MVSC to launch innovative, youth-led volunteer award scheme

Merton Voluntary Service Council (MVSC) which incorporates Volunteer Centre Merton, has launched a new innovative project that aims to raise the standard of volunteering for young people.
 
The ©Youth Approved Volunteering Award, funded by the Circle Housing Merton Priory Community Fund, aims to recognise and promote the achievements of organisations working with young volunteers as well as helping to raise the standards of volunteering to ensure young people are having the best experience possible.
 
Ellie Germaine of MVSC says “As a borough, more and more organisations are actively recruiting young volunteers and promoting volunteering as a valuable activity to improve employability. We think this is fantastic. Our young volunteers have requested that they have an opportunity to reward organisations who are giving them a positive volunteering “experience”. For them this could mean a warm welcome, clear and interesting tasks for them to complete, an environment that they feel safe in, options to access training or getting a big thank you. They want to reward organisations and then tell their friends about them."
 
Jacqui Cayenne, Head of Community Development at Circle Housing Merton Priory, said: “As a not-for-profit housing association, our wider mission is to enhance life chances and help local people make the most of opportunities to improve their quality of life. Volunteering helps young people by boosting their confidence, skills and job prospects, not to mention the benefits experienced by the wider community. We’re proud to support this initiative through a grant of £10,000 that we hope will encourage organisations to make volunteering a fulfilling, meaningful experience.”  
 
The young people involved in the project believe that high quality placements are likely to encourage them to volunteer for a longer period and achieve a higher level of personal development. Whilst organisations will ultimately get more from their young volunteers.
 
The project also aims to offer support and training for organisations who wish to involve young volunteers for the first time.  
 
Organisations that achieve the award will receive benefits such as having access to exclusive functions on MVSC’s new mobile app and website, becoming a member of a supportive network and an invitation to an awards ceremony organised by the young people with high profile guests, as well achieving nationally recognised accreditation.
 
After the pilot project MVSC plans to work with neighbouring boroughs to develop the ©Youth Approved Volunteering Award, with a view to rolling the programme out London wide.  
 
Yvette Stanley, Director of Children, Schools and Families for Merton Council says, "The council fully supports the introduction of the ©Youth Approved Volunteering Award in Merton. This innovative, youth led approach by MVSC will ensure that Merton young people are not only engaging with interesting opportunities in the borough but also engaging with opportunities that will ultimately enhance their personal development and future choices."
 
If you are an organisation who is interested in achieving or delivering the award in your borough or if you are a volunteer interested in helping to deliver the project please contact ellie@mvsc.co.uk or call 0208 685 2271.