It’s Volunteers’ Week 2016! Over 21 million people volunteer in the UK at least once a year and this contributes an estimated £23.9bn to the UK economy. Behind these big numbers is a big contribution.
The theme of Volunteers’ Week 2016 is “The Big Celebration”, so each day Community Action Suffolk is celebrating some of Suffolk’s amazing volunteers and the organisations they support.
by Shez Southernwood, Project Manager, Level Two Youth Project
Young Volunteer Mot has been both a beneficiary of Level Two Youth Project and now also a Volunteer. Mot has been volunteering with us for just over a year and is 20 years old.
Around two years ago, Mot first contacted me via email when nearing the end of her Year 13 studies. She asked if she could come and chat about what she could do next. I emailed back and said yes. I then rang to make an arrangement and as a result I realised very quickly that there was Speech / Communication issues. Mot has a condition which affects her mobility and speech.
Spending time with Mot was and is such a privilege. I quickly learned to understand Mot and learned also that her passion is photography and so set up work placement / project with a local photographer. This worked really well.
At this time Mot lived at home with her mum and three younger siblings. Just over a year ago Mot told us that her mum was planning to move back to Thailand and that she did not want to go, but to stay in Felixstowe and build a life for herself living independently. Her reasons were heart wrenching and stark; as she explained to me that in Thailand people with disabilities such as Mot ware placed in institutions and not accepted into the community. We worked closely with Mot to secure a Bungalow with a level Access shower and to check her independent living skills to ensure she was going to be able to cope living alone.
Working with Mot has given me a greater awareness of life for young people living with a disability. It has also taken us as a project into the arena of Housing, Social Housing, Benefits and much more.
Mot made a brilliant transition into independent living and has really put roots down in Felixstowe as an active member of the community, which includes her volunteering at Level Two Youth Project.
A massive success story, brilliant evidence of good practice and positive agency and partnership working & hugely rewarding – I have also learnt so much about disability awareness.
Mot says: “My confidence has grown and I like feeling part of the team at Level Two. I like a challenge and like living independently, but also really like being a volunteer at Level Two as I get to mix with all ages. It’s fun and we go on cool trips and visits. Last year I even walked over the roof of the O2 Arena in London!”
Find out more about Level Two.
Are you inspired to volunteer? Maybe you’re looking for more volunteers? Find out how CAS can help by exploring the “Volunteering and social action” section of this website (see the menu at the top of the page).
You can contact the CAS Volunteering Team on 01473 345400 or [email protected].uk