Wales Council for Voluntary Action

Apr 11 '14

What can peer learning do for Communities First?

In this blog, Russell Todd, Communities First Advice Co-ordinator, examines some examples of peer learning and reflects on his experiences.

Last July I blogged about the experience of researching examples of peer learning and support that has informed plans for a similar framework in Wales’s Communities First (CF) programme.

I had found some interesting examples of it operating in other sectors, programmes and organisations such as the Families First and former Mentro Allan programmes in Wales, the Big Local programme in England, in community renewal in Northern Ireland and the Our Place initiative in Scotland.

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Apr 4 '14

Learning reflection: The art of managing and supervising volunteers

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In this blog, Jean Roddan of North East Wales Carers Information Service discusses her findings and feelings having completed the ILM accredited course The art of managing and supervising volunteers.

Well here I am having completed the fourth and final day of the ILM accredited course The art of managing and supervising volunteers and writing this blog has given me the chance to reflect on it.

I suppose my main impression of the four weeks was that it was great to meet new people from different backgrounds and ranges of experience. Everyone contributed to each day, whether it was making paper aeroplanes, throwing bean bags or really working together to make some sense of it all.

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Apr 2 '14

Can a new scheme give the long-term unemployed a Lift?

Russell Todd, WCVA Communities First Advice Co-ordinator, takes a look at a new Welsh Government programme which aims to reduce the number of workless households in Wales.

On Monday 24 March the Welsh Government launched the Lift Programme which aims to reduce the number of households in Wales where no-one is in work long term.

Lift will place two brokers in each of the following Communities First (CF) Clusters, where it is being piloted:

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Mar 31 '14

Wales Volunteer of the Year - a winner’s story

The deadline for nominations in Wales Volunteer of the Year 2014 closes at 5pm on Friday, 11 April. Here one of last year’s winners in the Green category, Sam Holt of Cardiff, talks about the impact that winning had on his life.

I was shocked when I was nominated and read the words others had written about me. I felt touched and proud that I had such a profound influence on so many lives. I had volunteered so many hours over so many years, but I never did it for praise or position but for the sense of peace and that it was the right thing to do for my community. Volunteering was my coping mechanism for my depression and my wife’s chronic illness. It gave me a sense of worth in hard times and enabled me to challenge my desire to hide away when things got tough.

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Mar 18 '14

'Violence against women is a disturbing fact of everyday life'

Here’s a piece we didn’t get to put up when International Women’s Day came around the other week. Jasmin Chowdhury has worked in the fields of reducing inequalities and promoting social justice for almost fifteen years and has worked in the sector, for the NHS and within Welsh universities, and here discusses violence against women from around the world.

Although it’s great to see the hype surrounding International Women’s Day, the increasing amount of evidence regarding all different forms of violence against women and the domination of patriarchy across the globe, in all spheres of our life is deeply worrying. Whether it’s the gang rape cases in India, the new law in Afghanistan allowing men to attack their wives, daughters and sisters in the name of ‘honour’, without any fear of facing any judicial punishment; the thousands of women who are killed every year by their intimate partners; or become victims of human trafficking, FGM or domestic abuse, violence against women is a disturbing fact of everyday life in all corners of the world.

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Mar 10 '14

Take the train? On your bike!

Here’s our final Climate Week blog in which we leave behind the subject of saving water. Catherine Stephens-Ward, WCVA Internship Programme Co-ordinator, ditched the train for the bike during Climate Week and has vowed never to look back.

I only live three miles from my office, yet my train journey into work in the mornings takes 35 minutes to an hour, with frequent cancellations bringing further delays and feelings of despair. Last week I decided to ditch the train and start cycling to work, and boy do I feel better for it.

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Mar 9 '14

International Women’s Day - Action needed to improve ‘gender balance’ in politics

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Saturday, 8 March, was International Women’s Day. This article on women in politics by MEP Sirpa Pietikainen was originally published in Parliament Magazine.

One half of the world’s population are women. This ratio doesn’t convert to the number of women in political decision making. We are underrepresented and equality advances slowly – and has even stagnated during the last few years. This is mostly due to established gender roles and male networks that sustain the election and nomination of men. Where men are like suns, women are moons, staying in the shadows, reflecting the light of sun.

The participation in decision making is also polarised in a way that men tend to hold positions and portfolios on resources and finances, whereas women occupy positions concerning softer issues, such as care and education. The tables in the meetings of heads of state and finance ministers are still surrounded mostly by men.

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Mar 8 '14

International Women’s Day: How increasing female representation in decision making will empower women in times of austerity


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Today is International Women’s Day. Here, Elena Zecchin of Chwarae Teg’s Policy and Research Team takes a look at the role of women in public life around the world and how gender equality can empower women in times of austerity.

According to the report by the Centre for Women & Democracy on behalf of the Counting Women In coalition, Sex and Power 2013: Who runs Britain?:

Women can and do bring issues to the table which may not otherwise be debated, or which might wrongly be considered to be of less significance.’ (Fawcett, 2013)

In order to influence an extended participation of women in politics, a better understanding of the benefits of gender equality in decision making is needed.

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Mar 7 '14

International Women’s Day: the WI and gender equality

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International Women’s Day is Saturday, 8 March, 2014. We’ll be running a series of blogs to celebrate the day, starting with this contribution from Sarah Thomas, Public Affairs Officer of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes.

(And we’ll be bringing you the final Climate Week blog next week - sorry for the delay.)

International Women’s Day (IWD) is an opportunity for women across the world to celebrate their achievements at all levels of society in campaigning for gender equality.  IWD is also an opportunity for the NFWI to recognise the enormous contribution of WI members and all other women across the world in fighting for equality.  

Since 1915 WI members have campaigned on significant issues for women and communities but have also been actively engaged with issues affecting millions of lives across the globe such as HIV and AIDS.  The WI, for example, had an impact on the struggle for women’s rights at the beginning of the 20th Century by helping women to become active citizens in the years straight after women received the vote. 

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Mar 6 '14

Water way to make a change

In today’s Climate Week blog, Michelle O’Neill, Environment Wales Organiser, finds a handy way to save water.

I like to think that working for an environmental initiative has enabled me to gain perspective on a lot of things and to question my lifestyle. As a result I am conscious of food waste, excess energy use and sustainable alternatives to the products I consume. So, when approached by a colleague to take up water saving activity as part of Climate Week, I set out to discover what would generate the most impact. I currently do all the sensible things – only use as much water as I need to make a cup of tea, turn off the tap when brushing my teeth, the ‘on trend’ four-minute shower. There had to be somewhere I could make a change, not just for Climate Week but for life.

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