Volunteering in Chesterfield

Volunteering in Chesterfield: a gateway for developing your skills and career

This month we are celebrating the Voluntary Community Sector; volunteering doesn’t just help others, it’s also a great way to develop your own skills.

There are lots of obvious benefits to volunteering – a sense of accomplishment and being able to give back to others. But volunteering can also be a gateway to develop your career, by widening your experience and learning new skills.

Volunteering can help to develop your career

Meet Martha Bramwell, Projects Apprentice at Chesterfield-based community organisation Junction Arts.

Martha Bramwell Junction Arts

Martha demonstrates how volunteering can help progress your career, she originally started at Junction Arts as an intern in December 2020 but has recently progressed into a full-time Projects Apprentice role.

She said: “I am delighted to be enrolled at Chesterfield College doing the Level 3 Team Leader Apprenticeship. During the apprenticeship I am looking forward to building my confidence, developing my leadership skills, and improving my communication skills. I am so grateful to be able to continue my journey at Junction Arts. So far, I have been supporting ‘This Girl Codes’ project by creating social media and doing project research. I’m really enjoying helping to deliver projects and one day I hope to be able to run my own projects helping people like me.”

Details of volunteering opportunities at Junction Arts can be found here.

Find out more about becoming an apprentice in Chesterfield here.

Looking to hire an apprentice?

Hiring an apprentice can bring a wealth of benefits to your organisation and employers in the community and voluntary sector can benefit from funding towards apprenticeship training. Explore the different funding opportunities available here.

One of the funding opportunities is through the government Levy Transfer service. As an organisation, you can use this service to apply for funding from large businesses who can transfer up to 25% of their Levy, providing 100% funding of your apprenticeship training and assessment costs. Find out more and search the available funding opportunities here.

Opportunities to volunteer in Chesterfield

Not only can you develop new skills and gain different experience through volunteering. It can also be used as a way to raise your profile, meet new people, and see what a paid role in a particular career might be like.

There are lots of volunteering opportunities available in Chesterfield that can help develop your chosen career:

Junction Arts at the Tapton Lock Festival

Posted in About Chesterfield, Apprentice Town, Blog, Made in ChesterfieldTagged in , , ,

Community Chesterfield reflects on voluntary sector impact

A partnership project between the University of Derby and Derbyshire Voluntary Action (DVA) is reflecting on the impact it has made within the health and social care sector after creating almost 4,000 ‘meaningful connections’ across Chesterfield.

Community Chesterfield, which is nearing the end of its third year, links up the skills, knowledge and experience at the University of Derby with those of the voluntary and community sector (VCS) and has been a vital support network in the area since its launch in 2019.

The ‘meaningful connections’ between VCS organisations and the University is where the activity organised brings benefits to both. They have included Expert by Experience sessions, which have seen the project connect individuals from voluntary and community sector groups with university staff and students to share their lived experience.

Around 2250 students from the University of Derby have met 57 Experts by Experience, covering topics including family carers, medication management, mental health issues and hearing and sight loss.

Over the last three years, Community Chesterfield has also helped to successfully increase funding for local VCS groups by more than £110,000 as a result of the skills and knowledge they have gained through their involvement with the project.

The project’s online training model also continued to thrive, having delivered more than one thousand training hours in the last 12 months alone and 2271 hours in total since the start of the project. The sessions have been attended by more than 140 local health and social care sector organisations.

After assessing the need based on conversations and feedback from groups, Community Chesterfield also added in a provision for e-learning courses, as well as the project’s popular Training and Tea model – a series of 45-minute sessions at a regular day and time slot.

In addition to the popular training sessions, more than 570 participants attended shared learning workshops. These workshops, which include the Connect and Reflect sessions, aim to connect the community, the health and social care sector and the University to allow them to discuss, learn from and reflect on the common experiences we each have.

Jennifer Raschbauer, Community Chesterfield’s project manager, said: “The aim of our project has always been to bring together the University of Derby with the local community to create a resourceful, experienced and knowledgeable health and social care sector in Chesterfield.

“Despite having to negotiate through the ever-changing landscape because of the pandemic, we are extremely proud what we have achieved in the last three years and the visible positive impact with have had on the local VCS sector.

“By providing these valuable opportunities for the VCS and university to come together, we have been able to strengthen the skills of the local workforce in this sector, enabling them to be more resilient in the future and to provide the best possible support to their service users.

“As we look to the future of the Community Chesterfield project, we are excited to both cement and increase the connections we have made in the local community. We have plans to widen the reach of the work we do, which is an exciting prospect and will allow us to create more opportunities for more people across Chesterfield.”

Community Chesterfield has also facilitated 63 students to provide support to a variety of local VCS groups and supported more than 60 students on their negotiated module, where they can select a subject area of interest to them that’s not covered in the curriculum and which introduced them to a number of local charities and voluntary groups.

In addition, the project has organised five internships and 15 work placements and skills days, as well enabling the creation of one academic publication.

For more information about Community Chesterfield visit www.communitychesterfield.org.uk.

