Volunteer Midlothian are very excited to announce that the Get Ready for Retail Beadazzling pop-up jewellery shop will be open to the public on Friday 1st August 2014, from 10am-4pm. The shop will sell ready-made pieces and customers will also have the chance to make their own beaded jewellery. Young volunteers from across Midlothian have been working hard to get the shop up and running, and we are looking forward to welcoming customers into the shop!
Community Work Placements is a scheme that aims to support people who need further support to get and keep employment. It involves work placements for the benefit of the community and work-related activity, with individuals spending up to 26 of these 30 weeks on a work placement, for 30 hours a week. Various different organisations will run Community Work Placements for Jobcentre Plus; in Midlothian this will be Midlothian Council, and LearnDirect.
The Midlothian Third Sector Interface (MVA, Volunteer Midlothian & SEAM) have concerns about the model, and our Boards recently voted to endorse the Voluntary Action Scotland statement on Community Work Placements, which is now our position on the matter. The statement in full:
“At Voluntary Action Scotland we believe firmly that volunteering must be a free will activity. It is done without coercion and not for financial gain. It is a public and civil good which is highly valued by the volunteer and those benefitting from the volunteers efforts. It is for these reasons that we are growing increasingly concerned about the introduction of Community Work Placements.
Effectively, Community Work Placements could be perceived as ‘mandatory’ volunteering, by most common definitions this is not volunteering at all. If the individuals involved do not take up the opportunity of a Community Work Placement where offered they will not receive their full benefit payment, this amounts to coercion or a financial penalty.
At present our members, Scotland’s network of 32 Third Sector Interfaces, are seeing local volunteer involving organisations being approached by contractors to take people on through Community Work Placements. This is putting additional pressures on volunteer involving organisations and stretching already limited resources even further. It has the potential to create conflict within an organisation as some volunteers will be there through their own choice, believing whole heartedly in the role they are undertaking, while others may be there under a ‘community placement’ and therefore not by choice.
It is our understanding that volunteer involving organisations are not receiving any additional financial resource for taking on individuals via the Community Work Placement scheme. Providing quality volunteering opportunities requires resource, the scheme could therefore lead to resources being diverted from those currently volunteering to supporting individuals on Community Work Placements within volunteering organisations. In this instance both the volunteers and those benefitting from volunteer led activities will suffer.
Whilst we do believe there are significant employability benefits to be gained from volunteering we do not believe this is the way to go about it. Volunteering is a free will activity and it is imperative that the DWP and contractors engage with Voluntary Action Scotland and partners to ensure that this remains the case. We must work together to keep volunteering voluntary.”
It does, of course, remain up to individual volunteer involving organisations in Midlothian to make their own decision as to whether they participate in this scheme. It is important to note that this scheme will only affect a small number of jobseekers: those who have already been through the work programme and for issues of motivation and lack of work experience have been unable to secure employment. We have always, and with the limited resources we have, will continue to make every effort to give support to individuals who are out of work and freely choose to offer their time to volunteering and hope that you will also continue to do this as a way of supporting them on their journey whilst utilising the skills, experience and time that they have to offer.
If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact Alison Rae, Volunteering Development Manager on 0131 660 1216 or email@example.com . If you have been approached by Learn Direct with regards to placing a jobseeker within your organisation and would like some advice on this also feel free to contact Alison.
Volunteer Midlothian & Midlothian Council Libraries
WW1 Project Coordinator
Salary: £23,232 (pro rata)
Salary info: 18 hours per week, 6 months fixed term contract
Closing Date: Monday 14 July 2014
Location: Dalkeith & Loanhead
The successful applicant will supervise a group of volunteers and engage with groups, organisations and individuals to identify information, photographs and artefacts relating to the Midlothian casualties of the First World War. Working closely with Midlothian Library Service, the Coordinator will contribute to the delivery of a Roll of Honour and promote the project with schools, individuals, local history societies and community groups. Experience of organising events/exhibitions is essential.
In celebration of Dementia Awareness Week (3-9 June) Retelling our Stories group hosted an event in Dalkeith Welfare Hall.
The Community Links Dementia Project, in partnership with Citadel Arts Group, has been working with people with dementia to help capture some of their life stories in a booklet. The culmination of hours of sharing was finally presented to an audience in the Welfare Hall Dalkeith on Wednesday 28th of May. Members of the group read out some excerpts from their stories followed by a musician encouraging a mixed audience to join in with songs, which highlighted their stories.
P6 pupils from Kings Park primary school were also amongst the audience and who shared some of their own research on Old Dalkeith. They followed the presentation with questions for some of the older people about Dalkeith in their day. The respect and interest shown by the pupils to the older generation was marked. One pupil who obviously enjoyed the event asked “Can I come back in primary 7 please?”
One of the older people in the group commented, “it was a brilliant day especially as it was lovely to see the bairns enjoying themselves.” A family carer said that as she listened, it wasn’t so much living memories, but loving memories.
And one older gentleman in the audience said “ I don’t know about bringing back memories but today has certainly given me some new ones.” It was a very successful day of cross generational engagement and respect. Thank you to Caroline Pearson for the photographs.