The University is pleased to announce that it is becoming a supporter of Coventry Cares, an exciting new volunteering programme that has been set up in the city. Coventry Cares is part of a national initiative established by Business in the Community to connect employees to their communities. Cares partnerships now operate in 22 cities, and have created a step change in volunteering by harnessing the skills, time and talents of employees to make a difference in the local community. ‘We are delighted that the University of Warwick is joining us,’ said Coventry Cares Manager, Dick Downing. ‘We hope that through Cares many university staff will experience the buzz of volunteering and the satisfaction of helping their community.’
Coventry Cares was launched in June with a ‘Disability in Action’ day at Hereward College. University staff joined forces with employees from other local businesses on practical projects, including a sensory garden makeover, and workshops aimed at passing on work-related skills such as completing application forms and attending interviews. Now the University is opening up the opportunity for all staff to get involved in Cares projects in one of three different ways:
- Action Days: run three or four times a year, providing opportunities for teams from a number of companies to work together on tasks grouped around a specific theme.
- Team Challenges: one-off team based challenges, which departments might use to develop their staff whilst engaging the local community.
- On-line Volunteering Calendar: a web-based system giving staff access to a wide range of individual volunteering opportunities available in their area.
Cares activities will be co-ordinated at the University by Warwick Volunteers – established last year with funding from the Higher Education Active Community Fund to promote opportunities for students and staff to volunteer in the local community. Jamie Darwen, Project Manager for Warwick Volunteers, says: “Coventry Cares will provide an exciting range of new opportunities for University staff to get involved and make a real difference in their local community, and also have a lot of fun! My own experience as a volunteer has enabled me to meet many inspiring people and has been very rewarding.”
Some of the opportunities available to staff include:
- Right to Read: a one-to-one reading programme with local schools, helping young people with their reading skills and being a role model who can show that reading is fun!
- Partners in Leadership with Community Enterprise (PIL-COM): share your skills and experience with a leader from a local community enterprise, and find solutions to the challenges you both face. I