Voices of the Churches October 2021
From Deacon Michael Turnbull, Our Lady’s Church, Marnhull; RC Chaplain, HMP Guys Marsh The prisoner sitting across from me looked
I just want to introduce you to our service for the Sturminster Community. We are a small private charity funded by voluntary contribution with a base at the Stourconnect offices on Bath Road, where we ‘open for business’ every Tuesday from 10 till 2 pm.
We support everyone and anyone who wants to volunteer in the community but at Stourconnect we especially try to find people in the community who have a learning disability and are interested in volunteering and then match them with vacancies that I am aware of in the community. The job is very rewarding at a personal level as I get to meet loads of interesting people and help them on their journey to full integration into the town’s activities and affairs. I have to say that since starting here I have been amazed by how strong the ethos of community support is in Sturminster and am really enjoying the secondment I make to this location
For example, last week was brilliant because someone from the Exchange sent a gentleman who was wanting to volunteer up to the centre. Brilliant because that is exactly the service we want to offer and even better because we have been able to help getting him into a volunteer role and even more so because it tells us news of our service is starting to get out there.
Anyone reading this who might be thinking of volunteering can I encourage you to take the first step and get in touch with us using the contact details below? You won’t regret it. Volunteering is beneficial in so many ways. It is a great way of keeping healthy and making new community connections and dare I say it friends. It helps your community and that is often the most rewarding aspect of volunteering.There are plenty of volunteering opportunities out there from gardening, office work to befriending.
There is another initiative, STOURSHED that I want to tell people about..
Stourshed (also based in the Bath Road building) is a completely free to use space complete with all manner of engineering tools and equipment and often raw materials where people with engineering or DIY type skills can come and work with others of a similar mind to help make furniture or garden furniture or whatever takes their fancy and for which we have appropriate materials. They can take these home or even try to sell them (coming soon!) The centre is manned by an expert who can offer tutoring and mentoring and expert guidance where it is required.
Stourshed is now open and already we have six men attending regularly each with different skill sets.
Our idea is that in the shed people (men) can practice their skills with woodwork and metal or just meet up and learn new skills from one another and the tutor.
My organisation also runs a “Community credit scheme” in Dorchester.Essentially when our volunteers with learning disability work for affiliated community groups they get paid a ‘credit’ voucher which can be redeemed at various shops in the local town. This is usually restaurants and cafes but we are open to suggestions. I am exploring this idea with the local retailers in Sturminster and if we decide to go ahead I will be amending this blog to announce how it works and who our partners are.
Finally a couple of notices or calls to action.
Siobhán Davis – Tel: 01305 269214 or 07918639014
Project Coordinator for the Community Credit Scheme
Supporting people with learning disabilities in volunteering
The Volunteer Centre
The Coach House
Facebook: https;//www.facebook.com/DorsetCCS/ Twitter: @DorsetCCS