Exhibition to showcase transformative impact of volunteering

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04 Jun 2013
by Neil Skinner

Framework will show that “there’s more to volunteering than meets the eye” at an open day and art exhibition on Friday (June 7). 

Framework, which helps more than 9,000 people a year from across the East Midlands, will welcome visitors to its volunteering centre, at 36 Bentinck Road, from midday. 

More than a dozen current and former Framework volunteers have produced a range of works to describe what volunteering means to them. 

The exhibition, “Your Volunteer Journey – Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” shows in a range of photographs, paintings, poems and films the potentially transformative and life-changing effects of volunteering and attempts to break down some well-worn misconceptions about who does and who doesn’t volunteer. 

What a lot of people don’t see about volunteering is that it really is about them – not about the organisation they are volunteering for. They can take out of it as much as they put in.

Becka

Framework volunteer coordinator Omied Hallam explained: “I think a lot of people associate volunteers with older, retired people looking to give something back to their communities. Whilst this is true in many cases it is a long way from the full story. 

“The truth is that volunteers come from all walks of life and differ greatly in terms of age and motivation. In fact, the majority of the people who volunteer with us do so to change their life in some way – either to gain skills that will lead to paid employment or to boost their self-esteem and confidence. 

“We currently work with more than 250 volunteers in roles ranging from befrienders to admin assistants. Each of them wants something very different from the experience and it is our job to help them to achieve their goals. All we ask in return is that they have a passion for helping other people.” 

As many as half of the people who volunteer with Framework go on to find paid work in the community after their placement ends. Whilst the charity does not pay them directly, it spends many thousands of pounds to cover vital and potentially prohibitive costs, such as transport and childcares expenses. 

Without this funding many of its volunteers would simply be unable to achieve the outcomes they do. 

Single Mum Becka was helped to find full-time work as a support worker with Framework after volunteering at its services in Newark. 

She explained: “What a lot of people don’t see about volunteering is that it really is about them – not about the organisation they are volunteering for. They can take out of it as much as they put in. I was a single mum who wanted to do something different with her life and volunteering at Framework helped me to do that. 

“If my child care costs had not been covered like they were there is just no way that I would have been able to achieve what I have achieved.” 

“It was only because of volunteering that I got into this line of work. I had no qualifications so volunteering helped me to get a start and convinced me that this line of work was really for me. It was also great fun because it got me away from my normal routine. It gave me my freedom, it made me feel special and it completely changed my mind set.” 

Why do people volunteer with Framework?

  •  To find paid work – 46 %
  •  Alturism – 36 %
  •  To tackle isolation and exclusion – 10 %
  •  To explore a change of career – 8%

Where do our volunteers end up?

  • Paid work outside Framework – 25%
  • Paid Work with Framework – 15%
  • More volunteering – 13 %
  • Education or training – 6%-           

*figures based on full year 2011/12

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