National Volunteer week

This week has been ‘National Volunteer’ week

I want to pay tribute to Volunteers right across the City of Wolverhampton, but more than that I want to pay tribute to the volunteers at our Hub @ Ashmore Park who have made the facility there warm, inviting and now the centre of activity in our community on Wednesfield NorthWelcome Hub at Ashmore Park.

The Community Association all of whom are Volunteers have been exceptional in their operation and management of our new Hub. They put in an extraordinary amount of volunteer hours to ensure this City Council asset is working well, is safe, and is providing opportunity for all in our community.

I am told that there has been a computation made that has evaluated the number of hours that the volunteers give, and the time they give is phenomenal.

Over the course of a week these volunteers give a  massive 187 hours of their time in managing and safeguarding the activity’s and the attendance of the community events at the Hub! This is a huge community investment that needs to be recognised by the City Council.

The Community Development Foundation’s ‘Community First Neighbourhood Match Funding’ programme which ran from 2011 – 2014 required applicants to match fund their volunteer hours in order receive financial funding.

They decided that an unskilled volunteer (someone not volunteering in their profession) was ‘worth’ £11.09 per hour – so you could match cash up to same value of the hours your volunteers put in.

http://cdf.org.uk/neighbourhoodmatchedfund

So the CA’s contribution in terms of hours would amount to £103,137 hours if it were worked out this way:

  • 187 hours per week x 50 weeks per year = 9,350 hours per year
  • 9,350 hours per year x £11.09 per hour = £103,137.

Over the course of a year these volunteers give of their time in managing and safeguarding the activity’s and the attendance of the community events at the Hub! This is a huge community investment that needs to be recognised by the City Council.

They decided that an unskilled volunteer (someone not volunteering in their profession) was ‘worth’ £11.09 per hour – so you could match cash up to same value of the hours your volunteers put in.

http://cdf.org.uk/neighbourhoodmatchedfund

So the CA’s contribution in terms of hours, would amount to £103,137 per year if it were worked out this way:

  • 187 hours per week x 50 weeks per year = 9,350 hours per year
  • 9,350 hours per year x £11.09 per hour  = £103,137.

 

At the former CA building they vacated but formerly operated. The Ashmore Park Community Association had a very good community service and worked that building very hard. But of course the space and the building in which they were based was time limited both in the repairs that it required. Also the space it could provide for Groups and Individuals in what it could do.

We all know it had reached pretty much the end of its useful life.  Nevertheless the CA managed to attract 18 different and independent community groups to that old facility.  Underlining that a successful Community Association is perhaps much more about the quality of individuals, and the leadership they bring, as it is about the ‘bricks and mortar’ on offer.

I was always impressed with the activities they had on offer and the leadership the APCA showed in ‘sweating’ poor city council assets.

  • In that former situation the APCA had 18 different Groups active/attending the site

Currently at the new Hub@Ashmore Park there is new enquiries being made by our community daily about what the facilities can offer, and what use can be made of them.

In addition to the 18 groups/activities that transferred from the old facilities to the New Hub. I understand that there has been a huge increase in community use of the facilities that are on offer now.

  • Currently there are 43 clubs & activities using the Hub now
  • The activities on offer range from health, infants, sewing, gym, disability groups, football, Youth Club, fitness, Ballet, Kick Boxing, community meetings, and Film Clubs.

The development of the café facility has also created a reason for many residents to pop in, and allows them to see and chat with neighbours about community matters. A facility that cannot be under valued.

As a Local Councillor I am much impressed with what has been achieved in six very short months of opening. I am blown away by the range of quality, and the activities and the breadth of the community I see in the Hub. It is a Community facility that really is an outstanding community facility!  I am most impressed with the community leadership that is on show. Its this leadership and capacity to give massive voluntary hours to this City Council investment that really blows me away.

  • Increasing activity in such a huge centre by 72% in six short months must be recognised by the Authority as exceptional.

So in this week when we are asked to honour and recognise Volunteers I ask you in our community to give real recognition to the people here running the Ashmore Park Community Association & our very successful Hub@Ashmore Park.

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more

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