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Volunteers' Week 2019: Stories from our Creative Ageing Volunteering programme

It's Volunteers' Week 2019!

This also coincides with the end of our pilot Creative Ageing Volunteering Development Programme (CAV) - a project running in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire over the past year.

The project has involved recruiting creative volunteers from a wide range of disciplines to deliver arts workshops for older people in sheltered housing settings. Following a rich and detailed programme of training, 15 volunteers were placed within Craft Cafe workshops in Linwood, Paisley, Barrhead and Johnstone.

Volunteers' Week has been the perfect opportunity to thank these volunteers for everything they have brought to the programme - hard work, creativity, imagination and compassion. Here on the blog, we highlight some of the inspirational stories coming out of the volunteers' CAV experiences. Read on below!

The pilot has been a tremendous success, and - pending funding - we hope to be able to develop projects to build on CAV in the near future.

 


Luisa's Story


“I’ve had a wonderful volunteering experience.”

My time with Impact Arts has been incredibly valuable. On a personal level I feel a marked difference in my self-confidence; it now sits more in line with my ambitions for my own creative practice, as well as running my own workshops in the future.

This confidence was cultivated through a supportive and informative environment. My training felt thorough and a good mix of practical and theoretical learning. I learned what my role was as a volunteer and what community arts entails. I also learned step-by-step how to structure a block of workshops, accounting for everything from individual materials required each week, to calculating the length of each session and outlining aims.

I felt well-supported, and found it beneficial having Impact Arts creative staff on hand. They offered guidance, encouragement, and positive, constructive feedback. It’s been refreshing being surrounded by artists of different backgrounds and having the opportunity to learn new creative skills myself.

Overall I’ve had a wonderful volunteering experience and can’t recommend Impact Arts enough to anybody interested in community arts!

 

Lucia's Story

"It’s been life-changing."

It’s been a really positive experience. I was quite scared at first, but I’ve gained loads of confidence. I’ve found that I can contribute to a workshop environment through being friendly and approachable and able to give clear instructions. I feel more organised and trained in delivering to the community. It complements what I am doing at college.

The programme has really exceeded my expectations and I’ve surprised myself by being able to stick it out and feel I have something contribute. I’ve got to know new like-minded creative people, built new networks and gained hands-on creative experience.

I got involved because I was interested in community work but lacked experience. This has been a good stepping stone - a step forward in where I want to go in my career.

I’d like to thank everyone - the older people and the staff at Impact Arts. It’s been life-changing.

 

Lia's Story

“It has been a beautiful experience.”

I enjoy delivering activities because its fun and people enjoy it. I have learned that every member is different and have specialised needs, approaches and desires. I help them to express themselves, explore, have fun and enjoy activities, show them that to be creative isn’t necessarily being an artist.

Volunteering has encouraged me to do what I like, pursue my dreams and build my confidence. I have been surprised to see how much the members have enjoyed it and they are surprised to see their own achievements.

I have taken away that I have potential in my way of seeing creativity and expression; I would volunteer with older people again for sure! It has been a wonderful experience that’s let me appreciate my skills and potential!

 

Mhairi's Story


“I didn’t realise just how much I would get in return and how much I would learn from this experience, or how much fun we would have.”

I wanted to get back into doing something creative as I hadn’t had the opportunity since graduating from art school and I wanted to be involved in a longer term volunteering programme so that I could really get to know the members of the workshops and work with them doing something that they enjoyed.

I have really enjoyed working with all of the older people and having fun while creating art with them. I support and encourage other people, and I feel that this makes a difference to them. The part I have enjoyed the most has been seeing their confidence in their abilities grow with each class and each technique they were taught. I was really surprised at how confident the members became when trying new things and embracing the workshops.

As we get older it is easy to lose your confidence when it comes to learning new skills, but we are never too old to learn. The fact that the members grew so much in confidence and embraced the learning experience taught me that it’s never too late to try new things.

I have gained confidence in my teaching abilities as, although I had worked with older people before it wasn’t within this type of a workshop where you had everyone doing different things. Having the experience of switching between different things has been great. My expectations have been surpassed, as I didn’t think everyone would get as involved in all the different workshops and be as excited about them as we were! All of the members were amazing!

Volunteering has been such an amazing opportunity. It is such a rewarding thing to do and it’s mutually beneficial for both the volunteers and the members. I have learned a lot about myself, and how to communicate my ideas. The members have learned lots of new skills that I know they had fun learning and I had fun teaching.

 

 

The CAV programme has been funded through the Scottish Government's Aspiring Communities fund and the European Social Fund, which invaluable support and partnership from Linstone Housing, Barrhead Housing Association, Engage Renfrewshire and Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire.

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The team at Impact Arts work hard to secure over £1.5m of funding per year to provide life changing creative experiences for more than 5000 people.

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