A Participant’s Journey to Employment through the Active Inclusion Project

Active Inclusion Team from left to right: Clare (Administration), Louisa (Support Officer) and Emma (Project Leader)

“When you have had an illness or disability that has prevented you from long term employment, as I do, it’s easy to feel lonely and a bit useless. Last year I realised I needed to do something that would help me get out more and feel less isolated.

I had volunteered before, through contact with DVSC, and decided to drop in to speak to someone about volunteering again. I was very nervous but I joined the Active Inclusion project and they put me onto courses and helped me contact the organisations offering volunteering work that I was interested in.

The Active Inclusion Project was really good for me because I was put onto a confidence course and other training that has improved my employability. It also gave me the opportunity to socialise and meet new people through the training and activities offered through the project.

Later, because of my administration skills, I took up a volunteer role working at DVSC itself. My volunteering role in DVSC not only allowed me to make use of my skills but did a lot to raise my self-esteem. I liked that I could help team members with things that they were not be familiar with, or have time to do themselves, and I was able to gain so much knowledge from them in return.

Getting back into paid work was my long term goal but not an easy target for me as I often hit set-backs but volunteering through the Active Inclusion Project really helped. I couldn’t always give my time if I was unwell but the organisations I volunteered for understood this and gave me the flexibility I needed whilst I received support and encouragement from the support workers on the project.

No one is more shocked than I am that I’ve managed to get back into full time employment, last year I just didn’t think it was really a possibility but I wanted to try. Now I feel like I’ve turned right around because I’m working on the project that helped me get to where I am today. I know I have a unique insight into the project, having been a participant last year and I hope I can use my experience to help other people who are in the place I was by welcoming them onto the project and showing them what they can achieve whether it’s gaining confidence and improving their wellbeing, learning skills, volunteering or employment.”

Emma Gray, Volunteering and Wellbeing Development Officer – Active Inclusion Lead states: “We are so happy Clare was successful in gaining the position. Her administration skills and knowledge are a real bonus to all at DVSC and her insight into how it feels to be a participant will enable us to improve the project from a participant’s viewpoint. Additionally she is a great example of the benefits of volunteering as a pathway to work”

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