A report published has highlighted the outstanding impact on people and communities in the Clyde and Avon Valley area through a one year Employability Programme delivered by Clydesdale Community Initiatives (CCI).
The programme received one year's funding from the People and Communities Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP) to deliver environmental and rural skills training to people from diverse backgrounds and local community groups with a focus on reaching individuals who face significant barriers to employment.
Over the course of the year, 198 volunteering and training sessions were delivered and 58 LANTRA (or equivalent) certificates were gained in areas such as chainsaw maintenance, cross cutting, outdoor emergency first aid and volunteer leadership. This exceeded the original planned targets of 168 and 40 respectively.
The social and wellbeing outcomes of the programme were also exceptional with 66% of people facing significant barriers to inclusion reporting that they experienced an improvement in their health and wellbeing. Moreover, 21 individuals facing extreme barriers to employment moved into further education, training, employment or mainstream volunteering.
The fantastic success of this programme and the impact it has made is demonstrated perfectly by a CCI volunteer who has won Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire's (VASLAN) Environmental Volunteer of the Year, and expressed their feelings about the programme below:
"In my time as a volunteer at Clydesdale Community Initiatives, I have been involved in many different projects and training courses, from Outdoor First Aid and Mental Health First Aid, to Woodworking, Willow/ Hazel Weaving and Bushcraft. I got my Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) certificate so that I may provide support to people with mental health problems or complex learning difficulties, and have found this experience extremely rewarding. These things have been my hitch onto the universe.
I have been isolated for a long time with depression and anxiety, but the connections I have made - with people and the natural environment - are showing me possibilities that I could not see before, and my future looks brighter as a result. I believe that these activities and this feeling of connection can work for others, too, which makes our use and preservation of the land vitally important.
Thanks is due to everyone at CCI for all their help and support, as well as their willingness to share their knowledge and skills, and to CAVLP for funding so many valuable training opportunities; I have more reason to get out of bed and face the world now than I have had in a long time."
CAVLP Development Officer, Kirsten Robb explains, "The impact of the programme has been outstanding so far and with even more volunteering opportunities in the year ahead at places such as Falls of Clyde, Chatelherault and Dalzell Estate, we hope more people will get involved and reap the benefits."
The programme is open to anyone looking to expand their skills in environmental volunteering and help take care of sites in the Clyde and Avon Valley, designated as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for its landscapes and cultural heritage. For a calendar of opportunities visit their website.