Meet the members of our Youth Steering Group ‘Make It Happen’
The steering group is made up of young people aged 15 – 22 years old. Recently, they have researched the barriers young people in East Renfrewshire are facing when moving on to their next steps. This incredible group have been instrumental in the success of this research. Read below to learn more about these amazing young people and watch this space to see what happens next for the group!
The success of this programme to date will lead to the submission of a funding application. We aim to continue the work started by this group as well as expand the wider youth volunteering programme. This will include personalised 1:2:1 support, group volunteering opportunities and a preparation for volunteering programme.
Read the interview with Connor to find out more about what he has gained through his volunteering experience
Anna: We would love to know Connor what you think you have gained in terms of skills or personal development from doing any of the volunteering that you have done?
Connor: Throughout all of my volunteering experiences I’d say from the steering group I have learned a lot to do with my communication skills. Through meeting new people, which was nerve-racking at first, to now talking to them, making new friends, that sort of thing, but also with my i-kick volunteering. At ‘I-‘kick’ I have learned that people react to differently to different situations like when they are new to a group or if they are isolated. Being there to help is just amazing.
Anna: Thinking about the things that you have gained , like putting yourself in uncomfortable situations, do you think that some of the things you have learned will stand you in good stead when going into new situations yourself?
Connor: These experiences have shown me just to go for it, don’t be shy and just put yourself out there are much as you can!
Anna: Thinking about the volunteering that you have done, what do you feel the impact of your volunteering has done for the people on the receiving end of it?
Connor: At Norwood Care Home my partner and I made our resident very emotional with what we presented her with. We presented her with a flashback to her earlier self which stirred up a few emotions for everyone! It’s really good for the resident to see a friendly face.
Anna: How did you feel being part of the online event we did for employers and seeing the responses of the employers to the training and what we were presenting?
Connor: From what we seen it is clear that everyone wants new people to see what its like to have your own business, what its like to find the opportunities to get you to where you want to be in your future.
Read the interview with Iona to find out more about the impact of volunteering.
Anna: Iona, tell us about what you have gained through volunteering?
Iona: Being around a group of people gives you more more confidence when you’re speaking to people you’ve never met before. If you’re volunteering somewhere together, you already have something in common with them. Being part of something like a steering group, like I have been, improves your critical thinking. I think it also improves your social skills when speaking about what would be better regarding the issues being discussed.
Anna: What do you think the impact of the volunteering you have been part of is?
Iona: I think with the work we did, employers are more aware of the difficulties young people face when they are trying to get a job, volunteering or work experience. The evidence shows that young people are facing different problems than other generations and also that Gen Z are an asset to the work force when you give them a chance and support them, rather than viewing them as lazy.
The Funder of Newton Mearns Community Help Services
Read the short interview with Sam to learn about what he has got out of volunteering and running his own volunteering group
Anna: Sam, what is it that you have got out of volunteering and setting up your own volunteer involving organisation?
Sam: Definitely more relationships with the community because you tend to know everybody once you get into something like this. Also gives other people a chance to get involved, especially at our age, it’s not the “normal” thing to do. It’s also good fun as well, the residents love to chat!
Anna: What do you think it has developed in you as a person?
Sam: It was really my granny that started getting me into this. I help in her Shelter shop. It’s mostly elderly customers in there. When Covid started and people were needing help, I was used to what the basics were.
Denise: When you were in the charity shop with your gran, what kind of skills did you build?
Sam: Communication and team work, you need to work as a team, someone does the till, someone does the clothes, you all talk to people. You might be the only person that person speaks to all day.
Anna: Have you always been confident to start things up or has that grown over time?
Sam: Without being cocky, yeah (Lots of laughing!)
Anna: You are a go-getter aren’t you? You see something that needs done or you want to do and you just go for it! I don’t think you see the problems as much as you see the potential. That is really good! You mentioned a wee bit there about talking to people and the fact that in the shop you might be the only person they talk to in a day, and that is one of the benefits for the people that NMCHS serves, what else do you think the residents that you help gain from what you and the other volunteers are doing?
Sam: It’s someone to rely on. For example, there was a woman completely on her own during Covid as her family live in Skye, she was shielding so couldn’t go out and do shopping, she asked us to help and that’s how it all started!
Anna: Ah, so that’s what kick started it. You were doing things for people at that point that they couldn’t do for themselves.
Denise: It was like a life-line for them.
Sam: Takes a lot for people to trust people with their money etc. We collected the money for their shopping on the way to the shops. But once we got to know them, we went every week. We tried to send the same volunteers to the residents. They enjoyed getting to know one another.
Anna: post-Covid with the needs of people changing, has what NMCHS offers changed?
Sam: It has definitely changed. We do a newsletter on a Sunday. People can sign up for it. We distribute it, it has information and a quiz etc. The residents benefit from it so that’s why we do it.