just by being involved you are doing this, so it is easy to pass on the information, and explain the benefits of volunteering. It is also a chance to learn from others, and their experiences. For example, I wish I had done volunteering earlier on in life, as I struggled to get a job related to the area I studied; a lot of this is due to a lack of practical experience. As I tell other YAT members this, they will then tell friends, who can hopefully learn from my mistakes and become involved at an earlier age. I think this form of 'social networking' is fundamental to the role of the YAT, and is one of the best things about the opportunity. Being able to draw upon the experiences of others and trying to learn from their mistakes is invaluable for the young people involved. The good which the YAT does for the community directly is also noticeable. Something as simple as a day litter-picking, gardening or painting makes a huge difference to some people, and may help to change the opinions of Derby's Youth.

Whenever the YAT has been to do some volunteering within the community, we are always thanked for the work we have done, and it is easy to tell how much it means to the people. The response which you get from people makes the volunteering opportunity what it is. It is always very rewarding to feel that you have helped somebody, even if you have only contributed several hours of your day.

The Youth Action Team at Derby has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience. It has provided me with a large amount of life skills and a vast array of knowledge. The skills and experience I have gained are all useful for my career path, and I am hoping to continue my involvement within the role whilst studying for my Masters. I would recommend any young people in Derby to get involved with the role, as it can lead to further, and more exciting volunteering opportunities. I would like to see the Youth Action Team continue to develop and further their success within Derby.

______________________________________________________