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A new initiative takes volunteering to a new level

Blog posted by: , 30 May 2022 – Categories: SkillsSocio-economicUncategorized.

The Programme and Project Partners at Sellafield uses the Social Value Model throughout all of their activity, meaning that anyone working on the partnership, including key delivery partners and supply chain has committed to delivering the maximum positive social impact for our local communities in West Cumbria and Warrington.

One of the 5 social impact themes in the partnership is volunteering. The Programme and Project Partners Timebank Scheme makes it simple for anyone who works for an organisation that’s part of this framework to commit to volunteer opportunities, via the West Cumbria Exchange, that provide real impact for the communities we operate in.

This means they provide something beneficial that’s sustainable and long-term through the voluntary work that takes place.

Head of social impact for the Programme and Project Partners, Luke Richardson says:

The partnership is 3 years old and so far, thanks to those who’ve taken part in the Timebank scheme we’ve racked up 2,800 hours banked with 28% of that time invested to support community projects. The year ahead should see a further 3,000 to 3,500 hours.

This week is a great opportunity to say thank you so much to those who have done and are doing the work to support the community in West Cumbria and Warrington, and show others how beneficial it can be.

Programme and Project Partners Timebank – Hospice at Home and Cavendish Nuclear

The Timebank scheme used Cumbria Exchange to connect a bid writer from supply chain partner, Cavendish Nuclear, with 2 charities in need of those expertise – one of those was Hospice at Home West Cumbria.

Thanks to the work they carried out together, Hospice at Home went on to secure a grant for £85,000 using the new skills they acquired.

Sustainable volunteering such as this provides prolonged and meaningful improvement for other people and organisations by upskilling them and sharing knowledge that will ensure ongoing dividends.

Julie Monk, CEO of Hospice at Home West Cumbria, said:

Julie Monk, Hospice at Home West Cumbria

We are very grateful for the support we recently received from Cavendish Nuclear who helped with a funding bid we were making to the Bedrock Awards for a new ‘Support at Home’ care service.

They worked closely with us, producing complex modelling costs and projections, as well as help with our business case, which enabled us to be successful in securing a fabulous grant of £85,000.

As a charity with finite resources, we rely heavily on the enormous contribution that volunteers make.

Many people don’t realise the wide range of volunteering opportunities we have across our organisation and the ways in which they can get involved with Hospice at Home West Cumbria – from one-off projects to more regular volunteering, either in a personal capacity or through their company.

I would encourage anyone – or company – to make contact and see how they can support our vital work and make a difference to local people when they need it most.

Programme and Project Partners Timebank – Citizens Advice Bureau Copeland

Citizen Advice Bureau Copeland is an independent charity that relies heavily on funding, grants, and volunteer time to be able to maintain the delivery of its free and independent advice service.

An opportunity arose to apply for National Lottery funding and Citizens Advice Bureau wanted to apply to fund their financial inclusion service – a service to help build resilience in the local community.

This was made possible by the voluntary work offered by Andrew Hopkins from Cavendish Nuclear, who worked closely with bureau to audit the bid applications and in turn help them secure National Lottery funding of more than £160,000.

Shelly Hewitson, chief officer at Citizens Advice Bureau Copeland said:

I was presuming that because we were a charity the funder knew certain things when I shouldn't have! I focussed on the impact a successful application would have on our clients without explaining what it would mean for us as a charity, our staff and volunteers…Your help [Andrew’s voluntary work] really made a difference and I think is what got us to the 2nd stage”

Shelly Hewitson, Citizens Advice Bureau

Shelley’s team are approached by the community with concerns spanning from debt, housing, mental health, relationships etc.

The National Lottery funding has not only aided Citizens Advice in continuing to help the community with vital advice during the cost-of-living crisis, but the volunteering from Cavendish has given Shelley the confidence to apply for further funding and grants.

Programme and Project Partners Timebank - Our people volunteering in schools 

The Elements Work Awareness Programme teams up with the Centre for Leadership Performance and Sellafield Ltd in a week-long interactive programme that supports Year 10 students across West Cumbria, developing their leadership, teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.

Through the Timebanking scheme, volunteers Jenefer Alam, Benefits Lead and Philip Greyling, Head of P3M from our team, were matched with schools across West Cumbria and were tasked with guiding the students through project management, marketing, and communications.

The sessions they led offered expert guidance for the students to help tackle a particular challenge - designing a system for workplaces (offices/factories) that:

  • Generates renewable electricity
  • Stores the energy for when needed
  • Delivers power to cars through some form of the charge point

Other topics they covered included: Mechanical and electrical engineering, solution development, product development and sales.

Schools that took part included: Energy Coast UTC, Nether hall school, Beacon Hill community school, Solway community school, Workington Academy, St Benedict's Catholic Highschool and Westlake's Academy.

Student feedback:

I enjoyed learning new things and working with new people, and I feel like I better understand where I want to be. It has helped me gain skills I thought were impossible to achieve.

Setting goals and looking at how we make sure young people participating in the programme can develop their leadership, teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.

This ultimately helps them build a career pathway of their choosing. Having professionals with advanced knowledge volunteer their time highlights any opportunities they may not have been aware of, getting them to think about the bigger picture.

Phillip Greyling, head of P3M, for the Programme and Project Partners

The programme gives young people a flavour of the work environment, helping to identify key skills that will help them flourish in their future roles, some of which they will already have.

Jenefer Alam, benefits lead for the Programme and Project Partners

 I've always taken part in mentoring throughout my career. For me, it's about giving young people a flavour of what is out there for them to develop a pathway of their choosing.

Bill Leslie-Miller is contracted as a Recruitment Manager at Doosan Babcock for the partnership. Bill volunteers his time mainly to primary schools, providing sessions that build the children's communication, teamwork, and critical thinking skills to benefit them when they join the world of work.

Bill has been a STEM Ambassador since 2015, working closely with the Centre for Leadership Performance and previously working with Prince’s Trust to build relationships with schools and facilitate his workshops.

In Bill's sessions, called the Fun Job Workshop, he uses the student's imaginations by asking questions like 'what is your dream job?' and 'what are the 10 most dangerous jobs in the world?' All with the set goal of getting the children to think about where they want to be when they grow up.

My overall objective is to get young people on the right path. You spend 30 to 50 years working, so if you do well at school, work hard and work on your skills, you will have so many options when choosing a career.

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