s a qualified and experienced Facilitator, Community Development Worker and Volunteer Manager, with a background in community centre management, workshop design, and people skills I have developed and supported groups, volunteers and individuals.
Having worked in a variety of settings and roles for a wide sector of community organisations, and with an extensive understanding of working structures have developed both organisational and administrative systems which have promoted a high level of learning from both practice and experience.
Through experiencing volunteering and paid work as an activist and reflective practitioner, I have developed both skill and knowledge to
know that I can confidentially undertake the role of Community Development Officer in this community to a high level.
The various roles undertaken in my last post has equipped me with the ability to build relationships within these communities so that I could be effective as a group member and a lone worker promoting social inclusion and being aware of the results of social exclusion.
My practice as a Community Development Worker starts from the base line of empowerment, building self-esteem, confidence and skills in those individuals who have a need to be active in their communities.
In my role as Volunteer Manager I have been capable of developing services, activities and events that have reflected the groups, volunteers and individuals need to come together around a common aim and be proactive in dealing with problems, learning to network, learning to use their voice and train to a good standard. I have had experience of developing the Quality Standards for both Volunteering and Information Guidance and Advice.
As a Centre Manager I able to access funding from a variety of funding streams and developed groups that created some sustainability for the centre, by bring in revenue through bookings and use of resources.
Eight groups were developed which met all the floor targets for the Government’s Renewal Process, and it was the reason that the centre was opened by the local neighbourhood management team which helped to meet the need within the community for access to Information Advice and Guidance, Services and Activities that “help build better communities.”
The groups developed in the focus point included:
Point Training: A training group that developed the policies and procedures for the centre and the volunteers many of whom had disabilities and were vulnerable adults. Theses policies needed to reflect their needs and protect them whilst working in the public domain. A volunteer hand book was developed for the weekly training sessions which included Life skills, Equal Opportunities, Dealing with Conflict, Transferable skills, Problem Solving, Health and Safety, Disability Awareness and Undertaking Risk Assessments.
£56,000.00 was accessed to train these volunteers.
Get Active for Recycled Teenagers: A older volunteer who had felt excluded within her community , wanted something that would meet the needs of older people in the area. It served to bring older people together to go walking and visiting different venues and developed into a friendship group. This lady was 78 when she began this group having never volunteered before; she formed a group and on a monthly basis over the two years took over 300 people out. She accessed £25,000.00 from the Community Chest and other funding streams.
Women Unite (making a difference):
Began in April 2004 and worked with their right and responsibilities in the community and developed a 12 week workshop to build self esteem, assertiveness skills safety and equal opportunities training. This was very successfully as there was no other group of this type in Mansfield. Women’s Groups from both Nottingham and Derby came to support the open day. This group accessed and fund raised over £14,000.00 to develop these workshops and had over 30 full time members.
Zone One Youth Group:
Working with the Youth Service the centre opened a cyber café in the evenings for young people. The outcome was that a range of service providers, councillors and volunteers came together to work on how to engage young people in the area and how to provide services for these young people. This proved to be at success with a new building being developed to provide these services. £28,000.00 was accessed to develop the Youth Centre.
Neighbourhood Management Team:
Developing Action Plans and writing minutes, and reports, gaining charitable status, developing sustainability, business planning and training in Committee skills, were the areas I worked mostly with this group. The sub group from this team had line management responsibility for the centre and they met quarterly.
A Focus Point or One Stop Shop used extensively with over 16,000 visitors in the first two years of opening. We developed the Quality mark for Information Advice and Guidance, and training sessions for volunteers and members of the public on a Friday. A friendly open atmosphere and a great deal of friendships and alliances were created because of this initiative. £69,000.00 of funding was accessed in order to equip the centre with the resources needed to develop skills.
The Newsletter group:
This was a changing and dynamic group of people who produced three newsletters and the publicity for the centre. £9,000.00 was accessed from various sources to develop communication skills. A website was supplies by MASP (Mansfield Area Strategic Partnership).
Over sixty volunteers who had little or no experience of volunteering worked together to create partnerships and networks with a wide variety of people these included PCT, Police, Colleges, Welfare Rights Groups, Mansfield CVS,
Enable, Help the Aged and many more. Match funding of some £50.000.00 would have been needed to create what the volunteers created by giving their time free.
I also represented the Management Team at the Mansfield Community Empowerment Network, the West Area Assembly and the Community Development Workers Forum.
In April we had an open day for The Year of the Volunteer with the theme of what volunteering had done for them and all those involved presented power point presentations.
It was a celebration of the work they had all done, over 60 people attended.
In May of this year I finished the first year of a Foundation Degree in Regeneration and Community at Derby University and through West Notts College, Nottingham Learning and Skills Council and MASP,
I was nominated as Learner of the Year overall for Mansfield 2005.
I feel that I have the right attitude, motivation and skills to develop the post of Community Development Officer and would welcome the opportunity to do so.
This year I have undertake a project in a deprived area of Nottingham City, the Best Companions Befriending and Visiting Service is a service for elderly and isolated people of two local housing estates, Leen Valley and Bestwood Estate, which is a large area with some 900 houses, high unemployment and low educational attainment.
Some 12 volunteers have bee recruited since Feb. 2006, trained vetted and become a group working toward providing a good service.
Funding is the next big issue so hope to up date soon.