Volunteers are the life blood of many local organisations. Their work supports projects, customers and communities across the world. For many people being a volunteer also provides a sense of self-worth, improving confidence, self esteem and social skills. Prospects, the employment, education, skills and care company, understands the importance of volunteering for many people wanting to return to work.
Prospects runs the government’s Work Programme, supporting people who are long term unemployed gain skills to get back into work. For many the biggest barrier is the way they feel about themselves. Low self esteem and a lack of confidence is debilitating, it isolates people making it harder for them to build relationships and social networks.
Will, from Glastonbury, joined the Work Programme having not worked since 2008. The time he spent out of work left Will isolated with mental health issues. Recognising Will’s vulnerabilities Prospects suggested Will consider voluntary work as a stepping stone to employment. Will has now been volunteering at the Magdalene Chapel (St Margaret’s) in Glastonbury for more than year, helping tend their gardens. Will’s confidence has grown and he has taken on tasks around the gardens that had previously required paid contractors, saving the gardens money.
This July, Will’s hard work paid off as St Margaret’s Chapel won first prize for Best Community Space in the annual Glastonbury in Bloom competition.
Speaking after receiving the award Will said: “Being able to share this in this award win fills me with such pride and sense of worth, I would encourage other people who believe they cannot work to consider volunteering, I couldn't be more in favour or happier to share my experience.”
Will added: "This is my best summer for a long, long time.”
Tim Curtis from Prospects added: “Seeing the way Will has grown in confidence and become a valued member of the St Margaret’s team is very rewarding. For us at Prospects, ensuring the people we work with are supported to make their own choices about their lives is vital. Although as a company we do not benefit when someone enters voluntary work we see the benefits for the individual and for their local community.
“Being out of work is economically damaging, people who are long term unemployed often have increased health and care costs. Being employed, whether that is in paid employment or as a volunteer gives people a sense of worth, a regular commitment and value.”
“We wholeheartedly believe that the Work Programme is about more than just getting people back to work, it’s about giving them back their lives.”
To find out more about the work Prospects does to help get the south west working contact www.prospects.co.uk or http://www.gettingthesouthwestworking.co.uk/.
Alona de Havilland
07790 803882 or 01823 362804
Senior Communications Manager
020 8315 1023 or 07901 922211