When Ian was referred to the Supported Volunteering Project at Barnsley CVS, he was doing a little bit of volunteering, but wanted to do more. A couple of organisations had been unable to offer him an opportunity and he didn’t know where to start.
Ian felt isolated, wanted to meet new people and contribute to an organisation in a way that made a positive difference. Ian has a learning disability and though very chatty, was also quite low in confidence.
Ian had experience of working in a couple of charity shops in the past and felt he would like to volunteer in another shop. We explored some options and the best option for him seemed to be the British Heart Foundation charity shop.
The staff were very welcoming and signed him up as a volunteer doing collections outside the shop.
Every week, Ian rings or emails to let us know how much money he had raised that week and also to say how much he enjoys volunteering with the staff there and how lovely they are. He feels part of the ‘family’.
The task he is doing is appropriate for him and something that he had not done before. It gives him the opportunity to chat with people as they come past and it fits with his values of helping those with heart problems. A few people chat with him about their own experience of heart disease and how grateful they are for charities like the British Heart Foundation and this encourages Ian to see he is really making a difference in collecting for the charity.
We have allocated a mentor to Ian, as he needs someone to chat with about what he was doing and potentially help him access further opportunities as needed. The mentor meets him for coffee regularly and this supports Ian really well.
The friendliness of the environment, the task itself and the Mentor’s support have all helped to increase Ian’s confidence and self-esteem.
Due to an increase in confidence, Ian has managed to access other opportunities that he would not have been able to do before. He has set out to lose weight at Weight Watchers, accessed a Healthy Cooking course with Food Hygiene training at H.O.P.E in Community, a local community group. He has also done a sponsored walk for Barnsley Hospice and raised £60.
And in the words of the Ian….
"I have done three months volunteering by this week. I love the job very much. It is the best job I have ever had in my life. I love working with Emma and all the people who are there"