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

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Success in the VPA office

Now we all knew what a fantastic opportunity being a VPA with Groundwork would be when we applied, or we wouldn’t be here! But recently, the experience that being a VPA has provided some of us with is definitely paying off. I, Laura, am very excited to say that I have been offered a paid internship with an environmental company in the pretty darn swish MediaCity in Salford and it is safe to say I wouldn’t have even stood a chance without the support from Jo and Andy and the experiences they have provided me with. A very detailed placement plan was set out for me when I joined Groundwork based on what I wanted to gain from my time here. I have gained valuable experience in a fantastic environment which I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do elsewhere and I am very thankful for that.

 

Emily, on the other hand, is through to the next stage of an application for a very exciting job opportunity, so best of luck to her too!

I want to use this post to reiterate that the Groundwork VPA programme is a brilliant opportunity and I would definitely recommend it to any graduate needing to gain that vital experience they need to get in to their desired field of work. It is a brilliant company to work for, full of supportive and friendly people and amazing opportunities!

 

I may have to bake a cake to celebrate….

Visit our website to find out how to apply or some more general information http://www.groundwork.org.uk/Sites/bbor/Website/vpa-programme 🙂

Pancake Day!!

Although it is only Dewi and I in the office today, it is not stopping us from using Pancake day as an excuse to eat some form of cakey treat, even if it may be flat and round and not cake like at all. We’ve gone for the old time favourite topping of lemon and sugar, and we may have also bought a jar of chocolate spread. Gotta have a bit of choice, dontcha?! Image

 

What’s your favourite pancake topping?

 

Laura x

Beyonce and The Princes Trust create a once in a lifetime opportunity!

I will actually be a steward at Beyoncé’s next two gigs in Manchester, however, if you are lucky enough to be actually going to watch the queen, please take a look at this. In my job here at Groundwork I have some involvement with The Prince’s Trust as we are a delivery partner of the programme. I have worked with young people who are currently on the programme through Groundwork and previous to this job and I can honestly say that the programmes delivered by The Prince’s Trust do change peoples lives. You can donate £3 or donate an item of clothing at designated donation areas within any arenas in the UK where Beyoncé is playing. In return you will get a #BeyGood sticker, and Beyoncé’s team will be wandering around the arena randomly selecting those with #BeyGood stickers to sit in VIP seating. The money goes to The Prince’s Trust which, as I said, is a brilliant organisation, and VIP seats for £3 is a brilliant opportunity.

If aren’t going to the concerts, but are interested in finding out more or donating, take a look at the website here 🙂

Laura

xx

A week in VPA land

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Ending a week with cake is the VPA way, especially when it’s been a busy one!

This week has been a hectic one for all of us to say the least. Mike and I have started to research and prepare for the revision of The Princes Trust Team marketing materials and have been out and about in doing so. David and Dewi have been speaking to residents in Prestwich and Ramsbottom about effective energy saving techniques. Nathaniel has been busy on his new digital inclusion project, and Emily has been practising her bid writing skills and has successfully written a bid to improve access to the Pennine Bridleway in Littleborough.

Unfortunately for us (Not for Edward), we had to say goodbye to Edward on Thursday as luckily for him he found the perfect job – in the Isle of Wight. This Thursday is also our last day with VPA Coordinator Gemma which will be a sad goodbye, but from all the VPA’s, we wish you the best of luck in your new job!

So as you can see, we definitely needed not just one, but two cupcakes to scoff today to bring a very yummy end to a very stressful week!

Hope you have all had a fantastic week and have a lovely weekend!

Laura X

Smithills Farm

This is basically just going to be a post of cool pictures of the VPA team with some animals. We went on a trip to Smithalls Farm in Bolton on Thursday and due to the fact that we had such a fantastic day, I just had to blog about it. Yes, we are all 21 and above. Yes, the farm was full of kids and their parents. Did it stop us being over excited and absolutely loving our day? No. Did it heck.

The staff were all absolutely lovely and really informative. We fed animals (including the cutest little lambs), held animals (Me, Mike and Edward held a Python – which I was fine with, until I was told it could crush me) and stroked some of the little furry friends. We even got a tractor ride!!

I’d recommend that people of ALL ages go and have a look round. They have a nice little cafe on site for a spot of lunch and as it is set within 70 acres of countryside, there is plenty of opportunity to make a day of it and go for a nice walk once you’ve seen all there is to see! And the best bit – it’s cheap as chips!

With it being half term this week (where I am, anyway), It’s definitely a winner for a family day out! Wrap up warm, though. And you might want to book in advance!

Check ’em out here 🙂

Photography by Mike Warren – Check out his flickr here for more photos of this day and lots of others too

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Andy taught us about photography!

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Although we already have an expert in our team – as you can see from the wonderful pictures in the other blog posts – our marketing manager Andy thought it’d be helpful to teach us a bit about photography so we can take some good snaps! We all started to get the hang of it in the end and found out things about our cameras that we never even knew! We also had a laugh when we had our first go at attempting to edit our images!

Cheers Andy, it was a great day and we all definitely benefited from it. However, I don’t think my family and friends appreciate the fact that I now think I’m a professional photographer!

Food for thought!!

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Weekly cooking workshops took place at The Oldham Academy North in Royton. Local residents had the opportunity to come down and meet new people, learn new skills and even get their personal recipes published in the Great Oldham Cookbook – a collection of recipes from the Oldham community.

Mike went down with his camera on Thursday the 23rd of Jan which was the last workshop. He got some great images of the range of different people who attended showing off their new skills!

I don’t know about you, but those cookies look good to me!ImageImageImage

Meet our Princes Trust duo!

A slightly delayed, albeit, definitely worth waiting for, introduction to our Princes Trust VPA’s! Image

First up is Edward Brown. Edward read Ecology at the University of Essex and has postponed his PGCE to gain more work experience. Edward chose to come to Groundwork because he admires the work we do with both the Environment and Communities. He also wanted to gain some valuable work experience and thought the VPA programme was a good opportunity to work with young people and help them to further their development.

Edward has not specified his favourite cake, maybe he forgot to write it down when his mind went into cake overdrive, but never fear – I will be finding out his fave spongey treat when he returns to the office!

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Meet Nathaniel Clegg! Nathaniel gained a 2:1 in Popular Music with Honours from Manchester Metropolitan University. He chose the VPA scheme as he had previously volunteered with Groundwork on the practical countryside skills course and he just couldn’t tear himself away! No – not really, his team leader, Matt, recommended he apply for the VPA scheme! Cheers Matt :). Nathaniel hopes to gain work experience from the programme to increase his employability and improve his CV. He also wants to gain Project Management experience and keep himself busy!

Now – because Nathaniel has simply put ‘Cheese’ at the end of his bio, I can only assume that he means cheesecake to fit in with the cake theme, however, cheese in general is pretty darn good too, so who knows!