Community Chesterfield supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Business, Celebrate Chesterfield, Development, Home, Leisure, Love Chesterfield, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , , ,

Junction Arts appeals for volunteers to get involved in community events

Junction Arts is looking for Chesterfield residents to help with a number of community projects and events, which help bring people together across the town.

The local Charity which helps to celebrate our community through the arts and other creative projects, is looking for people to help with initiatives ranging from supporting family art workshops, visitor support at festivals and parades, and assisting project coordinators in the set up of these vital projects.

Junction Arts says no previous experience is needed, just a willingness to get involved and have some fun. The charity has a number of events lined up throughout 2022, with voluntary roles available in February and March. Opportunities include behind the scenes event prep and site specific live art events.

Upcoming events include the Love Bolsover event in Bolsover Town Centre on Saturday, 26th February and the Bolsover Artisan and Craft Market on Saturday 19th March.

Katie Petraitis originally started with Junction Arts as a volunteer and is now the lead artist at the Bolsover Lantern Parade. She commented: “I’ve been volunteering for Junction Arts for over 10 years, and it is always a fun, varied and worthwhile experience. I volunteer because I believe that having access to creative experiences is important for everybody.

“Creative activities allow people a space to pause, think, reflect and express themselves, and the better supported these activities are, the more enjoyable and fulfilling they are for the participants.

“Junction Arts provide workshops and activities which are accessible in a way which gallery-based or city-based experiences might not be, and encourage shared creative experiences in a friendly and supportive atmosphere.

“No creative experience happens without people supporting it, and through volunteering for Junction Arts I’ve met some amazing people and learnt lots of brilliant new skills.”

All volunteers are given a free Junction Arts T-shirt and have their travel expenses to the project or event covered. Anyone interested in volunteering for the charity is invited to contact the team by emailing hannah@junctionarts.org.

Junction Arts supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.


Posted in Home, Leisure, Love Chesterfield, Uncategorised, VisitingTagged in , , , , ,

Ashgate Hospicecare’s retail staff praised for going “above and beyond” during height of pandemic

Furloughed Ashgate Hospicecare retail staff have been praised after swapping their usual roles to support their colleagues in the inpatient unit caring for end-of-life patients, during a crucial period of the pandemic.

Just last month, the charity opened a temporary second COVID dedicated wing at its inpatient unit at Old Brampton, taking bed capacity up to 21, after reporting unprecedented demand for its services and a sharp increase in COVID positive patients.

Staff from across the hospice have been redeployed to support those working on the frontline, including seven members of the retail team who were furloughed at the end of last year, after shops were forced to close in line with the Government’s lockdown restrictions.

The retail staff have taken on several roles including Ward Assistant and Ward Receptionist. Their responsibilities include ensuring PPE is available, delivering COVID test samples to Chesterfield Royal Hospital and welcoming families of patients to the ward.

Jane Jones, Head of Clinical Services at Ashgate Hospicecare, said: “We’re so grateful for the retail staff who have been helping out on our inpatient unit; they’ve made such a huge difference since they’ve been here.

“Their support with jobs like putting disposable items away and topping up PPE has meant our nurses and healthcare assistants can focus on spending their time caring for patients.

“They’re all so passionate about doing whatever they can to support the hospice so we can be there for the patients and families in our care. They have the spirit and dedication which embodies everything that being part of the Ashgate family is about.”

Among those who have put themselves forward to take on a new role is Paul Street, a furniture van driver who would usually be based at the Hasland Furniture Store. Paul is working as a Ward Assistant and says it’s been an eye-opening experience to see how the money his team helps to raise is used to directly support families.

“I was furloughed at the start of the lockdown when non-essential retail outlets had to close,” he said. “So, the opportunity to come and help on the inpatient unit at Ashgate was one I couldn’t turn down.

“I’ve certainly been out of my comfort zone; I haven’t really done anything like this before, but it hasn’t taken me long to settle in.

“I get huge satisfaction knowing the little bit we are doing is helping families of patients feel reassured that their loved ones are getting the best care possible. I think my role now is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had; I really am honoured to be part of the Ashgate family.”

Another retail worker who has been redeployed to the ward is Andrea Farmery, who would usually work as the Deputy Store Manager at the Hasland Furniture Store.

She said: “I’m very proud to work for Ashgate Hospicecare and I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to help my colleagues at the hospice during the pandemic. It’s lovely to be able to do a job that helps people when they need it most.

“The transition has been a learning curve to say the least, but I’ve enjoyed the challenge so far and I’m pleased to be doing my bit to support my hospice colleagues during these difficult times.”

Both Andrea and Paul volunteered to help with the vaccine rollout at the Winding Wheel in Chesterfield earlier this year too.

The redeployed retail staff helped during a crucial period of the pandemic and are set to return to their usual roles when the charity’s shops reopen on April 12th.

To fill their roles on the inpatient unit, Ashgate Hospicecare is appealing to anyone who might be interested in volunteering to register their interest.

Anyone who would like to join Ashgate Hospicecare as a Ward Volunteer can find out more by visiting www.ashgatehospicecare.org.uk/volunteer/

Ashgate Hospicecare supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through  Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Posted in Featured, Home, Made in Chesterfield, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , ,

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