GwirVol celebrates five years supporting young people into volunteering
A Welsh youth initiative, managed by WCVA, which has funded nearly 900 projects and supported over 22,000 young people to take part in volunteering activities, is celebrating its fifth birthday today.
GwirVol was created in response to the 2005 Russell Commission report, which set out the framework for youth action and engagement and how to involve more young people in volunteering with their communities. GwirVol is currently a partnership of 19 organisations with a passion for, and commitment to, youth volunteering in Wales and funded by the Welsh Government.
Since its launch in 2009, GwirVol has supported a network of Youth Volunteering Advisors across Wales to help young people find the right volunteering placement, as well as as launching the MV50 sport and MV50 Global Award. The Millennium Volunteers Awards are now also part of the GwirVol initiative.
Over 22,000 young people have been supported into volunteering placements, nearly 900 projects have been funded by the grant scheme and over 13,000 new volunteering opportunities have been created. The website – www.gwirvol.org – has received over 3.5 million hits and over 21,000 visits this year alone. And new developments include working with the Department of Work and Pensions to help remove barriers to volunteering for young people seeking work.
‘GwirVol is all about young people, and it is important that they have a voice and influence in what we do to support them,’ said Timothy Day, Chair of the GwirVol Partnership.
‘One of our key partners is our youth panel GwirForce, whose members help make our strategic and funding decisions and set out our key aims.’
Stephen Sellers is a former member of GwirForce and Timothy describes him as ‘an excellent chair. We were proud to nominate him and for him to win the Young Leader category in the 2013 Leading Wales Awards. It was very well deserved for his hard work.’
Stephen said: ‘Being chair of the panel was an amazing experience. I feel an incredible sense of achievement knowing I have helped to shape the work of GwirVol including the work with Job Centres.’
Over the past five years, GwirVol has funded a wide variety of projects supporting young people in a diverse range of activities. These include a group of eight young people from Dyfodol, making a nine-day train journey to Mongolia to support the set up of a Youth Climate Forum, volunteers from Neath Port Talbot helping older people to use the internet, Young Sports Leaders organising a conference for young people to share sports volunteering experiences and young people who have experiences domestic violence raising awareness through an art exhibition.