1. S.T.O.R.M Empowerment -What is your mission?
Its mission is to inspire individuals and families to become self-sufficient by building their independence and self-esteem. Over the years S.T.O.R.M has grown rapidly and serves a key role within the community. Based on a housing estate in North Battersea, S.T.O.R.M’s doors are open to all individuals from the diverse communities in and around the surrounding areas.
2. How does Benefacto help S.T.O.R.M achieve these aims?
Benefacto sends us volunteers from time to time. The Benefacto volunteers are always helpful and very useful. Our service users tend to gravitate towards them during our JobShop. The volunteers provide our attendees with hands-on support and a different perspective on seeking employment in addition to some insight into their own experiences. They are a breath of fresh air.
3. Benefacto provides you with Corporate Volunteers; if you had one request from the Corporate World, what would it be?
It would be great to be able to organise for our learners to gain some experience in a corporate setting for one day. This would give them an insight into the alternative world of work and a corporate environment, which is significantly different to working in a community environment, which will help to not only motivate them but also allow them to develop their professional skills. The experience would also be beneficial for our staff members.
4. Have short-employee volunteers worked well for S.T.O.R.M?
Yes, short – term employee volunteers are very helpful and are always able to make a positive impact during the time that they’re here.
5. What type of things have you got employee volunteers doing?
Benefacto provide us with skilled – volunteers that work alongside our service users helping them to develop their employability skills including their CV, cover letters and so on. We recently had a young male volunteer with us in our JobShop. In the time that he was with us, he was able to sit down with two of our attendees and helped them to create a CV from scratch! (Neither attendees had ever applied for a job or had a CV before). He helped to build their confidence in the skills and experiences that they otherwise wouldn’t have thought were relevant for their CV.
6. What skills do you think professional volunteers bring to S.T.O.R.M?
Professional volunteers provide various skills but mostly, they bring their employment skills and expertise. We have also noticed that throughout the time the volunteer is with us, they take the time to listen and talk to the service-users and are never in a rush to leave.
7. What do you think volunteers get out of volunteering with S.T.O.R.M?
I think to begin with, volunteers are often taken aback by the contrasting environment to what they’re used to. If you’ve received a comprehensive education you are in that environment where you’re hoping to upscale and have certain expectations of the sort of working environment you’re looking for. In contrast, we recently had a service-user seeking employment, she has 12 children, can speak perfect English but is illiterate and it’s therefore been difficult finding her a course or job to suit her needs. We are delighted to have now found her a literacy class that will help her with her reading. I think that for both the volunteer and the attendee, the services we offer provide them both with an insight into the differing environments that exist in the workplace and for volunteers this often allows them to see the impact their skills can have on an individual.
Click here to find out more about the volunteering opportunities at STORM.