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East Suffolk Volunteering Pathways Project at ZSEA Africa Alive!

The East Suffolk Volunteering Pathways project is moving forward at pace with a new connection with Africa Alive! Kate Dawson delivered the ‘What is Volunteering?’ workshop to a group of Minding the Gap participants at Involve Active in Lowestoft in advance of the practical session. Minding the Gap works with NEET (not in education, employment or training) young people agreed 16 -24 and the aim of the session was to promote volunteering, its benefits and break down myths that might be held about it.

The practical session offered a taster volunteering day at Africa Alive Zoological Reserve to show the group how varied volunteering can be, promote the benefits of volunteering outside and working as part of a team.

Many thanks to Africa Alive who were so accommodating and the staff that gave us such a warm welcome. We were given tasks that one of their usual volunteers would be asked to do, which was an important part of the session. Our first task was to load the back of a truck with woodchips, using shovels. We then took this to the Cheetah house where we firstly washed the outside of the building and cleaned all the dirt and cobwebs off using water and scrubbing brushes. The woodchip was then loaded into wheelbarrows and taken into the outside part of the house. Those taking part learnt new practical skills whilst completing these tasks but also had to use communication skills and team work.

When we had completed our jobs, we were lucky to be able to feed the Cheetah using tongs after making him lie down – this is how he is trained for vets injections – and the staff taught each one of us what we needed to do. We were then allowed to hand feed the Giraffes carrots whilst finding out more about the species.

The session today gave the participants an addition to their CVs and new transferable skills for job applications. Kate Dawson, East Suffolk Volunteering Pathways Co-ordinator commented that ,”It was such a positive experience. This time volunteering has encouraged them all to consider volunteering as a way to further develop their skills and help them to develop employability skills”.

If you are 18+ and live in East Suffolk and are not currently in employment find out more here