It’s the end of VPA as we know it…

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Our fantastic team of graduate volunteers have now finished their placements so I’m taking this opportunity to say a massive thank you so much for all the hard work you put into your projects here at Groundwork!

Also an update on the Volunteer Project Assistant Programme – as you may know the programme was funded through Hopwood Hall College via the ASDAN Community Volunteering Level 3 qualification. This funding is no longer available so the programme as we know it will no longer be running. We are looking for further funding and still hoping to offer some graduate volunteer placements within the Trust. I want to thank all the VPA’s who I have had the pleasure of working with and have dedicated their time and effort to supporting the work of Groundwork over the past few years. It has been great to meet so many passionate and motivated graduate volunteers and see them gain valuable experience on the VPA programme. Very best wishes for the future!

I will now be moving on to deliver the Jubilee Archaeology project ‘Preserving the Past’ at Groundwork. There are a number of exciting volunteer opportunities available on this project – ideal for recent graduates, adults and young people alike. You can read more about this project over on the Jubilee blog.

For now thank you to all our readers and everyone who has supported the VPA programme over the past few years!

Jo

VPA final team trip!

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For the last day of the VPA Programme our volunteers chose to go to Platt Fields Park Fun Fair for their celebration day! We arrived at the park in time for an ice cream and a leisurely game of Kubb before heading over to the fair go on lots of rides.

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We finished the day with a delicious curry in Rusholme. It’s been another fantastic team of Graduate volunteers and we look forward to hearing from you all soon to let us know what you are doing next!

Jo

New team 2014

Hi I’m Mike Warren and I’m currently on the VPA team as the Media and Communications Project Assistant.

During the first week we were introduced to each other through teambuilding workshops involving many Ice breaker games and activities. We were later given workshops on Business Development, Health and Safety, Equal Opportunities, Bid Writing/Fundraising, Finance, I.T, and Safeguarding.

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The wobbly stick game – blurry action shot!

Everybody is extremely friendly / welcoming and the overall atmosphere of our time here so far has been outstanding!

New VPA Placements in 2014

Kick start your career in 2014! If you’re an unemployed graduate aged 19-23 and keen to break the cycle of no experience=no work=no experience, join the VPA programme to gain valuable experience to add to your CV. As a Volunteer Project Assistant (VPA) you will gain real project management experience to help you secure employment in your chosen profession. Not only that, you will gain training, network with fellow graduates and work on projects that will benefit communities in Greater Manchester.

 

Practical Countryside Skills Project Assistant – Your role will be to support both the team leaders as well as the team members in the running, guidance and teaching of the Level 1 Certificate in Practical Countryside Skills course. During the placement you will take part in practical tasks on various nature sites around Oldham and Rochdale.

Business Services Project Assistant – Working on the Big Energy Saving Network project you will encourage, teach and engage a number of people through community outreach sessions. Topics will include assisting residents with learning how to read their energy bills and looking at ways of changing their tariff. You will also contribute feedback to the Department of Energy and Climate Change on how the process and project is going. The placement will also involve delivering face to face energy efficiency advice to residents.

Media and Communications Project Assistant – You will assist the Marketing and Communications Manager in promoting Groundwork’s volunteering programmes along with the other projects that the Trust is involved with. You will also co-ordinate the VPA blog and social media pages to encourage potential future volunteers to get involved in the scheme.

Prince’s Trust Project Assistant – Working with a range of Prince’s Trust teams you will support both the team leaders and team members involved with the 12 week personal development programme. The placement will involve supporting learners to complete the qualification as well as acting as a positive and inspirational role model. You will also take part in supporting the team leader to plan and assist with the running of the 12 week programme, planning community based projects, work placement weeks and recruiting members onto the teams.

Bulky Bob’s Project Assistant – Bulky Bob’s is a social enterprise who sells un-wanted furniture to people in need at a very low cost. Your role will be to help Bulky Bob’s with supporting customers, retail sales, marketing through social media, arranging deliveries and working with crisis referral customers.

