Access to Business actively encourages and promotes volunteering opportunities. We are extremely proud of our volunteers and recognise that their work is an important and integral part of what we do.
We are able to offer voluntary work within our own premises and also with our partners.
Our Volunteer Mentor, Susan Whittaker, co-ordinates and supports our volunteer services and works closely with all of our volunteers.
Our in-house Volunteer-led Group ‘Access 4 All’ if a vital element to the support we provide at Access to Business. The group meet regularly to provide peer-to-peer support and also support Susan and our Volunteers. The group organise social events and visits and run regular drop-in sessions.
All of our volunteers are offered opportunities to gain new skills to support their own personal development and those wishing to move into permanent employment are given support on this journey.
Access to Business has been promoting volunteering for over 10 years during which time hundreds of people have volunteered with us, many of who have gone on to secure employment.
Our volunteering offer and support has grown significantly. We have an in-house volunteer led group ‘Access 4 All’ who provide feedback and support to help us to shape our services to ensure that they meet the needs of our users.
• Our Volunteering enables people to play an active role in their society and contribute to positive social change.
• Our Volunteers helps to break down social barriers and offer people an opportunity to socialise with people from different social and cultural backgrounds
During the past two years our volunteers have received recognition for their work including:
• National volunteer of the year runner up in Microsoft/BT sponsored event for supporting disabled people to access IT to improve their lives and social inclusion
• Prime Minister David Cameron – Point of Light Award for Volunteering
• Volunteers recognised by Tinder Foundation for their work supporting others to improve their IT skills. Case study (attached) was featured on National website.
Volunteer Support and Activities
We provide training for all of our volunteers to enable them to gain new skills to improve their own lives and also those that they support through their volunteering.
Our in-house and external volunteers improve the lives and opportunities of individuals and community groups in many ways including:
• Helping socially excluded people to improve their IT skills and wider their social integration.
• Improve people skills and CVs to support their journey to work
• Attending our outreach events giving information to visitors and informing them about local services available to them
We ensure that all of our volunteers are fully DBS checked before enrolling as a volunteer at Access to Business.
Recent success in supporting the development in Access to Business Volunteering Opportunities:
Secured funding from:
• Wolves Community Trust to support 2 year salary cost of dedicated Volunteer Mentor
• Warburtons Family Trust to support volunteers expenses cost
• Heart of England Trust to support volunteer opportunities
We issue a volunteer agreement to all of our volunteers and, prior to volunteering with us or one of our partners, each individual has a 1-2-1 information meeting with our Volunteer Mentor to ensure that volunteers understand their roles and also that they are fully informed of the support and training available to them.
Additional we create a task list for all of our volunteers to help their personal development and enable them to build us their own skills and confidence to help other.
Many of our volunteers support our own work by providing advice and assistance for people to gain new skills for work or helping them to improve their IT skills. Some of our volunteers are placed with external partners including:
• Friends of West Park - developing, building and creating a Sensory Community Garden which can be enjoyed by the local community, especially benefiting visitors with disabilities
• Volunteering at Low Hill Community Group supporting clients with mental health issue
• Two Volunteers at Gatis Street Community Space, a playground, café and venture for the local supporting people from the local deprived area
• The Youth Zone – supporting and mentoring young people in the local community
Dalton came to Access to Business in the August of 2013, he had suffered a severe stroke which had left him with severe mobility issues. Dalton initially came to Access to Business to develop his general IT skills as his stroke had made it extremely challenging to conduct even the most basic of functions. We introduced Dalton to a variety of aids to support his IT development, one being the Dragon Software, so he could write his own autobiography.
Shortly after Dalton started volunteering for Access to Business and in April we nominated Dalton for a national Volunteer`s award and he reached the final 4 in his category and was invited to the awards ceremony in London on July 14th. Dalton has had his story featured recently in a local newspaper, he has had the opportunity to share his story on a local radio show and he has also been invited to meet the Major of Wolverhampton.
For more information about Volunteering at Access to Business please contact:
Susan Whittaker, Volunteer Mentor