Darren Oxbrow was a previous guest writer in his capacity as a Sergeant in the Suffolk Constabulary, heading up the C & YP and Schools Engagement team. Having recently taken the option of retirement from the Force, Darren is now Volunteer Manager at Volunteering Matters.
It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to introduce all the Student Life readers to Volunteering Matters, formally known as CSV (Community Service Volunteers).
Volunteering Matters is a national volunteering charity, created in 1962 and has worked to empower people to play an active role in their communities. Over 150,000 people across the UK volunteer with Volunteering Matters every year, touching the lives of over a million people nationwide and the organization has been leading UK volunteering, in policy and practice, for more than 50 years.
Volunteering Matters believes that every individual has something to give to their community and operates on the basis of a no rejection policy for volunteers. This is intended to promote diversity and to encourage participation in volunteering by all, regardless of their background and abilities.
Volunteering Matters aims to improve the lives of volunteers and of those they help. We aspire to create social change through partnerships with local authorities, voluntary organisations, health trusts, criminal justice agencies, schools and community groups.
To meet these challenges and opportunities, our strategy sets out three strategic aims:
- Increase our reach and impact
- Provide the best possible experience for volunteers and ensure that their voices are heard
- Provide leadership and effective volunteering; influencing public policy and public service design
We believe that everyone can play a role in their community and should have the chance to participate; we build projects and programmes to reflect this. We focus on the needs of four distinct communities; young people, disabled people, families and older people.
Benefits of Volunteering
There are a number of reasons why an individual wants to volunteer, a few of these are listed below:
Learning new skills, meeting new people, making a difference, helping others, creating change and improving our communities.
Volunteering can be rewarding, fulfilling and life changing for those who participate.
It can also be challenging and demanding depending on how you wish to get involved.
Volunteering can come in a number of different forms, it could be:
Part-time volunteering – Youth work, outdoors & gardening, sports camps, creative arts camps, retail, admin & reception, care & support work.
One-off events – Community events, local festivals, sports events, family fun days.
Social action – walking/running clubs, fundraising and community events.
Training – learning new skills, participating in training which benefits others, skills for youth volunteering.
Our Offer & current projects.
Currently we run a number of projects which offer people the opportunity to volunteer, these include projects such as:
Grandmentors – Individuals aged 50+ who Mentor young people leaving the care system and require support around independent living.
WASSUP (Women Against Sexual Exploitation Speak Up) – A group of young women who formed a social action group to address this issue. The group now delivers workshops in schools across Ipswich.
Young Boy Mentors (YBM) – Young adult men offering support, advice and guidance to young boys, who are vulnerable or at risk of offending.
The Anchor Project – Supporting young people with disabilities or additional needs, to improve social skills to assist with independent living.
KEO project (Knowledge Equals Opportunity) – Delivering to families and young people in schools, the importance of internet safety and personal safety.
Social Action – Activities for young people to participate in or even create.
The Copleston Community garden and our trailer refurbishment project.
Full time volunteering opportunities – Providing long term placements and opportunities to volunteer full-time.
Futures Suffolk – Providing young people with additional needs, the chance to create and participate in their own social action projects.
Over the coming months we will share more detail about the projects and programmes listed above and offer you all the opportunity to get involved and see if volunteering can offer you a life changing experience.
Do you as an individual have views or ideas about issues or problems which require change, better awareness or improvement for the benefit of the community and the wider public? Then let’s start that conversation.
Whatever it is you choose, we want to make sure your volunteering experience is the best it can be.
Come and pay us a visit at
The Old Crown Court,
Civic Drive, Ipswich, IP1 2DX