New location for centre for those looking for voluntary work

There is a new location for a centre which works to guide those looking to get into volunteer work in Sleaford.
The new home for Voluntary Centre Services in North Kesteven, based in Bristol Arcade, Sleaford.The new home for Voluntary Centre Services in North Kesteven, based in Bristol Arcade, Sleaford.
The new home for Voluntary Centre Services in North Kesteven, based in Bristol Arcade, Sleaford.

Voluntary Centre Services has moved into new office space at 10 Bristol Arcade after relocating from space at The Old Mart that they had shared with the YMCA.

They officially opened on Tuesday March 5, with an open drop-in event morning for the local community which saw 38 people visit to find out more about volunteering, along with some who have taken part in their support groups as well as others who already did volunteer work.

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Their Sleaford office was originally based on Carre Street, opening in 2008 then moving to The Old Mart on Church Lane in 2015.

Steph Boyfield, Volunteering and Communities Lead at the centre, explained Voluntary Centre Services have operated for over 25 years now, supporting volunteers and voluntary and community organisations across West Lincolnshire.

"We have now relocated to Bristol Arcade, where we will have a more visible presence to be able to support more local people to connect with volunteering in their local communities through one-to-one appointments with trained Volunteer Advisors, who have expert local knowledge to offer advice on all aspects of volunteering.”

She said: “As well as operating accredited Volunteer Centres in Lincoln, Gainsborough and Sleaford that deal with over 2,000 volunteer enquiries each year, we can offer help to anyone wishing to set up a group, funding advice and access to news and networks in the voluntary and community sector. We have an active team of invaluable volunteers working alongside staff to deliver services across our districts."

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Information about potential volunteering roles is supplied by organisations such as charity shops and The Source.

The office operates five days a week, although is only open to the public on Tuesdays to Thursdays except by appointment. On Tuesdays the office operates as a volunteer centre, while on Wednesdays it doubles as a funding surgery for groups and organisations seeking grants and support.

Operations Manager for North Kesteven, Les Davidson added: “You might want to set up a little charity. We have a guy who will help you sort out funding and explain what you need to do to set up the charity such as what the Charities Commission needs from you such as having a treasurer, secretary and chief executive. They will also provide training for them to get you started off on the right track. It doesn’t cost you anything – we are here to help. Then if you need more volunteers you can come back to us for more help.”

Voluntary Centre Services is totally reliant on funding from local councils.

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Steph said: “We also deliver other projects across the North Kesteven area, including Multiply, which helps people wanting to improve their mathematics skills and to improve their confidence in using these skills in everyday life and Moving On, which supports people to move forward into employment, volunteering or training.”

Les said the team in Multipy think outside the box to educate clients, such as setting up a dominoes group or using cookery to learn measurements.

They also offer social prescribing in the west area of Lincolnshire and have several based at the Sleaford office, where their role is to enable health and care professionals such as local GPs to connect people with community services and opportunities that support wellbeing.People can refer themselves or be referred by a health professional or even by friends.

It may just be that the client is lonely and isolated and needs support and encouragement to build confidence. Social prescribing is a way of enabling people, with their consent, to make positive changes in their lives and within their communities by signposting and linking people to activities, voluntary and community groups and public services.

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Les said there is a team that set up a regular Thursday coffee morning at the Wetherspoons pub for clients who usually did not get out or speak to anyone. It has enabled a number of people to find work as a result.

VCS has a counterpart organisation for the east of the county called LCVS.

Les said all the team find great job satisfaction in what they do. He knew of one man who suffered blindness in one eye. The team arranged for him to volunteer at Lincoln County Hospital, sitting with patients in the waiting rooms. This led to him being recruited to help Lincoln University write programs for visually impaired people. He and another man with sight disabilities then wrote a gym fitness course for visually impaired people which is still used.

"He is one of the many people we help,” said Les, “You come away from work with nice feelings.”

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The team have recently launched a new digital platform, through the Lincolnshire Volunteers Programme, called Team Kinetic, which enables people to easily search and apply for volunteering roles online by just inputting their requirements. The link to the new website is here:

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