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Supporting the Next Generation of Volunteers: April’s Story Mon, 01 Jun 202

April started out on her current path through volunteering herself at Holford Drive Sports Hub where her son’s play scheme was held. One day, when dropping him off, April asked if they needed any help and it started from there; initially taking the registers and then getting more involved with helping with the children and supporting the running of activities outside.

It is through this that April met the M.A.D. team, and it wasn’t long before April proved her value and was offered paid work with them to continue her support of the summer programme. April’s role expanded, and she became part of the ‘Happy Healthy Holiday’s’ project team, providing healthy food, physical activity and social opportunities for children during their 6 weeks’ holiday.

As part of the project April took on a supervisor role, delegating to the young volunteers, leading administration to ensure the registers were completing and that everyone was doing the tasks they’d been set. April often found herself dealing with incidents or ‘fallings out’ among the volunteers as she could relate to individuals and help to resolve issues, along with ensuring everyone’s safety.

April started to take on a more important role as a mentor and guide to the volunteers, who were experiencing their own journey through learning and volunteering. April was able to recognise some of the anxieties and the lack of knowledge the young people had. They exhibited behaviour such as being shy, or a bit laid back, not wanting to help or get involved, but April helped them get over their hurdles of not always knowing what to do, and they responded positively and listened to her advice.

With her own large family, April lives her life surrounded by children and young people. Since working as part of the the M.A.D. programme, April has come across a few children and young people with confidence issues and finds herself being more connected to her work than she ever has been before. An example of this is when April made a connection with a young lady the previous day, and had messaged her offering good luck and positivity due to knowing that she had some problems with peers at school. Actions like this is what has inspired April to get into Mentoring and to start working more within youth work and outreach.

“…A lot of them [the young volunteers] want to come back and gain more training. And now they can see a career in volunteering and in youth work, teaching etc. which is really good for them! A lot of them leaving school got their exams and they’re now looking at a future in something like this.”

April had wanted to take this path before, but didn’t know how to get started. Through volunteering, April gradually built-up her confidence, hands-on experience and discovered a route to set her on an exciting career path.

She has since gained new connections, skills and the knowledge so that she has the momentum to take the next step to explore future training and qualifications.

April wants to be a role model to the 23 young volunteers she worked with over the summer, showing those of them who want to have a career in youth work like herself, that they can with the right attitude, commitment and enthusiasm to get there.

Watch all the volunteers and Aprils journey last summer in the following video

For further information about the M.A.D programme and to get in touch with a member of our Outreach Team, please visit the following page.

Sam’s Volunteering Journey Tue, 14 Jan 2020

Sam’s area of Bartley Green was lacking in any youth provision, so when MAD’s programme of activity took place across the summer of 2018, there was a great response from the community.

Sam met Alison, heading up the programme, wanting to know what it was all about and quickly got involved. But as the six weeks was coming to an end, Sam wasn’t satisfied with them packing up and heading off…

“I felt like a carrot had been dangled then taken away and I thought, I’m not having that, I want more! So that’s how it came about…me being stubborn and wanting something for the kids…”

…So Nukez Youth Club on Lung Nuke Road was created, with a push from Sam and the local Mum’s, they immediately had children through the door, attending every week.

As someone who hadn’t been a youth leader before, we wanted to know what sparked Sam into creating and performing the important volunteer role she now plays.

“Personally, MAD has given me the confidence to run the youth club and it’s helping me change as a person, I’m calmer and less quick to snap. I’ve got a lot of pride for our community now, whereas I didn’t prior to this. I feel like we’re trying to help the kids and the parents.”

Speaking to Sam it increasingly comes across that this isn’t just a youth club she’s running, but a community hub. Having recognised the needs within her community and wanting positive change for those growing up in the neighbourhood, Sam spoke up and got things happening when opportunity came knocking.

“I feel like we’re trying to help the kids and the parents…So we’ll have Housing and Benefits people come talk to the parents, Umbrella sexual health to talk to the older kids, a homework club is also being setup, there’s a lot of exciting things in the pipeline!

We want to support the parents, the parents need someone they can vent to, if they need help we’ll try match them with someone who can solve their problem, we’re not just here for the kids.”

Through the creation of Nukez Youth Club, other mums brought their kids along and then got involved themselves in helping out and running the club alongside Sam. With the support from the MAD team they have been able to upskill and gain qualifications in Youth Work, Health and Hygiene, Child Protection, First Aid and for some to become Tennis Activators. All these positive changes and interactions within the community have come about with the trust and support Sam provides. Sam, Jayne and Chelsea volunteer their time running two sessions a week, one for the younger children and one for teenagers and young adults. They have created a safe space for these children and young people, a space to play and be young whilst being cared for and heard. And we see only bigger and better things to come for this community of people with the foresight these volunteers envision.

“I’d love to build youth clubs around the areas, if I could do another two in the next three years…I’d be happy. I’ve found since starting the youth club the community is much better at coming together and helping out as we know one another better now, whether that be staffing or giving donations etc.

For instance if we don’t have enough staff, a lot of different people pitch in and help put the sessions on, or else it would mean we would be turning away 20/30 kids. I’ve got a lot of pride for our community now, whereas I didn’t prior to this.”

Not only do Sam’s own children attend Long Nukez, but her eldest Chelsea volunteers there too. Sam’s guidance and coaching hasn’t been limited to the youth club, she’s extended that to include her children and looks for the best ways they can benefit whilst helping in their community.

A HUGE thanks goes out to the Sport Birmingham BISF Volunteers of 2019! Wed, 30 Oct 2019

With the days growing shorter and the nights growing longer we here at Sport Birmingham are looking back to the brighter days of 2019 and reflecting on the successes we have shared with others over the year.

Our Birmingham Inclusive Sports Festival (BISF) was not just one of those successes but rather two, being a bi-annual festival, with two activity event days held in June and September.

Designed by disabled people, to better promote and celebrate opportunities to access fun, inclusive activities that empower people to take control of their own health and wellbeing; The BISF attracted over 570 participants this year and over 20 deliverers taking part in it’s events.

A big part of BISFs accomplishments were down to the Volunteers who helped out on the event days…

Both events saw attendees leaving happy and encouraged by their experiences and this came down not only to the activities available to them: Boccia, Boxercise, Powerchair Football, Wheelchair Rugby with lots more; But also the support we received behind the scenes in running the festivals. This help came from a collective group of 27 Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds.

Ensuring our volunteers had a chance to experience most of the activities on offer and the chance to meet the deliverers there on the day, their roles took them from set-up and stewarding to participant engagement right across the event. The deliverers expressed how useful the volunteer’s help was and some expressed interest in opening up opportunities for the volunteer’s to work with them in the future.

We had some wonderful feedback from volunteers about their experience and are very much looking forward to working with them again in the future…

Caitlin, one of our student volunteers, commented, “I really enjoyed my time volunteering, it was very much within my comfort zone. I would be more than happy to volunteer in the future.”

“Exceeded expectations,” Said Hannah, who is studying towards becoming a teacher and increasing her experiences through volunteering.

“Great staff, very organised and friendly to work with. My time had definitely been worthwhile.” Aaliyah, who is studying at University College Birmingham, gave us this great feedback.

All our volunteers said they would volunteer again at BISF and we can’t wait to have them back!

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