Category Archives: volunteer

Friday Featured Vacancy: Volunteer Mentor at Shelter


Would you like to be a Mentor for a Large National Charity working with Offenders on a brand new project?

Do you have an interest in supporting offenders or the Criminal Justice Sector?

Do you want to use your skills and experience to help others?

If so get in touch! Shelter is currently recruiting mentors in Cumbria and Lancashire to provide clients with an offending history with practical assistance around a variety of issues and to act as a positive role model. The aim of the service is to assist people who want to improve their life skills and create positive opportunities for their development.

Benefits of Mentoring

  • Experience working within the Criminal Justice Sector
  • Enhances your CV, we can help you to update this and will provide references if you leave
  • Opportunities to progress into paid employment

Full training and support will be offered to all Volunteer Mentors. If you are interested, please contact Leanne Fretwell 07580 140450

This is a voluntary position that supports the work of our services and is not replacing the work of a paid member of staff.


Friday’s Featured Vacancy – People First

People First Vacancy of the week

People First have a variety of vacancies closing on 10 June for advocacy and other related posts.

People First is an independent customer-led organisation that has worked in Cumbria for over 25 years. They have a deep understanding of the area, the communities and the unique challenges.

They are the largest provider of Advocacy in Cumbria, supporting thousands of people every year to have their voices heard and helping them to live their best lives. Their independence is very important to them, they are not run or controlled by any other service.

People First are a passionate organisation which dedicates itself to representing people’s views, they are dynamic and courageous and not afraid to stand up and be counted.

Fundraising Officer – Carlisle/Workington

Book Keeper – Workington

Bank Sessional Researchers

Board Member – Voluntary

Volunteer Receptionist – Carlisle/Barrow/Workington

Volunteer Independent Advocates – Carlisle/Barrow/Workington

Volunteer Self Advocacy Support Workers – Carlisle/Barrow/Workington


For more information and to apply for these roles please visit

5 Common Regrets of University Graduates

two paths

When a major life chapter comes to an end we often find ourselves in a state of reflection. What went well? What would I do differently, if I had the chance?

Ideally, we would soak up wisdom from those who have been there, done it and got the t-shirt and do things differently as a consequence.

This post by Francesca Turner is about just that! If you are a prospective or current university student then read on to find out what graduates are saying they would do differently if they could do it all over again.

1) Network more; we are all potential work colleagues

This is simply about getting to know the people you are studying with. They are quite possibly entering the same field of work as you and could help in the future by;

  • Introducing you to employers and job openings
  • giving you a personal recommendation on Linked In

That guy you don’t speak to in your Global Business module might be the CEO of that company you really want to work for in 10 years’ time. They won’t have a great impression of you if you blanked them for 3 years!

Plus, getting to know new people is actually fun! University is a chance to mix with people you might not normally meet and this often leads to lifelong friendships.

2) Spend more time with peers sharing good practice and learning from those with experience

 Many tasks in the real world require team-work so university is a great chance to learn about your strengths and developmental points in this area.

We all process information differently and a classmate might be able to describe Contemporary Social Theory to you perfectly in a way you understand, whilst you pick out holes in the arguments in their Human Rights essay.

Maybe one of your peers has relevant real life work experience in the field you are studying and could add a lot to your understanding of a topic area.

3) Get stuck into some voluntary work

Research shows that students are more engaged with their studies if they are applying knowledge alongside academic work.

Don’t worry if your course doesn’t include work experience as there are loads of volunteer opportunities out there (try and local companies are often happy to hear from students willing to offer their skills.

Even if you are unsure what you want to do in the future then any work experience which interests you can build your transferable skills, open you up to new career areas and provide you with a bank of examples for interview situations.

4) Realise what a privilege it is to be able to study a subject you love

Many students report they feel that they rushed through their degree’s and wished they had taken more time enjoying their subject.

Only once the experience was over did they wish they had viewed their degree as a chance to read a subject they loved rather than a means to an end.

Think about the following (avoiding career/ salary related reasons) and write down your thoughts;

  • why did you choose your subject?
  • what do you love about it?

