A campaign to increase the number of volunteering opportunities for young people is to continue for the rest of the year.

Dudley Council for Voluntary Service (DCVS) and Dudley Council ran an initial month-long campaign, called Youth Pledge 100, during Volunteers Month (June) to persuade organisations to commit to providing volunteering opportunities for young people.

The two bodies launched the campaign as a response to the low number of volunteering opportunities that exist locally for 15 – 25-year olds.

Throughout June, eight organisations pledged to provide a volunteering placement.  The organisers hope that if the campaign is extended until the end of the year up to 100 organisations will be encouraged to make the pledge.

Eileen Fielding, development officer at Dudley CVS, said:

“There is a desperate need in the region for opportunities for young people to try out and learn new skills and learn more about working with others.  Everyone learns through experience, and if young people today are denied that it makes it even harder for them to learn about how they could fit into the world of work.

“We decided that this campaign is so important that it is worth elongating so that more organisations have the chance to sign up and join in.”

Mayor, Councillor Margaret Aston, who is the council’s volunteering champion, added:

“We’re grateful to the organisations that have signed up to the pledge and we are hoping that many more do so.  No matter how inexperienced they are, young people who have chosen to volunteer have a lot to give.  If you provide a chance for a young person you help them, you help you and you also help to create a more work-ready population.”

The organisations that have signed up to Youth Pledge 100 so far are:
Dudley Council, Dudley Canal Trust, Wordsley Wasps Junior Football Club, The Bridge Radio, The Y Project, Royal Voluntary Service, Witness Services and We Love Carers/CHAOS.

To make a pledge, organisations should go to http://volunteeringcounts.org.uk/youth-pledge-100-campaign/

The Youth Pledge 100 campaign uses the Twitter hashtag #youthpledge100


Volunteering case study #4 – charity volunteer

Kingswinford student Hannah Wardle is a perfect example of how youth and enthusiasm can positively affect an organisation.

In 2013 Hannah, who is now 21, began volunteering for Brierley Hill charity the Insight Group, which has since rebranded as We Love Carers.  While studying at Stourbridge College, shy Hannah realised that she needed work experience to increase her knowledge beyond education and to boost her confidence.

For a year Hannah attended the carers and young people’s support charity several times a week.  She conducted everything from cleaning and weeding, to helping out at children’s play schemes. 

During this time staff at the charity realised that they didn’t want to lose Hannah’s enthusiasm and willingness to get things done, so they offered her a paid apprentice position at their Brierley Hill coffee shop, which Hannah eagerly accepted.  Hannah now works at the café, or attends Dudley College to gain an NVQ in customer services, from Monday to Friday, and both she and the charity are thriving from this arrangement.

Hannah said:

“I wanted to help Insight as a volunteer because I’d heard really good things about it.  It was daunting at first, but over time I made friends and became more confident. 

“I couldn’t believe it when I was offered the apprentice position.  It’s my first paid job and it feels really good to know that they want and trust me and that I’m helping them.  I love coming to work.”

Lorraine Stockton, project manager at We Love Carers, said:

“Hannah is fantastic.  She’s given us 100% commitment and is utterly reliable.  But beyond that, she’s got a lovely personality and is really friendly.

“At first Hannah was really shy, but she’s since come out of herself and is a fantastic asset.

“We’ve actually changed the way we run our coffee shop because of her suggestions.  We used to provide a counter service, but on Hannah’s suggestion, Hannah now goes to each table to take orders and provide refreshments.  This has changed the tone of the coffee shop and made it a more friendly place to be.  We even have some customers who come along just to chat with Hannah.  We are very lucky to have her.”