North Tyneside VODA provide advice, training, information and support to volunteers and community organisations working in North Tyneside.
We work locally, regionally and nationally to promote the value and needs of the voluntary and community sector in North Tyneside. We help to encourage and develop networks and partnerships between the voluntary and community sector and others.
Inspired by the amazing Social Action Projects delivered by young people on our National Citizen Service (NCS) programme, I was keen to see how this approach could be offered to a new audience. The Give More Get More Fund has provided us with an opportunity to do this.
Having delivered the NCS project, we’ve seen the benefits young people get out of the programme in terms of a sense of belonging and the opportunity to work with a diverse group of people. However, we were not aware of any opportunities for adults to do the same.
Through the interviews we have previously carried out with people aged 50 and over, there seemed to be a sense of loss
They'd been at work, they'd been useful, but when they retired, they no longer felt that sense of purpose. They may also have been in a relationship that had broken down or had lost someone who was important to them.
My old headteacher, for example, was considered one of the best in the North East of England and recently retired. He came into VODA to find out about volunteering because he said he was just not used to not being needed.
We see this as an opportunity for people to find a new part of themselves - whether it's trying something new or using skills you have developed over years in the workplace.
Our project will support 100 older volunteers to undertake an intensive three-month programme of volunteering, working in teams to plan and deliver a series of social action projects aligned with the key priorities of our local authority, North Tyneside Council:
Projects will be planned in partnership with the community, the local authority and local voluntary community groups, to give all parties the chance to talk about their areas of work, why the council has identified certain priorities, and where the gaps are and how they can be addressed.
We will follow these dicussions with focus groups, where the teams will pitch their ideas to experts - in this case, residents, local businesses and beneficiaries - who will then feedback to the teams.
We’re excited about the opportunity to mobilise teams of volunteers from all walks of life, making a real difference to their local community, while also developing their own skills, confidence and feelings of belonging.
Now, all we need is a name for our project… Suggestions on a postcard, please.
To find out more, contact [email protected]
Photo Credit: North Tyneside VODA