Community Action Team Project Assistant – You will assist with the recruitment and delivery of a Digital Inclusion project, supporting the delivery of the Level 1 Community Volunteering Qualification and aiding learners with developing their IT and computer skills. The project will also include the delivery and planning of a number of digital inclusion events.

Oldham Boxing Project Assistant –  Roles at Oldham Boxing Club will include assisting with the personal development accredited course that is based at the centre as well as working towards the development of a café for both users of the gym and walk-in customers.

Bid Writing Project Assistant – You will work alongside the bid writing Business Development Manager and assist with the development and writing of funding bids and applications.

Employability / Classroom assistant Project Assistant – Your role will involve working with and assisting learners with accredited learning sessions specifically focusing around employability. You will also be encouraged to develop innovative, fun and interactive resources for the programme.

The VPA programme runs for 12 weeks, 5 days a week and is usually full-time. The next VPA placements start on Monday 20th January 2014 and the deadline for applications is Friday 10th January 2014.

 

To apply please download the VPA Application Form – Jan14, complete the form and return it to VPA Programme, Groundwork, Environment Centre, Shaw Road, Higginshaw, Oldham, OL1 4AW or email to: joanna.fullman@groundwork.org.uk

Volunteers having fun

New VPA team

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Welcome to the new team!

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Playing the Magic levitating stick game!

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A workshop creating their ‘ideal team members’

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Week one involved lots of teambuilding games

The team have completed an Induction week including workshops on teambuilding, safeguarding, equal opportunities, bid writing skills and Health and Safety to name a few. You can read more about the team and their goals in the Current VPA tab 🙂

Recruiting for our September VPA team!

We have had some changes to the funding we receive for our VPA Programme which means we will now only be recruiting 19 – 23 year olds. The projects we have to offer in the next team are detailed below – as ever if you would like to have a chat about them please call Jo or Gemma on 01616 241 444!

Administration at Bulky Bob’s – Bulky Bob’s are an award-winning business who aim to re-use, recycle and refurbish at least 25% by tonnage of the items they collect. Thousands of items of furniture picked up by Bulky Bob’s crews are made available to families on low-income. You will support and greet customers, provide retail sales, marketing through social media, attend events and develop other sustainable reuse and recycling activities.

Education & Communities Project Assistant – Q Gardens (Community Action Team) – You will help to lead a team of adults working on an inspiring outdoor growing project in Kirkholt, Rochdale. As part of your placement you will gain experience in community engagement, volunteer coordination, recruiting volunteers and the induction process. The main focus will be leading volunteers in a variety of workshops alongside the team leader to gain experience on a community run growing project, running community engagement events and workshops focusing on healthy eating, food growing and plot maintenance. You will also assist with the running and planning of workshops to support setting up of similar gardens in other areas of Rochdale and assist tenants to create site management plans.

Oldham Council Project Assistant – You will be placed in areas of the Council to support the Community Development workers in two different areas of Oldham. You will work alongside the Community Development staff to deliver a number of projects including work around anti-social behaviour, promoting adult learning and community engagement. The Council placements may lead to further voluntary shadowing within the Council dependent on the experience you gain.

Oldham Evening Chronicle Project Assistant (All That Magazine) – You will co-ordinate and manage the development of a magazine written for and by young people from Oldham. Working with young people through focus groups, you will discover what they want to read about and deliver workshops to encourage them to write-up articles for the forthcoming edition. There will be opportunities for you write articles for both All That magazine and the Oldham Evening Chronicle, gaining valuable experience of print media, work with young people, schools and colleges, and social media.

Prince’s Trust Assistant Team Leader – The Prince’s Trust Team programme is a 13 week personal development programme for 16 – 25 year olds. You will work with the Prince’s Trust Manager and Senior Team leader to gain a wide range of experience of youth work. The role will involve attending a week-long residential with a Prince’s Trust Team, assisting the young people to organise fundraisers and community projects, and providing a range of learning support and tuition.

