Adam and Stephanie’s Summer Intern Blog

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Stephanie and Adam

Week 8

This week was our last week of our internship !

This week we both worked on a presentation and flyers that will go towards promoting volunteering during Fresher’s week at the University of Reading. Adam also made the final changes to his project on measuring the impact of volunteering in Reading.

This week we visited the Hexagon to promote volunteering as part of a careers fair. We were able to talk with lots of people about the benefits of volunteering and how it can help an individual gain employment. We also promoted other services that the RVA can offer including a new project starting in October to help support those who face barriers into employment who are over the age of 25.

Reflecting on our time at the RVA we realised how much we have done during these eight weeks. There have been many highlights of our internship. These have included visiting different organisations such as RRSG, Starting Point and the NCS group which we both attended.

Adam also attended other organisations and events such as the befrienders picnic, Enrych, MERL and Food 4 Families, whilst Stephanie attended Readipop, the People Plus meeting, Trinity Church and MS therapy centre.

We really appreciate the opportunity RVA has given us and we would like to thank Steve in particular who has supported us in our intern roles.

 

Week 7

Stephanie…

This week I visited Trinity Church to chat with a group of enthusiastic volunteers who had offered to help clean up the church yard. It was a great opportunity to have a chat with some of the volunteers about their views on volunteering as well as being able to see the massive impact they had on improving the church yard grounds. Their hard worked paid off in improving the area. They will hopefully be back in September to finish the great work that they have started.

Also, this week I visited MS Therapy Centre as part as the project leading up to “Remember a charity in Your Will Week” to hear from the organisation about how legacy giving has made a huge impact to their organisation. MS Therapy centre supports individuals with Multiple sclerosis both with the physical challenges that they face by providing services such as physiotherapy as well as providing emotional support through counselling. Legacy giving is one way that the MS therapy receives funding to support their long-term projects including providing a beautiful garden area and refurbishing the centre to make it a welcoming and peaceful place for their members to come to.

Articles will be written based on these two visits.

Trinity Church

Before                                                            After

Week 6

This week we both had the opportunity to promote volunteering for wellbeing to Compass Recovery College’s launch day. This was an event for the organization to promote the courses for the coming year ahead.  We met many great organisations that are doing great work in Reading to support those with mental and physical health problems. We also met many people who took an interest in volunteering. We were able to provide information on the services that the RVA have to offer including drop in sessions, a session to support individuals who have never volunteered before as well as Social Prescribing. We gained a great response from those we spoke to.

Also Adam…

This week I had the opportunity to visit The Rising Sun Arts Centre an inclusive independent arts centre ran by volunteers. It was good finding out more about the varied programme of events they run on a weekly basis and how important volunteers are to them. It will provide an interesting case study for my project which I have also continued to work on this week.

 

Week 5

This week we made more progress on our individual projects.

Stephanie …

This week I had the opportunity of attending a meeting at People Plus. I shadowed in on the meeting which was aimed at informing staff members of People plus about Reading Voluntary Action Service (RVA). Information included how people can access the RVA services. There was also a discussion on barriers service users of People Plus might face when trying to access volunteering services and ways to overcome this. Overall it was an informative experience.

Also this week I continued working on  “Remember a charity in your will” project as I began to prepare for a meeting with Thrive in week 6.  Thrive is a charity using gardening to support individuals with disabilities.  I look forward to meeting with them next week.

Adam …

This week I was able to visit Coley park over 50s club and Food 4 Families. Coley park over 50s club provides a place to socialise once a week for the over 50s in the local area. It was great attending one of their meetings and seeing the important service they deliver. Food 4 Families is a program by RISC which develops community based food growing projects allowing people across Reading to learn how to and have access to grow their own food. It was good finding out how they use volunteers and the important role they take. Both visits were useful for my project.

 

 

Week 4

This week we continued to work on our individual projects

Stephanie …

This week I prepared for the People Plus event that I will be attending in week 5. I did this by adding to the resources that I had already started making and created a separate leaflet promoting volunteering for employment. I also created a separate leaflet on volunteering for wellbeing. This will hopefully be used for the Compass College visit which will be in week 6. This will involve promoting the positive impact volunteering has on wellbeing. I look forward to attending these events.

I also started research for a side project about an organization “Remember a Charity in your will” who will be conducting a week-long campaign in September. The final aim of this project with the RVA would be to promote smaller local charities within Reading to be remembered when writing a will. Therefore, I gained more information about this national campaign and learnt the huge difference it can make to charities if people give money through a request in their will.

Adam….

