The benefits of volunteering are plentiful and well-documented. This is perhaps especially true for young people. Not only can they add some real-life experience to their CV, but volunteering can also boost their confidence, add to their skill set, and even provide new hobbies.
There are a number of ways that CAVS encourage Youth Volunteering, both directly and indirectly.
- We have links with schools, colleges and University campuses in the region, and attend events such as Freshers’ Fairs to promote and encourage volunteering among younger people.
- Youth Led Grant
Working in conjunction with Carmarthenshire County Council’s Youth Participation Team, we distribute the annual Youth Led Grant. A panel consisting of young people from across the county is responsible for making decisions about the fund, ranging from how to advertise, funding criteria, and application methods, to judging the actual applications.
As the name suggests, the grant is open to groups of young people, with the aim of encouraging and fostering youth volunteering at all levels. So the young people are responsible for making the application, managing the finances, delivering the project and reporting on its outcomes.
Projects previously funded through the Youth Led Grant have included weekly digital sessions led by young people for young people, looking at connecting with older residents during the Covid pandemic, and Online Dance Workshops for young people;
Watch this space for news of this year’s Youth Led Grant!
Youth Volunteering Officer
CAVS were fortunate to have been awarded funding from the LEADER Programme LEADER Programme (gov.wales) to appoint a Youth Volunteering Officer.
This officer would work closely with all youth-involving organisations, including schools and colleges, to foster greater appreciation of volunteering among young people.
Involving young people under the age of 18 can seem a daunting prospect for some organisations but the benefits to organisations, the young people and the wider community can certainly make it very worthwhile bringing an added dimension and experience to volunteering.
Volunteering provides individuals with an opportunity to learn new skills, gain experience and develop self-confidence. Volunteer experience can strengthen a person’s CV and improve their chances of getting a job. Encouraging young people to volunteer in their local communities will make a significant contribution to strengthening community and social resilience as well as supporting the placement organisation.
The benefits of volunteering are well understood and include substantial increase in self-confidence and transferable skills for the individual volunteer. Volunteering enables young people to feel part of their community and more included.
The impact of Covid-19
As with many activities planned for delivery during this time, Covid-19 changed what would have been a face-to-face project into a primarily digital project with the resources produced available electronically as a legacy of the project. NCVO research findings suggest ‘that the covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on volunteer management, organisation and experience, while motivations to volunteer remained largely the same as in pre-pandemic times’.
One of the primarily barriers to young people volunteering, particularly in the lower age bracket (under 18). This is a common theme among the Volunteering Providers across the county, that insurance policies impose a lower age limit, usually 18 years of age. Without insurance cover, formal volunteering cannot be offered (and as a CVC we are unable to promote volunteering opportunities that have no insurance for volunteers). Overcoming this will take a concerted effort by all involved, ensuring that cover can be provided, and the stipulations for such cover followed
Work with Carmarthenshire Youth Panel
We have been working closely with the Youth Participation Team, who facilitate the Youth Panel. The Youth Panel in turn are responsible for the management of the WCVA Youth Led Grant. The Panel receive applications to the fund, deliberate over the merits of the applications, and judge which applications are worthy of receiving the financial assistance.