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

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

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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!

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!

Meet our brand new Business Services team!

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Meet our VPA Business Services team David and Dewi.

David studied Geography at The University of Chester and is currently working towards getting his Masters in Sustainability for Communities and Businesses. David chose Groundwork as they are a respected organisation and he wanted to gain some hands on experience by volunteering on a community sustainability programme.

Dewi studied at Sheffield University and has a BSc in Geography. He wanted to volunteer with Groundwork to get some project management experience in order to increase his employability.

Last but certainly not least, as we enjoy a good cake here at Groundwork, it is important for us to let you know about each individuals favourite cakey indulgence. David would go for the Jamaican Ginger cake, whereas Dewi loves a bit of Coffee Cake. Good choices I’d say!

Meet more of the team tomorrow

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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!

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