Libraries in York made close links with the University of York to recruit older volunteers who were looking for work experience. Working with older volunteers (16+) meant that staff didn't need to give the young people as much support, and could set more challenging tasks. Frances from Explore York Libraries will be running the scheme again next year, as it was so successful.
Over the last 4 years we have worked with York University's York Students in the Community programme to recruit volunteers to help with the delivery of the Summer Reading Challenge.
This year we gave the students the opportunity to work on curriculum linked, real-life projects. We asked the organisers to advertise for volunteers to deliver activity boxes that staff could use with children in Roald Dahl events during the Summer Reading Challenge. These boxes would contain games and activities linked to themes in the books, and would promote reading, writing, and number or art skills whilst being fun to do. We would expect at least 3 different activities per box to give the children choice and variety. The boxes would need to be easy for staff to use with no training.
Lots of students volunteered, so we were able to create two boxes; one general Big Friendly Read box and one based on The Witches. We asked the students to work to a budget of £2 per head for the activities.
The students who applied came for an initial meeting to discuss what we needed. They then went away and worked on ideas before producing the final products, which they trialled at a drop-in session in June.
Georgia, Volunteering Project Officer from University of York says:
"It was a great opportunity for students to be able to get involved in work with an external partner to create useful resources for a project in the community. The students all had a great experience as part of the project and we were delighted with the outcome."
Lois, student says:
"I have an interest in teaching and creative writing, so I hoped to choose a project that would give me relevant work experience. York Explore's Roald Dahl Reading Challenge project immediately caught my eye. The theme attracted me as, like other people my age, Roald Dahl spurred my love for reading.
York Explore's library staff were amazing to work with. We met with them early on in the project and immediately got a feel of how enthusiastic they were about the project. Having the budget was very helpful, whilst also teaching myself and my group a new skill. We hadn't ever had an opportunity to work with a budget, so finding cost-effective products was a challenge.
Through this project I have met people I now consider close friends and I am very happy that I decided to take part in the project. Seeing the children have fun whilst completing our activities made the project worthwhile.
I can't thank Frances, Georgia and the team at Explore enough for giving me and my team this amazing experience."