Pin it up somewhere you can see it every day. This can help you re-connect with your subject and reignite your passion.

5) Find out which support services are available

Many students report they discovered these when it was too late but recognised thier value.

Services usually on offer are;

  • careers and enterprise
  • disability
  • study skills
  • health and wellbeing
  • counselling

A search online on your university website will provide you with further information and contact details.


  • If you are a graduate what would you do differently if you could have your time again?
  • Current students- has this changed your perspective in any way?


5 Common Regrets of University Graduates

You are probably a lot more employable than you realise

As well as gaining lots of academic knowledge during your time at university, you will also be developing  highly relevant employability skills that can be transferred to the workplace. Do you know how to unpick the ones that matter most to employers, and demonstrate the necessary proof?

This blog highlights two employability skills that employers consider are  particularly important, and shows some of the occasions during your time at university where you will have demonstrated and developed transferable skills. You can use these examples in your CV, supporting statement or a job interview, to show your employability skill.

Verbal communications skills: speaking clearly and fluently; being persuasive and empathetic.


  • Delivering formal and informal presentations in classes and seminars
  • Acting as a student ambassador or peer mentor
  • Part-time or voluntary jobs that involve dealing with the public
  • Campaigning or organising events
  • Debating
  • Teaching or training someone to do something
  • Leading a team eg a sports team
  • Working with others on a project
  • Committee member
  • Charity work or events

Team working skills: being able to work effectively with other people to achieve an agreed outcome.


These days there are very few job roles that don’t involve working with others, so a prospective employer will want the reassurance that you have what it takes to work effectively with other people and achieve results, meet deadlines!  Good examples might be:

  • Academic group work eg projects, joint presentations
  • Part-time jobs
  • Volunteering
  • Being a member of a committee
  • Representing your department/faculty at meetings
  • Being actively involved in sports, drama, music clubs and societies
  • Running and organising an event
  • Assisting with the running or organising of an event










Communication and team working skills are essential to most jobs, but there are many others too which I will discuss in future blogs. In the meantime, have a look at the  UoC Career Ahead programme. Career Ahead will help you recognise and develop your talents, and help you make your job applications stand out.


Winter Break Volunteer Opportunities





The holiday season is just around the corner. Get out of the cold and spend your winter break doing good on a volunteer adventure that makes a difference. Experience the true meaning of “it is better to give then receive” by joining one of GoEco’s volunteer projects. We have selected some great projects that will take your winter break from ho-hum to life-changing!


Provide much needed medical assistance or care for orphans in Zimbabwe, teach disadvantaged youths to surf in Cape Town, give back to communities and orphanages in Sri Lanka, or cage dive with Great White sharks in South Africa. Whether working for wildlife and environmental conservation or humanitarian aid, there is no better way to spend this holiday season than with a unique volunteering expedition. Discover the world from a new perspective in a challenging and inspiring environment.

For more information and to see the full list of opportunities, visit:

Volunteering with Mencap

Carlisle MENCAP provides life long person centred support for people with learning disabilities and their families in North Cumbria.


We are a local charity set up in 1968 we have over 150 members and provide services for over 300 people with learning disabilities and their families. Our services include residential respite care for adults at California House and for Children at the Grace Little Centre, children’s home based respite, community support, young people’s clubs and holidays, family support workers for young people with autism, holidays, leisure activities and befriending.


We always need volunteers even part time ones, we work flexibly and provide the necessary training.

The main services we need volunteers in are:

Our shop on St Cuthberts Lane, Carlisle. The shop is staffed by our clients with support put in by our team. We have a warehouse where we sort items which have been donated to take to the main shop. We sell clothes, books, bric-a-brac and more!

We need volunteers who can commit regularly to help our clients run their shop.

Carlisle Active is a group of 30 Adults with learning disabilities who meet on a monthly basis to do leisure activities. The group is staffed by volunteers and organised by Angela Beale. Examples of activities are walking and trips out. This group acts as a befriending service for people.

Carlisle Active need volunteers who are available to go on day trips on one Sunday a month.

