New £1m volunteering project to get youngsters involved

Posted On 05 Feb 2010 at 11:15 am

Brighton and Hove City Council has been given a £1million grant to get thousands more 14 to 16-year-olds involved in community works.

A council press release follows:

The city is one of only five areas in the country chosen by the government to take part in a ‘Community Service’ pilot scheme. It’s a joint venture between the city’s Children and Young People’s Trust, the Creating Futures charity and v, the national young volunteer service.

Around 1,200 young people here are already involved in schemes such as Duke of Edinburgh or the Brighton & Hove Youth Awards. Starting in April, the new scheme aims to increase that figure to more than 4,000 over the next 18 months.

Community and volunteer coordinators in all our secondary schools will be supported by junior youth action teams that will decide what activities are developed and encourage young people to log their participation.

In some cases this could count towards nationally recognised volunteering awards, and in others it could actually become part of their curriculum. Volunteering activities are expected to include:

• Schools developing social enterprises with social entrepreneurs as mentors to raise money for good causes

• Environmental projects including clean-up days around schools

• An additional 300 coaching training places linking with the city’s Take Part International Festival of Sport

• Projects focusing on growing, cooking and eating more local food

• A city-wide ‘Community Reporters’ project training young people to produce content for local community newspapers, radio and websites.

Portslade Community College student James Lovelidge does around 12 hours a week volunteering at a variety of play and youth clubs, and also helps organise a football session at the college on Saturday afternoons for young people.

James said: “Volunteering is great fun. It’s given me the chance to try different things and it has helped my confidence. When I started I wasn’t great at communicating with people but I’ve really improved.

“I’ve learnt a lot about working with children and organising activities and sport and it keeps me really busy. Helping other people, especially young children makes you feel good. I’m part of a great team and I feel like I’m making a difference.”

The council’s cabinet member for children and families, Councillor Vanessa Brown, said: “I believe this it could trigger a whole cultural shift here, opening up a whole new realm of possibilities for thousands of young people.”

The project will also look into recruiting long term unemployed people to help out via the council-led Future Jobs Fund project.

Brighton & Hove has a long and honourable tradition of volunteering. It’s estimated that there are currently around 19,200 people here doing a total of nearly 60,000 hours per week.

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