Brilliant DWP Volunteer Day at Roots

12 Oct Brilliant DWP Volunteer Day at Roots

A team of 11 volunteers from the Newport and Torfaen Department of Work and Pensions teams spent a team building day giving their time and skills towards tackling some urgently needed tasks that needed extra hands on deck, at Vision 21’s Roots Horticulture project in Bettws.

In August Roots received a grant for £2,062 from Newport City Homes through their Environmental Improvement Fund to create new raised beds, build a fruit cage and plant an orchard and they badly needed extra help with some of the tasks, which is where the DWP volunteers came to the rescue.

I spoke to the Team manager Rob Seaward, who told me a bit about the DWP Communities for Work Teams. The first small team was started in 2015 as an ESF funded project. What began as a small new and unique joint approach with the local authority working very closely with Communities First Teams has since grown and spread to other areas due to its success.

The teams all work out and about in the community advising, befriending and building rapport with people who are looking for ways to get back into work. The advisors, who come from a wide range of backgrounds, help with CV writing, interview techniques, arranging short, sharp courses to build confidence, to help with literacy and numeracy, as well as longer courses such as business admin skills, ECDL computer skills etc.

The advisors help people to access training for a wide variety of access to work courses as diverse as undertaking essential tickets for construction work, or training to becoming a class room assistant. They also help to set up or signpost people for voluntary work experience to help build CV’s, or helping to arrange appropriate support for people who have experience mental health problems.

Rob said he strongly believes in the importance of building happy teams and he jumped at the opportunity of giving the Communities for Work teams a day out of the office together to work at something positive and fun, while making such a positive contribution to Roots Horticulture Project. He said he felt the experience would help to consolidate and foster good team communication.

The teams had a brilliant day and achieved loads. They managed to clear the newly planted orchard area, erect a donated wooden shed, as well as level and fill several large raised beds with fresh compost and soil. What a difference a team makes.

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A big thank-you to Alex Redman, Carey Hoare, Mark Davies, Nick Webb, Darren Jackson, Hannah Toor, Heledd Davies, Sharon Yhnell, Amanda Birket, Hayley Fisher and Rob Seaward from Vision 21 and the Roots team for your wonderful efforts.

If you are interested in volunteering for Vision 21 please contact our Volunteer Coordinator Jamie Harris on: 02920 621194 or email: jamie.harris@v21.org.uk