At the Govan Community Project, we mainly work with refugees and asylum seekers. Offering a variety of different groups and services wouldn’t be possible with a large group of volunteers connected to us.
One of the groups we run is a bi-weekly Homework Club. HC is providing a space for children to complete their homework and engage in wider educational activities. The group is facilitated by a lead coordinator and assisted by a large number of core volunteers. This makes it possible to work with children one on one and in small groups. At Homework Club we rely on volunteers in making the time beneficial to young people. Some volunteers have been with us for a number of years. Niamh started volunteering in August 2017.
When Niamh started to volunteer at HC it was as part of her gap year after finishing secondary school. She saw the difference she could make in children’s lives and in turn gained a lot through volunteering. She felt her self-confidence growing. In comparison to school, it was refreshing to experience the change of pupil/child/adult relationship. Soon the children considered her as the ‘all-knowing’ adult. Children wanted to be with, talk to and share their achievements and disappointments with her.
Niamh contributed to new aspects of HC. Benefiting from various training opportunities: mental health first aid course for young people (certificated NHS module), child-protection and dealing with challenging behaviour and the United Nations Convention on the Rights for every child.
For her being at HC regularly helped to find the best ways to communicate with children, those who are easy going and those who make volunteering more challenging. She cares about the children and their sense of happiness.
Niamh emphasises that an important aspect of HC is the relationships built with the children. Seeing children thriving, happy and safe. She feels it’s important that the children know that they can trust her and other volunteers at the club. Knowing from her own experience that it is important to have others to talk to if you face a difficult time through stress, anxiety or pressure at school.
For Niamh HC is rewarding, fun and gives a real insight into life for people from different circumstances, situations and cultures. HC is in her words: ‘Celebrating diversity’.
GCP are grateful that through Niamh’s contacts three more volunteers started at HC. She started at Strathclyde University in September. We learned that first year education students require placement opportunities outside school settings. This enabled us to have a stable volunteer base at both HC sessions for this academic year.