New Volunteering Project Launches to Support Tamworth Young People

Close up photo of T-shirt with 'volunteer' written on itA new project is being launched in Tamworth this month designed to help young people develop new skills and boost their mental health through meaningful volunteering roles.

Support Staffordshire, a voluntary organisation which empowers communities across the whole of the county, will deliver this new volunteer programme to help Tamworth residents aged 18-25 years, to find volunteer roles, opening them up to new experiences and providing opportunities to develop new skills.

The programme is funded by Tamworth Community Safety Partnership Locality Deal Fund, supported by the Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Crime, and aims to provide the young volunteers with new skills and purpose as well as potentially improve their health, wellbeing and feeling of self-worth.

In addition, it is hoped to help create a more sustainable society as local groups are encouraged to recruit a more diverse volunteer team.

The project was identified as a potential benefit for Tamworth due to recent feedback provided by Support Staffordshire – Tamworth following the pandemic. A rise in low level mental health issues as a result of isolation, has contributed to young people suffering from low confidence and anxiety; plus reduced opportunities because of job furloughs, or cuts to employment and investment given to training programmes.

The new opportunities will support young people who need extra help to participate in volunteering and to contribute to their community. Participants may initially feel unable to secure a voluntary placement unaided due to challenges they face, so additional help will be offered by signposting to other support services to help their journey to successful volunteering.

A Volunteering for All Officer will work one-to-one with participants to provide a bespoke package of support to ensure that their needs are met, and that they are able to engage in volunteering and gain the most from the experience.

At the initial session, the Volunteering for All Officer will help the volunteer to identify an achievable goal that could help them towards breaking any barriers to volunteering. This will include producing an up to date draft of a CV that details their volunteering experience, and references from their placement.

Previous experience has also shown that having someone accompany the participant to initial sessions can be the making of a voluntary placement for many young people who may lack confidence in new situations. Once the volunteer has become accustomed to attending the group regularly, support can gradually withdraw without jeopardising the placement.

With the launch of this project, the team at Support Staffordshire are seeking referrals into the project.

Cllr Daniel Cook, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Economy and Waste, said: “This is an excellent programme to help young people gain confidence and find new volunteering opportunities, which could lead to long term careers.

“We are delighted to support this through our Tamworth Community Safety Partnership Locality Deal Fund, supported by the Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Crime, and look forward to seeing its delivery through Support Staffordshire.

“The pandemic has highlighted a great need for more volunteer services. Through offering a programme that will assist young people to achieve goals and help our communities through the pandemic recovery, we will see positive outcomes after such a difficult period of restrictions and change.

“I would encourage any young person who thinks they would benefit from volunteering to make a positive step forward in their life and get in touch with Tamworth, Volunteering for All Officer, Edward Sumner, on 07399424057 or email: edward.sumner@supportstaffordshire.org.uk.”