We run holidays for adults, to Center Parcs, Blackpool, Calvert Trust and a Summer Sun holiday every year. Each one is staffed by volunteers and organised by Angela Beale. The holidays provide an opportunity for disabled adults to go on holiday with their peers and to experience new things with the correct level of support.

To volunteer to go on holiday you will need to be willing to give up a long weekend or week of your time.

We run many different children’s clubs, sports clubs, theatre arts clubs, general social clubs, trips out, adventure holidays and more!! We support children with disabilities to take part in different activities try new things and interact with their peers in a safe supported environment.

We welcome volunteers to put on  special activities as well as supporting the young people as a group.

We are always looking for Mini-bus drivers. All of our services require drivers at some point.


For more information contact Carlisle MENCAP on 01228 674 393 or

As a volunteer you will need to undergo Safeguarding Adults at Risk training and Safeguarding Children training, come to meet us for an informal interview and have a DBS check.




Student Volunteering Week 2014 – 24th February – 1 March (Friday’s Featured Vacancy)

Student Volunteering Week (SVW) is a nationwide celebration of student volunteering. SVW 2014 will combine local campus focused events and campaigns with a national media profile and high-level events. We will be celebrating the positive difference that students have made, and continue to make, on campus and in their communities – wherever they might be.


U Stand Out Conference in Lancaster – Friday 28 February

This is going to be a brilliant event where you can develop key skills and learn more about local volunteering and employment opportunities. There will be workshops around leadership, being more assertive, cv enhancing, and more and you’ll be able to sign up for any sessions that you like the sound of. Click HERE for more info.

Bag Pack with Cumbria CVS and Carlisle Carers – Carlisle – Saturday 1st March

UCSU is joining up with Cumbria CVS and Carlisle Carers to carry out a charity bag pack in Sainsbury’s in Carlisle. You can volunteer to help in the morning or the afternoon and along with raising money for Carlisle Carers it will also be a great way to meet other students and volunteers from the community and to meet lots of local people.

Register online: Bag Pack with Cumbria CVS and Carlisle Carers in Carlisle

Fun Activity Day for children with disabilities and/or additional needs – Saturday 1st March

From 9am to 5pm at Salt Ayre Leisure Centre, Lancaster.  Would you like to join our team of hosts? Activities will include assisting families as they check in to the event, encouraging the children to take part in the activities which include; childrens’ bouncy castle, adult bouncy castle, inflatable jousting, graffiti wall, face painting, mini-beasts, soft play, sensory zone, disability bikes and more. Volunteers assist children accessing the activities and provide positive support to the families attending the event. You will also have the opportunity to network with local agencies supporting the families too. This is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience in the community alongside local agencies supporting families with children with disabilities and/or additional needs.  You can sign up for the dayHERE.

Banana Blitz in Ambleside – Saturday 1st March

Spot a banana and win Fair Trade goodies! Join us in the beautiful village in the heart of the Lake District and help us raise awareness about Fair Trade, try a banana suit on, or simply enjoy a nice day out with UCSU.  Meet us on Saturday 1st of March, between 10am and 2pm in Ambleside town centre, you won’t miss us – we’ll be wearing banana suitsIf you would like to spend a day out in the Lakes and help with the event let Kasia know by emailing

U Stand Out – UCSU Event this week!


The Careers team will be at the U Stand Out event this week, offering workshops on CVs and Applications, and Personal Branding. There is also the opportunity to meet local employers, and to find out what employers look for in graduates. You could chat to them about graduate opportunities and placements as well!

The current job market is extremely competitive, and having a good degree is not necessarily enough to secure employment. Our U Stand Out conference is all about bringing you opportunities to think ahead, and build an impressive portfolio that will make you stand out in front of potential employers. We’re offering a variety of workshops which will allow you to meet employers, build your leadership skills, start thinking about personal branding and much more.

CARLISLE – Wednesday 26th February, Learning Gateway, Fusehill Street, 10am – 4pm.

View the full event line up HERE.

LANCASTER – Friday 28th February, Alexandra Building, 10am – 4pm.

View the full event line up HERE.

Please pre-book your desired workshop sessions HERE. This will secure a place as although spaces may still be available on the day, this cannot be guaranteed as rooms have limited capacity.

