THE FIRST Dorset Credit Union has become the latest organisation to support a new volunteering scheme for the county.
The Credit Union has offered to act as the bank for the Community Credits Scheme run by the Volunteer Centre Dorset after its manager Rachel Bailey supported the project from the beginning.
She said: “The First Dorset Credit Union is very pleased to be able to help with the Community Credit Scheme.
“It’s a great way to get people with learning difficulties to learn new skills and be rewarded with credits which they can spend on things they want.
“We’d encourage all businesses to join up in any capacity to help support this venture, and look forward to seeing people as they come to collect their credits from our offices.”
The scheme supports people with learning disabilities to volunteer locally with the support of a volunteer mentor or buddy.
For every hour of community work the volunteers carry out, they receive a credit that can be spent at various local facilities and attractions.
These include Bridport Arts Centre, the RSPB Centre in Weymouth and the Plaza Cinema in Dorchester.
Lorna Johnson, a project officer with the Dorset Youth Association’s Walking in their Shoes project, said: “This scheme is the best project I have ever seen started in the voluntary sector.
“As a project officer I really struggle to get the budget to get enough support workers to help young people with learning disabilities access the voluntary activities fully.
“This scheme provides skilled screened support volunteers already with DBS check done matched to the needs of the person.
“It allows one on one work so the skills of the young people volunteer with to be fully deployed and their contributions shine.
“This makes the quality of the volunteer experience excellent and we have life changing personal progress because of it.
“Most crucially of all this means many more organisations can now offer volunteer roles to people with learning disabilities as they can come with a support worker attached whereas before they did not have the capacity. It is a complete game changer.”
Project co-ordinator for the Community Credits Scheme Siobhan Davis said: “The scheme has been received really well in the four areas of Dorset.”
For more information about the Community Credits Scheme contact Siobhan on 01305 269214 or 07918 639014.
Details are also available online at volunteeringdorset.org.uk.