Reaching out to find new members of the crew

ReachOut Plus is the latest organisation to sign up to the Valuing Volunteer Management Six Point Promise. Pictured are volunteer co-ordinator Emily Watts, centre and Circles co-ordinator Trixie Harrison with Volunteer Centre manager Heather Allen, left.
ReachOut Plus is the latest organisation to sign up to the Valuing Volunteer Management Six Point Promise. Pictured are volunteer co-ordinator Emily Watts, centre and Circles co-ordinator Trixie Harrison with Volunteer Centre manager Heather Allen, left.

A selection of the opportunities available this week through the Volunteer Centre Dacorum.

ReachOut Plus is a growing local charity that works especially with young people, and people with disabilities and particular disadvantage. More than 4,000 people benefit from its activities every year. There are 14 staff and 250 volunteers who are absolutely vital in running the ReachOut projects.

Volunteer co-ordinator Emily Watts said: “We have a fleet of fully accessible canal boats based on the Grand Union Canal. We rent our boats out all year round to different groups and need new volunteers to help support this wonderful project.

“Our volunteers are crew and skippers on our boats and are responsible for encouraging our groups to get involved with the locks and steering the boat and ensuring. Full training is provided so no previous boating experience is necessary!

“We also provide week-long residential experiences for young people with disabilities who are able to enjoy a trip away from home and are encouraged to get involved with all activities on board and enjoy a range of exciting activities.”

Trixie Harrison co-ordinates the Circles Of Support project which supports teenagers with learning disabilities.

She said: “We help these young people to gain confidence and a social life by matching them to local volunteers who help support them to access a range of opportunities such as a simple trip to the cinema.

“Our young people gain so much from being able to get out with people their own age without the support of a parent and carer.

“We have ‘Circles’ all across Hertfordshire and would love to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer to help someone in their local community.”

If you’d like to get involved with the canal team, a rota is created around team availability. The busiest times are Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons, but there are some midweek bookings. Helpers are needed to assist the skipper on the boat, which includes helping people on and off the boats, working the locks and showing group members how, and ensuring their safety at all times. Day trips normally take place between 10am - 4pm, some overnight trips.

Circles Of Support volunteers are also needed.

Are 16 or older? Do you enjoy hanging out with your friends, chatting or having someone to go shopping with?

Young people with disabilities want to do all these things, just like any other people their age. They want to have opportunities to develop their independence, but without a circle of friends this is impossible.

Circles links young people age 14 to 18 with moderate disabilities with peer volunteers, willing to commit a few hours of their time per month to making a real difference to someone’s life.

There’s a film about the work of the Volunteer Centre on the www.volunteerdacorum.org website, which features ReachOut Plus!

To find out more visit the website or call 01442 247209