In 2013, Taff received grant funding from the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) to set up a supported volunteer programme. It was hoped from the programme that lives could be changed, and communities could be supported. It was clear from early on that the scheme was having these impacts and would be a clear success. Taff saw the need to continue to ensure long term sustainability for tenants and the community, so when WCVA’s funding came to an end, Taff decided to core fund the programme and rename it ‘Building Futures’.
Since Building Futures started, over 160 volunteers have gained valuable experience across 23 areas of business across Taff, with an additional 30 being supported to secure placements with local businesses and charities. 50 of these volunteers have progressed onto employment and credit their placement as a key factor in them achieving their employment goals.
Taff are now the first Welsh Housing Association to be accredited the Investing in Volunteers Standard. This has provided a benchmark against which we can measure our performance, identify gaps and unlock talent that already exists within our community. It is hoped that by achieving this standard, Taff are able to encourage more tenants to get involved and set a standard for other housing associations to aspire toward – unlocking the potential of tenants across Wales.
We asked volunteers past and present how the would like to celebrate achieving the standard and many replied asking if we were able to organise an afternoon tea party. This was held on the 19th of March at Pettigrew Tea Rooms, Roath Park.
Michaela, a past volunteer with Building Futures and who has secured her dream job as a Childcare Worker commented ‘I loved the afternoon tea, my first ever!’
Another commented: “ I got talking to Matthew from the Volunteering Centre and he’s going to get in contact with me so I can find out about the opportunities that they offer. That’s the great thing about volunteering at Taff; they provide so many opportunities and link you up with other organisations, giving you plenty of options”.
As a programme, we hope that Building Futures continues to grow and provide experiences and platforms for people to reach their goals and unlock potential.
Written by Senior Community Investment Officer, Clare Dickinson.