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

Residential !

Last week I had the opportunity to join Team 115 of The Princes Trust Team programme on their residential. I managed to get a tonne of good photos and video, including a 4 day video diary I will upload asap !
I had such a good week, I helped take part in activities like Hiking, Rock Climbing, Caving, Traversing and Abseiling.

– MikeIMG_3490

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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!

VPA cake day!

From Monday – Wednesday our VPA’s are busy working on their  individual projects but every Thursday we get together to have a team meeting. This is a chance to catch up, hear about each others projects and have cake 🙂 each week a member of the team takes it in turn to chair the team meeting – setting the agenda and they also bring in cake to share with the team! We’ve had some fantastic bakes and this week was no exception!

Rachel Wrigley has very kindly shared her delicious lemon drizzle cake recipe:-

Ingredients:

75g Butter

120g Caster sugar

2 eggs

2 tbsps lemon curd

Lemon zest

grated ginger

150g Self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp milk

Whizz the ingredients together and bake at 180 degrees C for 45 mins. When the cake is still warm pour the topping mix and leave to cool!

Topping ingredients:

lemon juice

granulated sugar

2 spoons grated zest

Pour on top while the cake is still warm!

I would post a picture of the cake but I’m afraid we have eaten it all!! So here is a picture of Will’s Halloween themed cup cakes from a couple of weeks back!

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Week 9 on the VPA Programme

It has been a very busy few weeks on the VPA Programme which has not left our volunteers much time to update this blog so here is a long overdue update!

Jenni Byrne, VPA, on developments at Q Gardens Community Food growing project!

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On site we have had a bountiful harvest of the crops planted by the previous team. The plants harvested include: Pumpkins, potatoes, onions, fennel, sunflowers, celery, beet leaf, sweet peas, runner beans, nasturtiums and a variety of salad leaves and herbs.

During September and October we planted up our winter veg including: Pak choi, spinach, radish and spring onions.

Preparing for winter.

Although we can all enjoy the beautiful golden, rich colours and sharp, bright days of autumn, it does signify winter is fast approaching. The garden has transformed from a flurry of vibrant colours and shapes, all fighting for room in the planting beds, to a sea of wilting green plant matter, ready to be dug out for new life to grow next year.

Everyone involved with the site has been busy making sure the garden is prepared to face the months to come. Lots and lots and lots of seeds from the wildflower area have been collected. These seeds will be dried and bagged up, creating Q gardens very own wildflower seed mix. Once we were happy with the amount of seed collected, some of the team took on the mammoth task of clearing the wildflower patch in order to preserve the degraded quality of the soil (wildflowers don’t like the soil to be too high in nutrients unlike most crop plants).    

Members of the team have been tending to the plant beds, including; weeding, turning soil over, sowing green manure and covering beds over to protect them and hopefully minimise weeds. The two beds closest to the doctors surgery have been turned into ‘fruit corner’, with a variety of different berry fruit bushes being planted, as well as, a fantastically sculpted strawberry bed being created.

Other jobs have included the mucky job of reorganising and covering the growing compost heap. We are hoping that by next year we should have the start of some good, rich, own-grown compost to use to help the plants grow. Some people have been getting their construction heads on, creating wooden borders, made out of old pallets, for the potato beds. Others created a portable leaf cage which will be useful for years to come when the big old sycamore, located almost in the middle of the site, tree drops it’s leaves.   

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

VPA beach day!

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Yesterday the VPA team got together for a team building trip out to the beach. Every month on the programme we have a day away from the projects to reflect and have fun 🙂
We had a picnic, parachute games and competed in the VPA beach olympics! Events included the crab race, a fancy dress relay, hula – athlon and ring toss.
Rashid made a delicious Banana cake (hopefully he will share the recipe on here soon!)
Can’t wait for the next one in August.
Jo

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