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Volunteers in action April 2013

Outstanding volunteers win awards The Cowgate Family Support Project works with families who are facing difficulties in their lives. In her role as a volunteer, Kristie has shown great maturity and sensitivity and has helped to support a range of families and children.

Thomas Holt

Kristie Wylam

Congratulations to two of our young volunteers that have won awards for their volunteering work at Action for Children. Kristie Wylam, aged 18, has been awarded the title of Young Volunteer of the Year at the Positive Social Behaviour Order Awards (PoSBOs) and Thomas Holt has won the National Student Volunteer of the Year Award! The PoSBOs celebrate the achievements of young people aged between 11 – 25 in the North East. Kristie won the award for her outstanding volunteering work with the Cowgate Family Support Project in Newcastle, where she has volunteered since November 2010.

Thomas Holt was presented with his award for the mentoring work he has done with Knowsley Junior Mentoring in Knowsley and for voluntary work he has done for other charities. Thomas has mentored 11 year old Ewan for the past year, introducing him to new experiences such as swimming, going to a pantomime and ice skating. Ewan’s behaviour, concentration and self-esteem have dramatically increased since Thomas started mentoring him. As part of his award, Thomas received a sum of money to donate to the charities that he has supported and has kindly donated £500 to Action for Children. If you know of a volunteer who has achieved something amazing and deserves to be recognised for their work, then why not nominate them for a Stephenson Award? Read more about the awards on page 3.


A warm welcome to the first edition of Volunteers in action for 2013. I would like to start by thanking you all for the commitment, creativity and effort you gave to Action for Children during 2012.

Our volunteers are a critical part of our work, playing a unique role in ensuring Action for Children can do the best possible job for the children and young people that we support. Many thanks to those of you who took the time to give us your opinions in our volunteer satisfaction survey. I was heartened to see such positive results and I take pride in the fact that we have such energetic and committed volunteers. You can read more about the survey results in this edition of Volunteers in action.

and spread the message about our work to support children and young people even further. Many thanks to those of you that supported us with this event - we are always extremely grateful for any time that you offer us. Please do send in your feedback and any ideas for the next edition to communications@ Dame Clare Tickell Chief Executive

This year has already got off to a busy start with the The Lindt Big Egg Hunt, which has helped to reach many new supporters

In this issue: The Stephenson Awards: Nominate someone for an award now! Volunteer satisfaction survey: The results The Lindt Big Egg Hunt: Thank you for being a good egg! New experiences: Where volunteering can lead 60 second spotlight: Donna Madden climbs Mount Snowdon in support of Action for Children

The Stephenson Awards now open for nominations

Action for Children’s Stephenson Awards recognise the commitment and expertise of those who make sure we are there for the UK’s most vulnerable and neglected children, young people and families for as long as it takes. These awards are for volunteers as well as staff, supporters and foster carers. So, if you work with someone that demonstrates passion, equality and

hope and goes the extra mile for children, young people, families and the charity, then why not nominate them for an award? This is a brilliant opportunity to celebrate our successes and hear about inspiring individuals in our services, our offices and the local community. To nominate someone for a Stephenson Award, complete this nomination form.

Young People’s Choice Award

The children and young people that we work with are also encouraged to nominate members of staff, volunteers, supporters or foster carers that have made a real difference to their life through the Young People’s Choice Award. All they need to do is complete the Young People’s Choice Award nomination form which can be downloaded from The Loop by staff or you can email for a copy.

The deadline for entries is Wednesday 31 July 2013 and the winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony at The House of Lords.

Volunteer Satisfaction: The results In a previous edition of Volunteers in action, we asked you to let us know how you are finding the experience of volunteering with Action for Children. Thank you very much to everyone who responded. You gave us some great feedback and ideas for what we can work on in the future.

Top findings 96% of you said that you would recommend volunteering with Action for Children to your friends and family! This is great to hear - to recommend a friend please ask them to visit our website. 98% of you said that the expectations you had when you joined Action for Children have been met. Fantastic news! If at any point however you want to change anything about your involvement and take on different responsibilities, remember to speak to your supervisor. 26% of you did not know what our Volunteer Handbook is. This may be because you joined before it was introduced. Our Volunteer Handbook contains lots of useful information and we don’t want you to miss out! Please ask your supervisor for this. You also mentioned training and accreditation as something you would like more of. New training packs have just been launched for use in training volunteers on some key topics and come with individual study workbooks. This is something that we will continue to work on but in the meantime if you would like to know more or suggest new ideas, please speak to your supervisor.

