Volunteers’ Week: Thank you to Steven

I would like to say a big thank you to Steven Pratt who joined us on the VPA scheme between February and April 2013. He had previously been volunteering with Action for Sustainable Living but was keen to participate in the VPA scheme to boost his project management experience and experience of working with volunteers in a leadership capacity.

During the programme he worked on the Practical Countryside Skills placement where he assisted me and colleagues in delivering our ten week PCS course aimed at job seekers in the local area. Steven brought with him his great experience of working with many volunteers in the past and knowledge about conducting conservation projects. His main roles were to support volunteers in their practical work out on site and theory work towards their qualification.

Steven teaching volunteers at Irkside
Steven teaching volunteers at Irkside

During these ten weeks Steven was brilliant with all the volunteers and a fantastic support to me in delivering sessions and keeping the course participants happy and motivated. It was fantastic for me knowing that the learners on the course could go to Steven and ask for his help and always come back with friendly guidance that would help them with their tasks. He always took a keen interest in making sure everybody in the group understood their tasks and offered help to allow learners to achieve their goals on a day to day basis. His willingness to spend time with anyone in the team made him a popular and much respected figure in the group.

Although Steven came into the placement with a wealth of previous knowledge it was great to see him take up such a great attitude in wanting to learn as much as he could during his placement. His application during the placement allowed him to develop a deeper understanding of the delivery of the qualification and the standards that were expected of the learners. As a result he was able to grow in confidence to the point that at the end of the course he was leading sessions and engaging the learners so that they learnt about the topics they needed in order to complete their course paperwork. The standards of these sessions were excellent and well received by the learners on the course.

For me it was always obvious that Steven had the potential to meet his objective in being comfortable and having the confidence to take the lead in activities. It was fantastic to see through his own motivation and application that he was able to achieve this during the placement. He has certainly developed in his own ability and that is credit to his own attitude to work. I am sure the way he has developed will stand him in good stead in the future.

To have someone like Steven supporting me on the course was amazing and his hard work made the delivery of the course to our learners much smoother and more enjoyable. So once again I would like to say a big thank you to him as his work played a huge part in making the course a success and I am so grateful he volunteered his time to us.

By Matthew Lynwood, Education & Communities Project Officer and Practical Countryside Skills course leader at Groundwork Oldham & Rochdale.

Volunteers’ Week takes place from 1-7 June 2013 and this year’s Volunteers’ Week
focusses on saying ‘Thank You’ to the millions of volunteers who regularly
contribute to society.



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