Months into a 3-year programme, the Bright Future Volunteering Project is smashing targets and empowering women from ethnic minorities across Tameside.
Since June 2018, 80 volunteers have joined the new project which gives teen girls (15+) and women in Tameside the opportunity to take up meaningful volunteering opportunities in places like nurseries, schools, shops, community groups and at Diversity Matters North West, where some have taken the lead for social activities and begun volunteering as peer mentors.
The programme also includes Taster Days in places such as hospitals, gyms, training organisations, charities and Citizens Advice, where the volunteers are given the chance to get a feel for the places, both with a view to place them as volunteers, but also with the mutually beneficial purpose of making them better acquainted with the services in the Tameside area.
As the project has evolved, two popular weekly sports club meetings have been added to the lengthy activity list.
One of the volunteers said: “Coming to the sports club has made me see a lot of the women from the local community coming out of their homes away from isolation. I can see women are making new friends and exchanging contact details to stay in touch. They are also coming with their new friends to attend their regular sessions and having friendly banter. I can see women feeling empowered to take the initiative to come to these sessions and come out of their shell and become confident over the weeks. It’s nice to see women smiling and happy and enjoying themselves”
Working in partnership with Action Together, Active Tameside and Jigsaw, Diversity Matters North West’s project lead, Hasina Khanom, has managed to bring in a very diverse set of women from multiple backgrounds including Eastern Europe, parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The ladies travel happily from Dukinfield, Stalybridge, Hyde, Ashton and even Denton to join in the activities, because the project offers something a little different, that makes a real difference to the lives of the women.
Hasina said: “It gives me great satisfaction to make a difference to people through this project. The feedback I get from the volunteers is that they can do more things in their life because of the gentle push the project is giving them to try new things, which they didn’t have the confidence to do before. When I see the genuine smiles on the faces of the volunteers as they achieve their goals and get active in their local community, it makes all of the work so worthwhile.”
The Bright Future Volunteering Project is a free programme available for women from ethnic minority backgrounds aged 15+ living in Tameside. For more details or to be put on a waiting list to join the project, please ring Hasina on 0161 368 3268.