In your words ͡͡ Volunteering with Action for Children has greatly improved my confidence and given me the incentive to strive beyond previous abilities ͡͡ It is very rewarding to help young and vulnerable children - it makes such a difference to them

͡͡ Volunteering is helpful and fun ͡͡ I have made lots of new friends through volunteering ͡͡ It’s just great

These results have been shared with staff who coordinate volunteers right across Action for Children as well as with central departments so that we can make further improvements wherever possible.

...for being a good egg

This year, The Big Egg Hunt was sponsored by our partners Lindt to help us raise money for the UK’s most vulnerable children and their families. The Lindt Big Egg Hunt saw 100 unique egg sculptures designed by invited artists form the largest, interactive public art exhibition the country has ever seen. The eggs have now been auctioned online to raise funds so that we can continue to support some of the most neglected children in the UK.

We would like to say a great big thank you to our volunteers that supported The Lindt Big Egg Hunt in London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. This event would not have been possible without your help, which involved talking to the public to promote The Lindt Big Egg Hunt, selling hunt books and acting as ambassadors on behalf of Action for Children.

New experiences through volunteering Congratulations to Kim Cummins and Caroline Mohamud, two Action for Children volunteers who enjoyed their experience of volunteering with us so much that they decided to come and work for us! They have both recently gained roles at the Wigan Family Intervention Project. Kim heard about the volunteering opportunity at Wigan FIP through her job in Children’s Services at Wigan Council and Caroline found out about it on the Just Do It website. Volunteering gave them both the chance to expand their knowledge and experience of working with families. Kim and Caroline’s roles as volunteers involved working very closely with families

experiencing difficulties and helping them to become better parents. They supported families by helping them to implement routine into the lives of their children (like bath time, bedtime and morning), organised cooking classes and took them to appointments. This experience acted as a stepping stone into permanent roles at Wigan FIP. Kim says ‘I really enjoy the challenge of working closely with families. Step-by-step I help them improve their lives and the lives of their children. As well as doing family assessments and support plans to help them, I know that I make a

Kim Cummins and Caroline Mohamud

difference just by being a positive presence in their lives and being someone that they can talk to without being judged. Beginning as a volunteer was a fantastic way to get started as it gave me an insight into the work of the Wigan FIP and I am thrilled to now be a member of staff!’.

Donna is a volunteer at Ravensthorpe Children’s Centre and was inspired to climb Mount Snowdon in support of Action for Children. Here’s her story…


Tell us about your volunteering role at Ravensthorpe Children’s Centre. I decided to start volunteering because I’ve been considering a career change. At the moment I work in retail, but I would love to become a social worker. Volunteering at Ravensthorpe Children’s Centre has given me a brilliant opportunity to learn more about the work of social workers and other professionals at the Children’s Centre and has helped me gain an insight into their work.

What’s been the best part of your volunteering role? All of it! Everything has been great, from meeting the children and young people that come to the Children’s Centre, to shadowing team members, to learning more about how a Children’s Centre works and meeting new people. What inspired you to climb Mount Snowdon? Climbing Mount Snowdon was something that my partner and I had been thinking about doing for a while. I happened to be browsing the events section of the Action for Children website one day and I saw an article calling for people to do the climb in support of Action for Children. It was the perfect way to do something challenging and fundraise at the same time. How did you feel when you reached the summit? Amazing! I was so proud to have climbed Mount Snowdon and raised £325 for Action for Children. It took two and a half hours but it was well worth it.

Inspired by Donna? If you want to get more involved in fundraising like Donna there are lots of ideas here on our website.


͡͡ Congratulations to Emma Gibbon who volunteers at the Workington Centre and has been awarded a Golden Apple Award for Learner of the Year 2012 by Cumbrian Newspaper Group Ltd and sponsored by Britain’s Energy Coast Campus! ͡͡ Many thanks to Leighton Edwards who has been a volunteer Father Christmas at Action for Children Swansea Young Families Scheme for the past 13 years! He has brought festive magic to hundreds of children and raised thousands of pounds. ͡͡ Stonewall’s annual workplace equality index results have now been published and we have improved our rating to 102 – a jump of 14 places from our high of last year. We are passionate about equality and diversity at Action for Children and are pleased to have improved our place.

Find out more, get in touch and say hello actionforchildren aslongasittakes actionforchildrenuk

Email to tell us your thoughts and ideas about this issue of Volunteers in action, as well as to share your stories about volunteering at Action for Children – they might feature in the next issue!

Action for Children 3 The Boulevard Ascot Road Watford WD18 8AG Telephone: 0300 123 2112 Action for Children is committed to helping the most vulnerable and neglected children and young people in the UK break through injustice, deprivation and inequality, so they can achieve their full potential. Registered charity nos. 1097940/SC038092/company no. 4764232 Produced by Action for Children 09/2012 12/13 0120

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