My Journey with ERVAS and the Volunteen project

East Riding Voluntary Action Services (ERVAS) is a local organisation that champion’s and supports the voluntary and community sector in the East Riding of Yorkshire. They are an organisation that can guide and support you through all aspects of making a positive difference to your community. They can help with providing information on how to set up an organisation, develop an existing one, help you access funding and discover new opportunities. For more information about ERVAS you can find out more at www.ervas.org.uk.

The Volunteen project is run by ERVAS.  It aims to help young people  aged 11 – 25 in the East Riding of Yorkshire to increase life skills, by introducing them to new and enjoyable social activities.

Volunteen works with Secondary Schools, as well as a wide mixture of groups from the voluntary, statutory and private sector.  Their aim is to ensure that all young people in East Yorkshire have the chance to benefit from volunteering. The project is designed to increase the confidence, self esteem, skills and knowledge of young people.

2012

In 2012 I started volunteering with ERVAS whilst at school, I was a volunteer peer mentor working at school to help and support the younger students with their transition between primary and secondary school along with providing them support with any issues they may be facing whilst at school.

As part of the Volunteering for Young People in East Riding (VYPER) scheme I was able to achieve my Bronze, Silver & Gold awards for volunteering more than 500 hours.

2013 & 2014

In 2013 / 14 I started to set up my own anti-bullying project Action Against Bullying and Advice for Teachers, these two projects started to form the beginning of the new Devan Group.

I was supported by ERVAS with this as they helped me get in touch with people in the local area along with helping me gain a place on the East Riding Council Anti-Bullying Strategy Group. Being a member of this group helped me to raise awareness of my project whilst being able to have a say in how the council could form anti-bullying strategies and run various events. 

The Advice for Teachers website was created with the help of Fixers UK who are National Lottery funded through the Big Lottery Fun. They later worked with ERVAS to support other young people in the area. During this time ERVAS were supporting me with the expenses of setting up the Devan Group such as helping me towards travel costs and buying various materials that helped me to promote the work that I was doing within schools.

2015

In 2015 ERVAS supported me to become a member of the Anti-Bullying alliance, this helped me to further my network of Anti-Bullying contacts whilst also gaining more information about other anti-bullying organisations across the UK.

During 2015 ERVAS also put me in touch with Talent Match Humber (A project that is National Lottery funded through the Big Lottery Fund aimed at helping those young people that are the furthest away from the labour market).

Through this connection ERVAS supported me to attend various volunteer meetings. From this I managed to gain a seconded internship between Talent Match Humber (Humber Learning Consortium) and the Hull Youth Justice Service (Hull City Council). This happened thanks to ERVAS, they enabled me to build my confidence and work on how I could promote the work that I was doing at the time. This helped me loads when I was asked to meet with the Service Manager for the Hull Youth Justice Service through ERVAS being a strategic partner.

In October this year ERVAS jointly nominated me to receive the Diana Award where I travelled to Barclay’s HQ in London and took part in various life skills activities along with being presented the award.  Towards the end of 2015 I was invited to become an ambassador for the National Lottery. As part of this role I joined many young people in London to celebrate the National Lottery Funding, this started a campaign to show how National Lottery Funding supports so many people.

2016/17

In 2016 my internship ended and I became a full-time staff member with ERVAS (seconded to the Hull Youth Justice Service) this enabled me to further my work with the youth justice service. At the end of the year I later found out that I had been nominated for the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to children’s mental healthcare and wellbeing.

All my work mentioned has been made possible from the continued support that I have received from all of the staff at ERVAS through National Lottery Funding.

International Day of Charity – The importance of Social Action

Today is the International Day of Charity, it has been established with the objective of “sensitizing and mobilizing people, NGO’s (non-governmental organisations), and stakeholders all around the world to to help others through volunteer and philanthropic activities”.

According to the United Nations “The date of 5 September was chosen in order to commemorate the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace.””

More information about the International Day of Charity can be found here on the United Nations website.

You can take part in the International Day of Charity any day of the year just by volunteering or taking part in social action. If you are aged 16 – 17 you can take part in NCS, this is a great opportunity for you to meet new people, have fun and do something good at the same time. My last articles cover what a group of young people in Bridlington did as part of the ERVAS NCS programme. If you would like to sign up to NCS visit www.ncsflt.co.uk.

If you’re aged between 16 and 25, and you have a positive message that you want to use to inspire others, then you can take part in Fixers. They will help you do just that, whether it comes from your own personal experiences, or it’s just something you feel passionate about, you can use posters, leaflets, films, stage your own events, or even star in your own music video to get your message across. The best part about Fixers is that they reach every single postcode in the UK and they cover a wide range of topics. To find out more about Fixers visit www.fixers.org.uk.

There are also a range of other national organizations that you can volunteer for such as Get Connected. Get Connected is the UK’s free, confidential and multi-issue helpline service for young people under 25 who need help, but don’t know where to turn. They are currently looking for people to become digital connectors, you can find out more about this great opportunity on their website here: www.getconnected.org.uk/volunteer.

If you would like to find a volunteering opportunity near you, you can contact your local Volunteer Centre, they can help you to find volunteer opportunities that are right for you.

If you already volunteer why don’t you share your social action story with the #iwill campaign on twitter @iwill_campaign or make a pledge on their website www.iwill.org.uk. Or take part in #GivingTuesday (the first Tuesday of December every year) www.givingtuesday.org.uk.

Check out this video by me, that shows why you should volunteer, it is also available on the Devan Group website www.devangroup.co.uk.