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Cultural Experiences Through Service To Others
Start date: Jul 1, 2014, End date: Dec 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project “Cultural Experiences Through Service To Others” has been developed by Time For God drawing on our 50 years of experience in international volunteering. The project involves volunteers from 6 EU countries (Germany, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, Slovakia and Poland) travelling to the UK for a year to volunteer full-time in various projects based in local communities. The volunteers will be given lots of support by people in their local communities as well as Time For God, and will be able to develop their skills and improve their knowledge as well as benefitting the local communities. Time For God has built strong partnerships with organisations in the sending countries (Germany, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, Slovakia and Poland) who will help to recruit the volunteers and prepare them for the experience, as welll as supporting them during the project. The project is designed to meet the following objectives: - Challenge young people to become actively involved in society by ‘being there’ and caring for others, especially those on the edge of society - Give the volunteer new skills and work experience through volunteering - Develop the volunteer’s capacity to work, and/or live in, groups/teams - Get to know the British culture, people and language ‘from the inside’ - Promote intercultural dialogue between young people (in the volunteer group, but also in the local community of which the volunteer is part) - Challenge the volunteer to reflect critically on his/her spirituality and be open to other religions & ways of life - Benefit the Receiving Organisation with the enthusiasm and cross cultural experience of a volunteer, who is able to augment the work of paid staff members with energy, new perspectives and time to build relationships with the community/ client group being served. It is envisaged that this project will involve 14 volunteers, who will have a range of socio-economic backgrounds. In particular Time For God will encourage participation from volunteers who may otherwise struggle to access opportunities for higher education or work experience, whether this is due to geographical reasons, health problems or economic obstacles. It is hoped that the project will be accessed by an equal number of male and female volunteers. The actual tasks that each volunteer will be involved in will vary depending on where they are based, but each placement will involve an element of service to others. At the Cambridge URC placement, the volunteer will spend time working in a community café alongside people with learning difficulties. The participants at SPEC will help with (and eventually lead) groups of children and young people at the retreat centre, encouraging them to try new activities and improving their self confidence. At the House of Light and Oakham Lodge Trust projects, participants will work in a home for adults with learning disabilties, helping them with daily tasks as well as creating new activity programmes based on the volunteers’ own interests and skills. Volunteers at Wolverhampton Lea Road and Morley Community Church will be involved in a range of community activties which include working with youth groups, visiting the elderley and reaching out to disadvantaged groups. The projects at Marylebone Church Army, Yeldall Manor and Edinburgh Bethany all involve supporting people who are vulnerable through homelessness or recovering from addictions. All volunteers willl be given comprehensive training and ongoing support and supervision to help them manage the challenges of this type of work. Several methods will be used to monitor the success of the project and gain feedback on the learning achieved by the participants. These methods include the Youthpass tool, Time For God’s On Arrival Checklist and Mid Term Review documents, and online surveys. For more information, please see sections F and H of the application form. For the participants, the project is expected to have a huge impact on their knowledge levels, particularly relating to English culture, language and specific work skills relevant to each project. The positive impact also extends to each local community where a volunteer is based, as the presence of an enthusiastic and able volunteer adds value to the work of the project.

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