Life as a Volunteer Project Assistant: Dan S

My standard week as a VPA starts at 10am on Monday, this usually involves some form of work with the Business Services department. Recently I have been assisting with an Energy Efficiency & Sustainability project in Smallbridge, this usually involves client engagement through door knocking, and follow up surveys. This is a great project designed to educate residents and tenants empowering them to save energy, we have also installed free small energy efficiency measures into properties including radiator foils, eco light bulbs and draft excluders.

Later in the week I can be found working on the National Access Project (NAP), this involves mapping our local waterways including access points (linked pathways), obstacles (surface type, equipment, steps) and facilities (canal side pubs, car parks). I’ve been responsible for training and managing volunteers, managing the budget and creating an action plan to track progress. The project has been great and I have definitely enhanced my employability as I have gained a long list of transferable skills. I’ve also been able to undertake some mapping myself; good exercise, nice scenery (if the weather’s good) and a hearty volunteer lunch.

Friday sees me outside learning practical skills at Irkside Nature Reserve, that’s right I am a fully capable hedgerow constructor. In-between I can be found completing folder work for the ‘Practical Countryside Skills’ and ‘Community Volunteering level 3’ qualifications, eating large quantities of food and operating the offices radio playlist. Thanks Groundwork Oldham & Rochdale you rock!

Dan Shoesmith VPA April 2013