BIG NEWS- COMMUNITY CENTER RECEIVES FUNDING

It’s hard to describe how it feels putting so much into a funding bid, working on it for months especially when it’s a two stage process like the Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities. Then there’s the waiting for an answer. Waiting, waiting, waiting. You’re constantly asking yourself, will we be successful? Has it all been in vain? What if we don’t get the money, what impact will it have on the organisation, your colleagues? Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Then you get the call.

“Hello Mark, it’s Louise from the Big Lottery”

“Oh, hello Louise.”

“Mark, I’ll get straight to it. The panel met to consider your application and, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that they have approved your application.”

YES! YES! YES! I screamed inside, I wanted to dance around the office but stayed in my seat. keeping calm I finished the conversation about contracts and start dates before hanging up the phone. A woop, fist pump and handshakes with colleagues later I was back in a steady state. What a relief!

So, what’s next?

Oblong have been awarded £294,000 by the Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund to deliver a three year volunteer project called Learn, Engage, Do (LED)

It’s going to be a great project. The aim of the project is to work with disadvantaged adults and help them move closer to education, employment or training by providing support and training at Woodhouse Community Center. Its a far more structured scheme than the previous volunteer programmes we’ve delivered, with every volunteer having to attend a range of training that will equip them with the skills, knowledge and experience needed to be successful in their role.

We will be recruiting volunteers in groups of about 8 to 12, with each intake attending a 4 day induction together, learning about the scheme, the volunteer opportunities available, how Oblong works and about Woodhouse Community Center.

They’ll then choose one of the four training strands they like to attend next. These are ‘improving your well-being’, ‘working on a volunteer led project’, ‘helping others learn’ or role specific training like running the community centre, learning Administration and reception skills.

The scheme also offers the opportunity for volunteers to become peer mentors and support other volunteers through their volunteer experience and learning.

We’ve a lot of work to do to set things up before we start working with our first group of volunteers. It’s all very exciting!

Please do keep an eye out for our publicity over the next couple of weeks.

By Mark Southwell