Volunteers in Children's Centres are worth a million!
Action for Children recently commissioned the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and the Office of Public Management (OPM) to explore the impact that volunteers in its children’s centres have on children and families, children’s centre staff and the local community. The researchers have found that volunteers make a huge difference, with a number of important outcomes for all concerned.
Key findings include:
- For parents and children: volunteers bring extra capacity and provide an informal reassuring presence for families using children’s centres. They act as role models to the local community, and contribute unique skills and experience as well as bringing practical support and providing a pastoral role to families.
- For children’s centres and staff: volunteers enhance the children’s centre environment, whether it is the result of supporting staff to work with more parents or in strengthening links with the local community.
- For the local community: volunteers increase use of and reach of children’s centres and provide positive role models for the community. They help to break down any stigma of using the children’s centre, widen participation and become a community resource by creating new relationships between people.
- For volunteers themselves: volunteering brings a range of benefits including an increase in confidence and feelings of self-worth, as well as a route to employment, education or training.
Furthermore, economic analysis shows that:
- The total value per year to Action for Children of volunteer involvement aggregated across all its children’s centres is over £1m.
The research concludes with key messages for all involved to maximise the benefits of volunteering.
My name is Francesca Trevisani a 25-year-old Italian student from the University of Urbino "Carlo BO". I have a Bachelor Degree in Psychology (2010) focused on "Intervento clinico" (I would translate it as "Clinical Intervention" to give you a better idea about my specific knowledge). Currently I am finishing the MA in Clinical Psychology.
I have already done a qualifying period at A.S.U.R. (Azienda Sanitaria Unica Regionale) before getting my Bachelor degree. My assignment consisted to helping a Psychologist assessing MMPI-2 tests results and confront myself with the psychologist about some issues concerned psychological troubles.
I would like get an opportunity to do a training volunteer period in mental health's departments, assotiations, private centre, private studio of psychoterapist, voluntary organizations or hospitals. It is important for me.
I would like to work with children, is important involve them in recreational activities as play, painting, drawing, reading… especially when they have had a difficult past so that the involvement could help them to open up and establish a basic trust. I would like to work with adults as well to understand dynamics of their life. Is important to have an empathic behaviour because it is all to start a good "alliance".
I love this sector and I would like to help people that have some troubles in their life.
My internship was productive and interesting because working with a psychologist I learnt many things, we discussed about troubles of her patients and together to understand their way of behaving considering their ways of living, culture and past experiences. Further more I learnt the Three’s Test and understand draws of children so my assignment consisted to interpret drawings of children and adults as well.
If you are available to offer me an internship through which I'll be able to "work" with children or adults I would be very interested.
I have received a mail by Volunteer Centre Kensington and Chelsea about Homework Club Support Worker at The Venture Community Association and I'm interested to find out more about it.
I'm looking Forward to hear from you.
Thank you for attention.
Thank you very much for your post, it is great to hear that you would like to help. We have already been in contact by email earlier this month, when I advised you that unfortunately we are not able to offer an internship but I gave you details about some of our volunteering opportunities that you might like to take a look at (for Action for Children, rather than the Venture Community Association - if you want to volunteer with that organisation you can find their contact details here: http://www.kcsc.org.uk/kcsc-directory/details?oid=1279&org=Venture+Community+Association). Please feel free to get in touch again if you would like to know more about Action for Children.
Claire Walsh, Volunteering Manager.