At Access to Business we have a strong volunteering community, who volunteer in a wide variety of roles from IT support through to assistants at the British Heart Foundation. As part of National Volunteering Week which ran from the 4th to the 7th of June, we highlighted a small selection of those who have volunteered (or currently volunteering with us.
Firstly meet Dalton, who following two strokes Dalton had mobility issues, prior to which he had led an extremely active life as a Support worker as well as playing an active role within his local church. Dalton came to Access to Business to develop his general IT skills and we introduced him to use specialist to help overcome some of his barriers. Dalton also attended numerous workshops following which he also started to volunteer with us often supporting fellow clients who were experiencing difficulties using a traditional keyboard.
Dalton is an inspiration and a role model to other clients. Following our nomination he was awarded national runner up ‘IT Volunteer of the Year’ in a Microsoft and BT Volunteering Award. He also received the Point of Light Award Volunteering award from the Prime Minister, David Cameron who had recognised Dalton`s commitment in supporting others. Dalton was also invited to the City of Wolverhampton Mayor`s parlour in acknowledgement of his great work within the Wolverhampton community.
Secondly we championed Derek, who was one of the first client’s to access the services of Access to Business in 2004. He was a self-employed electrician and unfortunately experienced an accident at work.
Derek was referred to us from West Park Hospital because he was interested in doing a computer course. He felt ready to make steps towards recovery and was keen to meet new people. We supported Derek with a computer course working with him closely enabling him to be able to increase his confidence and skills using a number of IT applications.
Access to Business are able to offer clients the opportunity to work as a volunteer on our reception area. This would give Derek the chance to build his confidence whilst working in a supported environment gaining up to date work experience and skills and also the opportunity to meet new people.
Ten years on Derek is still working with us and he feels that in supporting us he is giving something back to Access to Business.
Thirdly we met Charlotte, who was recommended by a friend to call in to Access to Business in February 2017. She had just finished an Apprenticeship at a local primary school where she was working as a Play Worker. The apprenticeship had run for a 12 month period and Charlotte felt that although she had learnt a lot from the placement she did not wish to pursue a career in this field.
We suggested to Charlotte that through our Wolves Community project we could support her into a suitable voluntary role. This would enable her to gain skills and confidence in a new field of work. Charlotte was keen to explore this option. We suggested that a placement at the British Heart Foundation may be suitable. We organised an interview with the manager and Charlotte was delighted when she was offered a place. She went on to work there 2 days a week. She undertook a wide range of administrative duties and thoroughly enjoyed the placement. She updated her CV with details of her new administration role at British Heart Foundation and started to apply for positions within an office environment. After only a week Charlotte was invited to attend an interview. She called in to Access to Business to brush up on her interview skills. We ran through some interview questions and conducted a mock interview. Charlotte said she felt confident to attend the interview. She attended the interview and was delighted when she was offered the position.
Charlotte said that through gaining her voluntary role supported by our Wolves Community Trust Program she was able to gain new skills and confidence in a new area. She is delighted with her new role and really appreciates the support offered by Access to Business.
Fourthly we met Ray, who joined in November 2015 when he was referred from our local jobcentre after being unemployed for approximately 6 years, Ray was originally on ESA benefits due to severe anxiety
When Ray attended his first appointment at Access to Business he was extremely nervous and found it very difficult to talk to his assigned advisor.
Ray personally contacted Access to Business the following morning to confirm that he was interested in our support.
Within a week Ray decided to start volunteering here at Access to Business supporting some of our unemployed clients with basic IT skills. This involved helping them with setting up an email account, how to use the internet safely, filling in online applications and how to send emails with attachments.
Over the last 18 months Ray has really made a positive contribution to the delivery of our IT workshops and the comments / feedback from some of the learners regarding Ray`s support has been brilliant. Ray has also proved to be a real strong role model for other volunteers to follow and has assisted in the development within their roles too. Ray is reliable, helpful and a real team player who demonstrates a real can do attitude in everything he does and really builds a good rapport with the learners putting them at ease so the learners enjoy their time learning.
Finally we met Lorely, who first accessed our services in February 2015. She had worked as a Medical Secretary for the past 10 years in a hospital environment. Unfortunately past experiences with various roles had led to her losing her confidence and she now wished to pursue a career in a totally different role.
She was referred to us through her advisor at the local JCP. Following an initial appointment we discussed with her the options that were available.
She agreed to attend our 4 week Steer programme which involved 15 sessions within a group environment discussing employment opportunities, CV writing, Interview Techniques, Application Form writing, Confidence Building, Career Direction, Presentation skills and How to set up a Fictional Business. The main aims and objectives of the programme were to motivate clients to make goals in their lives.
Following completion of this course we offered Lorely the opportunity to undertake some voluntary work with us. We felt that this would enable her to update her knowledge, skills and confidence in a supported working environment.
Lorely continues to volunteer with us and has become an active member our volunteer group.
She has also participated in the organising and planning of a very successful Christmas party hosted for our volunteers and clients and has become involved in supporting clients in the centre 1-1 with job applications and IT support.
If you want to possibly become a volunteer with Access to Business, give us a call on 01902 572 397 and speak to Sue who will be more than happy to help