This week i was able to visit Enrych Berkshire and The Museum of English Rural Life(MERL). It was great learning more about Enrych and how they bring colour to their members lives through leisure and learning activities, not letting them be defined by their disability. As well it was interesting visiting MERL and finding out about the wide range of volunteering opportunities they offer. Both visits were positive learning opportunities for my project and demonstrated the huge impact volunteers have around Reading.

 

Week 3

This week we spent much of our time focused on our individual projects.

Adam …

I have been focusing on research for my project about the impact of volunteering in Reading. Specifically, researching approaches to value the impact of the work volunteers do across Reading. As well researching the idea that volunteering can have a quantifiable improvement in the wellbeing of individual volunteers.

This week I also visited Reading Council, meeting with a neighbourhood development officer who informed me of the range of volunteers that he works with and their importance in overcoming community issues and in neighbourhood development. Such as Neighbourhood Action Groups across Reading or the Coley Park Over 50s Club which I will be visiting in week 5.

I look forward to visiting ENRYCH Berkshire and the Museum of English Rural Life next week to find out how they utilize volunteers and measure their impact.

Stephanie…

This week I focused my attention on researching volunteering booklets and leaflets and then I started creating a welcome pack that could be used by the RVA to promote and inform people about volunteering.  Information included volunteering towards employment, how volunteering can improve wellbeing and some information about ways people could be supported in finding a voluntary role.

On Friday, I also took a picture and  wrote an article on a man named Max who had shown lots of commitment in his volunteering role at Sue Ryder where he had volunteered for almost three years. Consequently, he received a certificate to acknowledge all his hard work and commitment.

Other Events

During the week, we also attended the Social Networking Event hosted by the NCS group. We were very impressed with the work that the NCS group had produced. Due to winning a sum of money from their Dragons Den Task they were able to create fun activities for members of Starting Point to join in with and provide lots of food for the event. They had also created a nice-looking stall full of information on volunteering. This was used to promote volunteering and the services of the RVA.

Other events we attended included the RVA volunteering coordinator network meeting where we had the opportunity to discuss our projects and received some feedback. It was a good opportunity to hear more about the organisations that attended the meeting and the events the RVA hosted including the volunteering awards ceremony.

 

Week 2

We started off the second week by visiting the Reading Refugee Support Group as we had been invited to their celebration event. It was a great experience to learn more about their organisation and the support they offer which included providing English classes. It was also great to see their links to other organisations including Readifood.

On Tuesday, Adam visited Launchpad…

This enabled me to find out more about the support and services Launchpad provides and how volunteers are crucial in their delivery. They provided some useful resources on how they measure the value of their volunteers and will make for an interesting case study.

During the week we also met up with Sam from Starting Point which is a project by Mustard Tree. We were able to learn more about Mustard Tree as a whole charity and particularly about their Starting Point project. We were informed about Starting Points mentoring scheme and about the social networking event next Thursday that the NCS group we presented to the following day are hosting. This was a useful a session and we got to meet the NCS group we are working with.

On Friday we delivered the presentation on volunteering to the NCS group. We encouraged the group to think of the benefits volunteering could have on both the individual and on the community. They gave great responses to this and we hope this information will become useful for the social networking event which we look forward to attending on Thursday 27th  July. Attached are some of the work the NCS group produced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 1

We were both excited to start our first week at RVA. The week started with a meeting with the National Citizens service about helping their organisation run an educational session on volunteering.   This was a great opportunity to understand more about NCS and the great work that they do. We look forward to meeting our NCS Group next week when we will deliver a presentation on volunteering!

Thursday evening, we assisted Rachel on a workshop on loneliness and isolation. It was an informative opportunity to understand the very real issues of loneliness in Reading thanks to Racheal’s project.

On Friday, we attended a People Plus event to help to raise awareness of the work Reading Voluntary Action does and the beneficial effects on volunteering particularly in relation to career prospects. We met many individuals who were interested and enthusiastic about volunteering and wanted to understand more about the RVA. It was a very positive experience.

We also had the opportunity to meet Natalie from ways in to work to understand more about her role and the organisation and how she supports young people into work and volunteering.

On Saturday Stephanie went to Readipop…

I was invited to attend Readipop with Natalie to support two young individuals with their volunteering role. Our role on the day was to raise money and to hand out the programmes to inform others of the times of the different performances.

On Saturday Adam went to a Befrienders Picnic…

I attended a thank you event for carers and befrienders. I provided support on the day helping set up the event.  I also set up an information stall on different organisations linked to befriending and caring. The event was a success and I was able to meet some interesting people.