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Incredible Edible Ipswich – Natasha’s great success story to mark Volunteers Week 2014!

CAS has been celebrating Volunteers Week 2014 and the wonderful spirit of community action.

We’ve been asking the question “Can you?”. Can you have a chat? Can you grow some veg? Can you make someone smile? The questions might seem a little odd, but this really is volunteering, and it really is this easy!

With Volunteers Week 2014 coming to a close, we’d like to share a positive story from a young volunteer, and Member of Youth Parliament for Ipswich, Natasha. Not only did she have a great experience volunteering with a local organisation, she was inspired to enrol in the National Citizenship Service and set up her own project!

Over to you Natasha…

Natasha Graves, Member of Youth Parliament for Ipswich
Natasha Graves, Member of Youth Parliament for Ipswich

Has your school recently scrapped work experience? Or do you feel you didn’t get the most out of your work placement? If the answer is yes to either of these, then don’t worry, I have the solution: charity work!

It’s become quite apparent to me as a young person that although many of us are fortunate enough to be given an ideal work placement by our school, many of us miss out on valuable work experience, due to the fact that more and more schools are taking work experience out of the curriculum. I sought out my own work placement during the summer holidays, something I will never regret.

I volunteered with a local non-profit organisation for several weeks, an experience which increased my independence dramatically.  I was also made to feel very welcome at the organisation, and a valued member of staff. I then enrolled in the National Citizenship Service (NCS) which was great fun and a unique exeprience, and developed and improved my skills and employability. At the end of NCS you have to start-up a social action project; you can do whatever you like, from bake sales to fun days, in order to raise money for charities or community projects. My group and I thought we’d be a little different, we started our very own community project, Incredible Edible Ipswich. Our aim is to turn disused land into community allotments, to promote sustainability, healthy eating and community cohesion. I am still working on this project today and am motivated to continue with it, because helping the community is at the heart of it all.


By starting up your own project, or volunteering with existing charity work you will not only do your community a load of good, but your CV as well. You’ll develop skills that can be useful in almost all areas of work: management, administration, marketing, sales, hospitality and many more. I’m not saying you have to change the world or devote every hour of your day to humanity, you just have to pluck up some independence and lend a helping hand.

Incredible Edible Ipswich planting on Cemetery Road (source: Facebook)
Incredible Edible Ipswich planting on Cemetery Road (source: Facebook)

I asked one dedicated volunteer about the skills she thinks she has gained, “Even though I don’t get paid, working in a friendly and supportive atmosphere has helped me develop all sorts of customer and trade skills.”

That’s just one example, but there is a wealth of opportunities in the voluntary sector to gain the skills you need for any job.

For more information about volunteering, see our volunteering pages, or contact [email protected]