Hawick Whole Town Approach to Volunteering

Volunteers unite for Whole Town Approach 

Whether it's lighting up the town for Christmas, coaching our sports teams or helping out at our beloved Common Riding, volunteers provide a lifeblood which pumps through the veins of the grey auld toon.

And, this week, an innovative project to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Hawick by getting more Teries volunteering, has been launched.

Hawick – Whole Town Approach to Volunteering is a partnership being led by Teviot & Liddesdale Learning Community Partnership, with support from the Council's Community Learning and Development Team, NHS Borders and Volunteer Centre Borders along with a whole host of locally-based organisations and charities.

It aims to encourage and promote volunteering and the benefits of volunteering in the Teviotdale area.

Over the next three years a number of initiatives will run which collectively will increase the pool of volunteers in the area to both help support service provision and ensure social activities in the town continue.

Councillor Robin Tatler, Scottish Borders Council's Voluntary Sector Champion, said: "It is extremely positive that a whole town approach to volunteering is being taken by the Teviot & Liddesdale community. The partnership's three-year action plan will ensure that some quick successes can be made, as well as planning ahead for some bigger projects over year two and three."

The partnership held their first meeting in November and such was the support that the gathering had to be moved to a larger room in Burnfoot Community School to accommodate the groups, charitable organisations and individuals in attendance.

"It is great that so many partners are involved and have an interest in driving this priority forward," added Councillor Tatler.

Volunteer Centre Borders Executive Officer, Gordon Brown, commented: "Volunteering is essential to both community resilience and to individual wellbeing.

"In Hawick there are already countless people who devote their time and expertise to providing services and activities locally, without which lives would be a lot poorer. However, we cannot take these people for granted and there is always a need for more volunteers to come forward.

Part of the work of the steering group for the Whole Town Approach project will be to encourage people to think differently about volunteering.

"There are those who think volunteering is not for them," stated Mr Brown, "We will aim to prove otherwise!"

Allyson McCollam, Associate Director of Public Health, commented: "Having an empowered, vibrant community makes a real difference to people's health and wellbeing.

"Volunteering in your community is one way to play your part and enrich your life by helping others as well as improving the lives of others' through helping them.

"The strength of community in Hawick is impressive and everyone has something unique that they can offer."

Anyone wishing to get involved in the Whole Town Approach project should contact SBC's Community Learning and Development Team in Hawick on 01450 375147.


CASE STUDIES 

Escape Youth Café

The Youth Committee at Escape have between them volunteered in the region of 1000 hours, not only at meetings, events and fundraisers through Escape but also several community and other charity events throughout the town. They have assisted at Bright Eyed Daughters events, the Border Club, transition work with primary schools, and individual and other charities coffee mornings including the Opera and Borders Exploration Group members events. Not only do they work hard to make Escape a safe and inviting space for other young people, but they are also a great credit to us and excellent role model for other young people when involved in other events.  They are always keen to help plan and organise in addition to helping on the day of events and have given up countless hours of their time in the evenings and weekends when they could be do doing their own thing but choose to help others first.  They are first to arrive and last to leave and ask if there is anything they can assist with rather than us approaching them.  They never look for any thanks or acknowledgement and just get the job done to the best of their abilities.  Some of the longer serving members have volunteered for over 6 years where we have seen their confidence, self-worth and skills increase significantly and as a group take pride in the town where they live; with an overwhelming desire to support and help others.  We can’t thank them enough for their time and efforts.

Hawick Scout Group

There was a time when Angela Cumming thought outdoor adventure was something that other people pursued. That was back in 1987, since then she has gone on to take part in expeditions to Kenya, Vietnam, India and even the foothills of the Himalayas. It was an invitation to join the Hawick Scout Group which changed everything and gave Angela an exciting new purpose in life. “I never envisaged doing any of those amazing trips, but volunteering with Scouts has helped me to experience life differently,” says Angela. “It’s opened doors to new opportunities and friendships. I’ve developed so many new skills and a huge sense of achievement by helping young people to get more out of life.” As the Hawick Group Scout Leader, Angela encourages anyone thinking of volunteering to consider Scouts. “It’s not just about helping others, Scouting gives you so much in return and it’s great fun. We’re looking to welcome a wide range of people to support the group. If you’re good at arts and crafts, a joiner who can help build bird boxes, a gardener with a flair for planting pots or anything in between, we’d love to hear from you. Whether you can take part regularly, or even as a one-off, please get in touch to share your skills.” Scouts offer flexible volunteering opportunities where you only give the time you can afford, be that a few hours a week, a month or even a year. “There are superb training opportunities when you volunteer with Scouts,” says Angela. “Plus a big boost to your confidence and a real sense of belonging.” To find out more about making a valuable difference with Hawick Scout Group visit www.borderscouts.org.uk

Family Support Services/Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland

James began volunteering in Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland on Hawick High Street where he built up his skills.  He has recently, with support from Family Support Services (FSS) managed to gain temporary employment at a local store.  James has been out of work for 18 years and feels that volunteering has improved his skills and abilities especially in customer care.  With having the skills and confidence and support from volunteering and FSS he is now back in employment and is seeking permanent work and applying for other roles.  Before this opportunity James was not focused on looking for employment and only when he started at FSS and in the volunteering role he gained a belief and direction.