There will also be a variety of exhibitors offering you exciting opportunities which will help enhance your CV and boost your employability.


(This article is from the UCSU page here:

Five Transferable Skills We All Have

What do you do when your work history doesn’t match the skill set for the job you are applying for? Use your transferable skills! An important part of your time at University is getting your degree; that goes without saying. But employers will look at extra-curricular activities to differentiate the run-of-the-mill applicants from those they can see as a good fit with their company. Use them!


This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to get some extra experience on your CV – volunteer with a company, and you not only help that company, but help your employability as well. For example, if you are studying towards a career in law, volunteering as an Independent Custody Visitor through will gain you valuable skills and knowledge in the judicial system.


Have you been back-packing around the world on your gap year? Have you spent the summer working in a Summer Camp or driving across the USA? Travelling shows prospective employers that you are flexible, cultured and independent. Demonstrate the skills you used on your CV: Did you learn a new language? Did you have to organise yourself and others? All of these skills enhance your employability.

Part-time work

Think that your student job in a bar while you were studying has no place on your CV now that you are applying for a graduate job? Don’t be too quick to wipe it! A part-time job while you were studying shows employers that you have good time-management skills, are not afraid of hard work, and have well-developed interpersonal skills to boot!


If you have something to say, then say it! If you are passionate and knowledgeable about a subject, but don’t have a lot of experience, then starting a blog can demonstrate to employers that you have the skills and knowledge required. It’s a great way to demonstrate your writing skill as well as helping you to develop your own voice.

Interests (not hobbies!!)

Make the most of the ‘interests’ section on your CV by highlighting how your interests make you the perfect fit for the company. Any interest you have, be it photography, playing the violin, sports or even bird-watching, can prove that you have one skill or another; motivation, passion, a drive to succeed. As long as you can link your interest with a skill that is required by the company, include it on your CV!

What transferable skills do you have?

An Unsung Service to the Community

Did Monday’s volunteering post make you think about volunteering? I spoke to several organizations at the volunteering fair in November, and John Askew from Independent Custody Visitors has very kindly sent some information about available volunteering opportunities. If you are interested, the contact information is at the bottom of the post.


Young people aged between 20 and 30 are those most likely to be arrested and detained in police custody. Being locked up can be a frightening and confusing experience. For the past thirty years, people from all ages and all walks of life have volunteered to become Independent Custody Visitors. They visit every police station where detainees are being held, every week, at all hours of the day and night, to check on the well-being and welfare of people in detention and to ensure that their rights are maintained.

Cumbria has four panels of Custody Visitors, based in Barrow, Kendal, North Cumbria and West Cumbria. There are often vacancies for new volunteers and young people are particularly welcome to apply. Scheme Administrator John Askew says: “It is important that the membership of each panel is representative of the community it serves; but it is also important that Custody Visitors are able to relate to the people they meet in the custody suite. We particularly welcome applications from students, especially those who are studying subjects related to the criminal justice system”.

Being a Custody Visitor requires a calm and understanding disposition, excellent verbal and written communication skills and empathy with people who may be in distress. No particular qualifications are required other than common sense and a desire to make a difference.

Full training is provided and travelling and out of pocket expenses are paid. Visitors are appointed for a three-year term following on from initial training and a six months’ probationary period. All applicants are required to undergo security and vetting clearance. The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner provides insurance arrangements for Visitors whilst they are carrying out their role.

“This is an ideal volunteer opportunity for busy people,” says John Askew. “The time commitment isn’t great and you can choose when you go to do your visit with your partner, as visits are always done in pairs.” Most Visitors make around 8 or 9 visits in a year and in addition attend three training and de-briefing meetings, held in the evening, in February, June and October. There is also the opportunity to attend two annual training events, one for all Cumbria ICVs in April and one for all ICVs throughout the North West and North Wales, in September.

“Custody visiting is a great way to get first-hand experience within the Criminal Justice system”, says John Askew. “Anyone who would like more information can visit or or call 01768 217734 for details of the Cumbria ICV Scheme.”