In April 2012, Volition Community the cathedral volunteer programme was launched by Manchester Cathedral. Starting with just 15 volunteers the programme quickly gained momentum and within our first two years over 100 people had gained a job with our support. Now we have twice as many volunteers each year than when we started and more than 1,100 volunteers have taken part. Volunteers from earlier groups are still around to support and mentor new groups coming in, inspiring them to grasp the opportunity with both hands and achieve their full potential.
So how does it work?
We identify volunteer roles for unemployed people in partnership with Jobcentre Plus. At the same time we bring a sharp focus to their employability and skills needs, and create a structured pathway to support them back to work. Crucially, we engage employers as partners. Inherent in all we do are some key values, the things we believe in and include in everything we do:
Volunteering – There’s a wide variety of roles available and volunteers are matched to a role to give them the skills and experience needed to secure employment. We offer opportunities in: Welcoming, Guiding, Bee Keeping, Cooking, Administration, Caretaking, Events and Gardening.
Employers & Partners – We know that bringing employers and partners on board is vital to the success of Volition. Our main ask is to establish guarantee job interviews, however, our partners do much more, this includes, delivering training sessions, donating interview clothes, allowing access to training room, careers talks and offering legal advice. Our partnership since 2012 has grown massively in membership. Volition has also been very fortunate to win the Business in the Community Award with Manchester City Council. We would like to express our special thanks to Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service, Manchester Arndale, CityCo, Lloyds Bank, DWF Solicitors CityCo, Procure Plus, SISK and Mancunian Way, Renaissance Hotel, Harvey Nichols, Hotel Football, Manchester Central Library, BAM Construction, Randell & Aubin, Alston & Beef, Hive Hospitality, Salvis, Hotel Indigo, Victoria Warehouse and Glue Creative.
As Volition has grown over the years, our collaboration with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service have developed to create more opportunities. Volunteers train with GMFRS as Fire Safety Officers enabling them to provide fire safety advice to vulnerable people in their homes and fit smoke alarms. We’re also developing more volunteer roles with Manchester City Council where our volunteers operate at the Cenotaph to offer a welcome to visitors.
Volition is different from other volunteer programmes, while most organisations aim to retain their volunteer base our aim is to upskill, retrain and equip our volunteers to be able to do bigger and better things. Volition volunteers have the support of our extensive and award winning employer partnerships. We work with businesses that go the extra mile, simply because they want too. Our partners bring a wide range of added value to the support we can offer volunteers such as work related training, mock interviews, and mentoring.
Volition volunteers are exactly that – volunteers. Our volunteers are not ‘clients’ or ‘customers’, it is their own decision to choose and commit to being a volunteer. Volunteers can stay with us as long as they want to and return to us whenever they need us. In fact some volunteers who have found a job as a result of our support, still volunteer with us or mentor other volunteers. There are no goodbyes!
We are a small team working nationally and based at Manchester Cathedral. We are dedicated to establishing the Volition model across the UK. With support from strategic partners we secure local commitment to make each programme work in each city. Volition is not a religious body. As a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) we welcome all volunteers regardless of age, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation.
Our CIO Board Of Trustees
Rogers is the Chair of the Board of Trustees which governs the work of Volition across the UK. In his role, he actively promotes the programme to fellow Deans across the UK, promoting the role Cathedrals can play in addressing poverty and disadvantage in communities.