JIGSAW stands for Joining In, Gaining Support, Awareness and Wellbeing and this is the ethos that we follow through out the organisation and very much includes the young volunteers scheme.
The Young Volunteer scheme developed when we noticed that some young people struggled when coming along to our events as they didn't necessarily know what they should be doing or struggled with the social aspect of the sessions. We found if we gave them something to do then they started relaxing and enjoying it more and it boasted their self-esteem.
We have now developed a scheme where the young people can work towards different levels of awards following a progressive learning programme which recognises individuals wider achievements and promotes regular physical activity (Get Active, Stay Active), exploring new interests, working for the good of the community or the environment and taking part in outdoor activity. These are all things which are recognised as improving young peoples wellbeing.
The scheme has been recognised as being unique when we were awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, the MBE for voluntary organisations in 2018.
They have developed an invaluable role as advocates for the organisation and help guide our services. They are a fantastic resource regularly carrying out fundraising activities for us, running the cafe in our sensory lending library and helping us produce content for our recent adaptation to digital services.
During the current crisis they have all worked hard carrying out their own 2.6 challenges which have included 9 year old Harry cycling 2.6 km every day for 7 days and raising us an amazing £1,600. Our other volunteers have carried out activities such 26 cartwheels round the garden, making 26 frogs, walking 2.6miles with 3 legs and spending 26 hrs in a campervan, raising us a further £1,100!
We currently support ages 5-11 and 12-15, but don't currently have funding or resources for the 15-20 age group. We would really like to extend this service, but we are currently struggling to find funding for this so we really need your help to raise the funds needed to extend this service of our young people, making space for a new generation of volunteers, and continuing to support our young people who have outgrown the current scheme!