12 Jul 2017
No one should be excluded from taking part in fulfilling volunteering opportunities because of their past history, according to the project manager of community recovery group Jigsaw.
of the group have benefitted from a host of volunteering
opportunities over the last three years - both individually and as
a team - following referrals from the local volunteer centre.
Jigsaw recognises that it can be hard for
service users to break free from the stigmatisation of substance
misuse, mental health concerns or a criminal record, and asserts
that everyone deserves a second chance. It was created to bring
service users together and to help people to move on with their
lives by providing opportunities for them to engage in positive
Members have recently enjoyed volunteering at events such as the
Colwyn Bay St David's Day Parade and Forties Festival, Llandudno's
Victorian Extravaganza, Prom Extra, and events at Eirias Park.
They have also given their time for their community at
St Paul's Church Gardens and to fundraise alongside Marie
Brian Lewis, Project Manager, describes how group members are keen
to break down barriers to their reintegration into the
'Many barriers are self-imposed, and include isolation,
loneliness, and boredom. Our members are also likely to be
unemployed or have housing issues. But volunteering can readily
overcome most of these obstacles'.
'Volunteering in the community contributes to the
wellbeing of Jigsaw members, helping them to overcome their
isolation and to increase self-esteem, make new contacts and
friends and develop their lives in a positive manner'.
'Jigsaw volunteers do not feel judged in any
way. They have felt supported whilst volunteering, and are
proud that they have made a real contribution to the
'Jigsaw's aim is to focus on the future rather than the
past, and to move away from criminality and addiction.
Volunteering is a powerful means to achieve this.'
The group is enthusiastic and keen to help the community,
especially at weekends. During the week, members are occupied
in following a mutually-supportive, structured intervention
programme (although this can include volunteering activities, with
Does your organisation involve volunteers? Have you
considered accommodating a group of volunteers like the members of
Jigsaw? Does your volunteering policy properly reflect
equality and diversity? If not, then please reconsider - as you and
your organisation will be missing out on a large number of
issues should never be a barrier to accessing a volunteering
opportunity and the chance to play a full part in our local
communities,' CVSC volunteering manager Ceri Jones said.
'Your volunteer centre can help you to ensure that appropriate
risk assessment, recruitment and support systems are in place, so
that everyone gets the best out of the volunteering placement.
Information and advice is only a phonecall away'.