Student listens to online lesson on tablet while a volunteer teacher helps another student in an English for Speakers of Other Languages class

Create opportunities in Wales through Volunteering Wales grants

Published : 09/10/23 | Categories: Funding | Volunteering |

The Volunteering Wales grant scheme has supported organisations like the Welsh Refugee Council to improve access to volunteering for people of all ages and from every aspect of society.

INTRODUCTION TO VOLUNTEERING WALES GRANTS

Volunteering Wales Grants are part of our commitment to Welsh Government’s Volunteering Policy: Supporting Communities, Changing Lives, 2015. Welsh Government has pledged to increase volunteer opportunities and believes that the strongest communities include people who are willing to step up and get things done.

Working in partnership with Welsh Government, through the grant scheme we have assisted a variety of organisations throughout Wales to promote and improve volunteering and embed it into their culture.

VOLUNTEERING FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION

The Welsh Refugee Council (WRC) have worked across four cities: Cardiff, Newport, Swansea, and Wrexham to provide opportunities for asylum seekers and refugees to participate in volunteering. WRC’s ‘Volunteering for Social Inclusion’ project aims to raise participants’ self-esteem, reduce their sense of isolation, and boost their self-confidence.

The support through training and development with the project has significantly reduced barriers for asylum seekers and refugees that are seeking out and signing up for volunteer opportunities and in return has increased the number of them participating in volunteering. Thanks to Volunteering Wales grant funding between 2022-2023, WRC gained 63 active volunteers, contributing 4,744 hours of support in roles including: English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Employability, Play Group, Fundraising, Triage, Reception, Advocates and Peer Mentors.

WRC said:

‘In our 33-year history we have never had so many volunteers across Wales supporting our work. This funding has enabled us to grow our volunteer network, the type of roles we have available and utilising hybrid/remote volunteering more. From everyone at WRC – thank you!’

The funding has also helped WRC celebrate their volunteers through multiple events. The Welsh Refugee Showcase took place in June 2023 and was a celebration of communities, organisations, and individuals produced with the volunteers and the communities they represent. The WRC also incorporated volunteer feedback and community expertise into their way of working by establishing the Lived Experience Forum. This forum saw a committed group of volunteers meet bi-monthly to influence the services and project and try and combat issues affecting the sector.

WHAT NEXT?

WRC have been successful in obtaining their second year of Volunteering Wales grant funding up to the Autumn of 2024, with the goal of improving the experience of their volunteers by delivering training and encouraging them to explore the sector for wider opportunities. We are eager to hear more about how this funding will impact the lives of volunteers and beneficiaries.

APPLY TO THE VOLUNTEERING WALES MAIN GRANT SCHEME

The 4th round of the Volunteering Wales Main Grant is now open for applications with a closing date of 22 December 2023. If you would like to you can find out more here or you can call the team on 0300 111 0124, selecting option 3 to reach the Grants Team.

An information session will be held online on the 17 October 2023 at 10 am – 12 pm. Please email volwalesgrants@wcva.cymru if you would like to attend.

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