Scott Russell, Llanharan Drop In Centre and Interlink Youth Grant Panel Volunteer
Tell me what you do as a volunteer?
As a Volunteer with Llanharan Drop In Centre I support with the running of the Centre and produce its social media output. We didn’t have a social media presence and I thought we could help to promote the centre that way. Within four weeks of setting up the facebook and twitter accounts we saw an upsurge in attendance at the community café and in other services. People were saying “I didn’t even know you existed.” We publish menus for the café and have older as well as young people attending, aged from 0-100!
With Interlink’s Youth Led Grant Scheme, young people’s schemes apply for up to £500 to run projects. They pitch the idea to the Panel and we have the very hard decision to make on which projects to fund. We then have a Celebration evening to showcase the projects and their work in order to encourage volunteering.
How did you first get involved? What were your reasons for doing so?
I started volunteering through the drop in at the age of 10. I was helping to run an after school club at my school (Y Pant), then was invited to get involved in the centre. I met Jane Hawkshaw there and she has been the biggest influence on my volunteering. She gave me confidence, built my skills and told me “you will make a brilliant youth worker one day.” Then via the drop in I met Sue Phillips from Interlink RCT, and she put me in touch with the Youth Volunteering Adviser Thomas Crockett.
What difference has your volunteering made a) to yourself b) to others
I am now a paid Youth Worker and volunteering has given me skills to put into practice in that field. Volunteering has opened doors to my career – such as providing me with Youth Work qualifications. It is also through volunteering that I met Bev Phillips from Alison House Youth & Play Project who gave me my first paid job as a Youth Worker.
I put my skills into use to help others, for example I attended Sexual Health training, and since then we have launched a C Card scheme at the Centre for young people aged 13-25. I like to encourage new people to volunteer by sharing my personal experiences. I also feel I’m giving something back on the Youth Grants Scheme.
How did your volunteer centre help?
Sue Phillips got me involved with Interlink RCT, and the whole Team gave me opportunities to volunteer on a number of projects, including an open air Celebration of Volunteering known as “Festivol,” admin work and the Youth Grants Scheme. I learned new skills on the admin role and put them into practice supporting smaller organisations such as the Drop In Centre to enhance their ways of working. Festivol game me some experience of event management and I now run Club Nights for Under 18s.
Has your volunteering lead to any significant development that you want to highlight (eg if it has lead you to new employment, or a life changing decision).
It has directly lead to me getting employment. I have also met the Children’s Commissioner for Wales and am in regular contact with her to promote our schemes. I received an Award for Volunteering from the Glamorgan High Sheriff.
Can you describe volunteering in one sentence?
It is a life changing experience, as I have also learned to appreciate staff and value other volunteers too.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
I have also volunteered for a number of other organisations such as Spectacle Theatre, Rhondda Cynon Taff CBC, and the Children’s Commissioner in Wales’ Office. I’d like to thank everyone who’s been there throughout my time volunteering, and everyone who has supported me.
For more information about youth volunteering contact Thomas Crockett at Interlink on 01443 846200 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or volunteering contact Chris by email: email@example.com