Northumberland CVA (NCVA) provides two interventions for the Bridge Northumberland programme, as well as being the lead partner for the whole programme.
Supported Volunteering with buddies
Our Supported Volunteering project encourages beneficiaries on the Bridge programme, regardless of their barriers, to gain confidence, self-esteem and transferable skills for the workplace by undertaking volunteering with the support of a buddy so they are hopefully able to move into unsupported volunteering, training or employment.
We recruit Volunteer Buddies to support the beneficiaries, to undertake volunteering and who may transport them to and from the opportunity.
Buddies will also liaise with Northumberland CVA, beneficiaries and volunteer placement organisations to ensure that beneficiaries have a positive volunteering experience and are able to reach their own potential.
Bridge Connectors – supporting new clients
Bridge Connectors are existing beneficiaries of Bridge Northumberland who are able to share their experience and understanding of the programme with a new beneficiary coming in and will be able to support the new beneficiary’s development.
They provide 1:1 support to new beneficiaries in a variety of roles including;
- A befriending role; giving the new beneficiary support and confidence to stay on the programme
- Supporting new beneficiaries in attending appointments and interviews (GP/Citizen Advice/volunteering interviews)
- Support in accessing foodbanks and shopping on a budget
- Supporting beneficiaries to engage in new hobbies and community activities including volunteering
Services adapted to Covid-19 restrictions
As the opportunities to volunteer are very limited during lockdown, our Bridge Connectors, with the help of Volunteer Buddies, are supporting beneficiaries online over Zoom. The weekly training sessions see people paired up into breakout rooms with supervision for chats and mutual support.
People are finding the sessions incredibly valuable when social interaction is so limited during lockdown. Our Bridge Connectors assisted with the setup of the sessions and one suggested using the ‘One Page Profile’ for everyone to complete which details interests to provide an ‘ice breaker’ when meeting for the first time.
Bridge Connector & Buddy Forums are held monthly over Zoom. Training so far has included LGBT Awareness, Emotional Resilience, Domestic Abuse Awareness and much more. Forthcoming sessions will include Peer Mentoring training, First Aid, Thriving Minds and Show Racism the Red Card.
Sarah Tate from NCVA who runs the sessions said:
“The Zoom support sessions have been extremely well received and have helped reduce social isolation. Technology has proved incredibly useful in such difficult times when it has not been possible to meet face to face.”
To find out more about both interventions contact: [email protected]