If you would like to apply please email joanna.fullman@groundwork.org.uk for an application pack

Bulky Bobs Oldham VPA Placement

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Hello, Jo here, one of the VPA team leaders. I’ve had a nice afternoon visiting Aissata on her Volunteer Project Assistant placement at Bulky Bobs in Oldham. Bulky Bobs are an award winning business who re-use, recycle and refurbish old furniture to divert it from landfill. They collect unwanted household goods on behalf of the council and this furniture is then made available to families or individuals on low income.
Throughout the VPA’s placements I meet with all the team members individually to ensure they are working towards their goals and gaining valuable experience on the team.
Aissata’s responsibilities as a volunteer are to greet customers and show them around the warehouse so they can choose new furniture, to process the enquiries from people wanting their old items collected, to keep the database up to date and to keep an accurate record of what is currently in stock. Aissata has also been given responsibility for contacting new customers over the phone.
Aissata has been really enjoying the placement and is clearly a valued member of the team. Thanks to Bulky Bobs Oldham for providing an excellent placement! If you would like to find out more about Bulky Bobs please click here for a link to the website.
Jo

External VPA Placements Update

New VPA team
Alongside our Volunteer Project Assistants based at Groundwork we also run an external volunteer programme in partnership with Oldham Council, Oldham Evening Chronicle and Bulky Bobs to provide a wider range of placement options for adults and graduates. Here is the latest update from the new team!

After our initial settling in period of the first week, we external VPA’s for Groundwork were finally getting into the swing of things. For starters, Spencer Garlick, a VPA member who is working to improve his skills in construction, was helping on a building site in Langley, Rochdale, to improve the houses in the area as part of a local government project. Spencer really enjoyed his week however, the project was hampered by some delays in getting vital construction equipment to the site to enable the project to be finished on time. Despite this, the workers, including Spencer, toiled on to help make up some lost time before Manchester Radio came to interview some of the workers about the project. Although Spencer himself didn’t get interviewed, some of his colleagues did which he enjoyed watching whilst he carried on plastering!
Our second VPA, Ndanji, was back in her placement for the council working in housing and local area projects. This week she was involved in handing out leaflets within the local area to promote how to manage your money for an upcoming event. She also undertook meetings to discuss local neighbourhood improvements as well as dealing with neighbourhood complaints.
Our third VPA, Katy, had a shorter week at her placement at the Oldham Chronicle this week due to having a few days off to attend her university graduation, however, she still had an interesting week. She was sent on a reporting errand at Mahdlo Youth Zone in Oldham as part of her work for the All That youth magazine she is project managing along with her colleague Laura. The task was to report on a session young people were running, where issues young people discovered when trying to get a job were discussed and tips were given. She interviewed several people including young people from the borough, staff at Mahdlo and Oldham’s resident Youth Mayor. She had never undertaken a reporting task before but she felt the experience was a very useful addition to her skill set.
Sadly, two of our VPA’s, Jackie and Laura were ill this week but we look forward to hearing about their experiences at our next meeting.

A final thanks from this blog must also go out to Gemma and Jo for taking us out on Monday for our team building day to the Naked Bean café for some lunch, as well as to Alexandra park for some hot weather orienteering and a well-deserved ice cream.

Naked bean cafe Oldham

Alexandra Park Oldham

Orienteering

Until next week,

Groundwork’s external VPA team!

VPA Residential June 2013

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Five of us from the VPA team had a 2 night residential in the Peak District National Park. We stayed at Brunts Barn in Grindleford, Derbyshire. We undertook conservation work for 2 days with the Peak Park Rangers.

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Activities included: Installing a drainage pipe to prevent flooding on a footpath and helping to improove a steep footpath to ensure it was safe and even for people to use. The team cooked dinner for each other and Gareth even baked a Mary Berry recipe Victoria Sponge!
We played lots of games and had a great few days together.

Ashley, Bezel, Gareth, Hannah and Melissa.