The programme has been launched by Community Action Suffolk and is funded by East Suffolk Community Partnerships and East Suffolk Council.
The Volunteer Pathways Programme is inspired by the NCVO Volunteering for Stronger Communities project that was intended to increase levels of volunteering within disadvantaged groups and communities, improve employability through volunteering and the resources of volunteer involving organisations.
The project found that volunteering improved employability and one in five of survey participants had found paid work and others felt more confident about finding paid employment. The report also found that people facing barriers to employment with low self-esteem, isolation, health problems or low levels of social capital, are often prevented from participating in volunteering for the same reasons.
Participants will engage with training to build confidence and move towards paid employment through the 1-year Volunteering Pathways programme. This will build on the incredible community response to Covid-19, with large numbers of people involved with informal and formal volunteering and finding that they increased their chance of employment, improved health and wellbeing, and reduced feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Cllr Steve Gallant, Leader of East Suffolk Council and Chair of the East Suffolk Community Partnerships Board said: “Getting involved in volunteering brings a host of benefits, including improved confidence, raised aspirations, increased mental and physical wellbeing and the opportunity to acquire new skills. Through this scheme, we hope to encourage more people to become volunteers, as either a steppingstone towards employment or to use their skills and experience to help others within their communities.”
Chris Abraham, Community Action Suffolk’s, Chief Executive, explains, “I am delighted that this vital project is being launched. Not only will it allow participants to have a kickstart into employment through volunteering, but it will also help organisations include innovative and diverse roles to encourage more people to volunteer.”