Alchemy

Hello! I'm Jessie, the Marketing Co-ordinator for Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival 2019. I was introduced to Alchemy by a friend in 2014, who suggested I join in with a series of workshops they were running though the winter. Through that, I produced my first ever film, and got to know many of the volunteers at Alchemy who were on the course. I volunteered for the 2015 and 2016 festivals, helping out with exhibitions, social media, hospitality, and generally trying to be helpful! I met a whole bunch of fellow volunteers, who I'm mostly still in touch with today! In 2016, I was asked to work on some admin in the Alchemy office in a paid position, and continued to volunteer at the 2017 festival, before applying for the Marketing Coordinator role for the 2018 festival.

Healthy Living Network

 My name is Ian Gibson and I have volunteered my time for many years now. My volunteering journey started off with attending the Lunch Group with HLN whilst it took place at the ‘flat’ beside the shops in Burnfoot. I started coming along so it could help me get out the house and allow me to eat something proper but after a while I started to help the volunteers to clean up afterwards. I enjoyed having a purpose and it gave me a chance to have a laugh and enjoy myself. After a while I was asked if I wanted to be a Healthy Living Network volunteer and I agreed. I am now volunteering with more than just the lunch club and volunteer with the reminiscence group on a Tuesday as well.  My journey at the beginning to now has changed quite a lot. I started off helping with teas and coffees, dishes and helping with the clear up, now I am, with the support of Shirley (head volunteer cook), helping to prepare meals, making healthy food and learning new skills.  A big achievement of mine which I never thought I would pull off has been taking on the tasks of the food allergies sheet, meal planning and completing my food hygiene course. My first pudding I made was pineapple upside down cake which has proven to be a continued hit with the Lunch Club. From developing my cooking skills I am also cooking more meals at home, asking for help if I am finding something difficult and more aware of how to make meals like soup.  Not only has my volunteering helped me learn new skills but has allowed me to have the confidence to take part in other groups in my community. My confidence has improved lots; I enjoy meeting and helping people and feel a valued and appreciated volunteer within the groups that I help with. My hope for the future in my volunteer journey is that I continue to learn new things and support other people who would like to volunteer as I have gained a lot over the years being a HLN volunteer in my community.

 Police Service of Scotland

 In his capacity of Youth Community Beat Officer in Burnfoot, Stuart Lunt was continually receiving calls regarding issues around a specific juvenile who was displaying behaviour issues that were very similar to a young person he dealt with many years ago. He approached the latter, now a mother herself and through determination and hard work has managed to turn her life around. Stuart takes up the story: “I asked her if she would be prepared to meet with the young person and talk to her about her life experiences and how she came to the decision that her life needed to change and what she did to cause that change. She agreed and for no benefit to herself met this young person and spent some time with her talking and in some way has made a difference to this young person who has made not significant but some change to her lifestyle. For me this showed both courage and a sense of community spirit for this person to put herself the position of trying to help others.”

 One Step Borders CIC

 One Step Borders supports local young people aged 16-25 who are experiencing emotional or mental health pressures. We help them to explore concerns and worries as well as working together on healthy coping mechanisms and improving social inclusion. Alongside the employed Youth Project Workers we have just finished training our first batch of Volunteer Peer Mentors. They committed to attending six sessions during October and November 2018 finding out about challenges that young people may face, learning how to cope with difficult situations and developing practical ways to promote positive mental wellbeing, resulting in a Level 2 accredited qualification “Developing Youth Mentoring Skills” with One Awards. Some are already starting to meet with young people in the community, helping them to achieve positive steps towards their goals. They have been a fantastic group of enthusiastic volunteers aged from 18 – 50+ from a wide range of backgrounds and we are very proud to have them as part of the team. We are planning a second round of training in 2019 and would love to hear from anyone particularly in Hawick who might be interested and can spare a couple of hours a week to help change the lives of young people.

 Abundant Borders

Lorna is a woman in her 50s who has completed the Permaculture Foundation and Healthy Cooking courses with Abundant Borders. She’s currently unemployed but says that being a volunteer means that she has “a reason to get out of bed, and a focus for the day.” She’s really enjoyed meeting lots of new people and learning their life stories. As a result she now feels less isolated and more connected to her community as she often see these people when she’s out and about in Hawick.

 Being more connected also means that she’s more likely to hear about other opportunities available to her, whether that’s possible jobs, training courses or social events. Lorna says that volunteering has given her more confidence in speaking to people that she doesn’t know. She’d encourage others to get involved in volunteering as for her “It gets you out of the house and keeps you fit. You also have the reward of seeing the garden grow.”


PHOTOGRAPHS 

 abuntant borders lorna 1  award winners 18a
 chest heart  stroke scotland christine wakefield arlene rawlins jock shiells paul okroj  escape youth cafe top teri award winners
 hawick group scout leader angela cummings with beaver scouts  jessie gowden alchemy 2 002
 jessie gowden alchemy  john frew
live borders one step borders cic volunteers
reivers stall 18 walled gardens 1
walled gardens 2 walled gardens 3