?Volunteering at their local foodbank has earned young people recognition.
Learners from Rathbone Training received a National Volunteer Award from the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) for their work with Neath Foodbank where they regularly help weigh, sort, pack and deliver food hampers.
The award was presented as part of Volunteers’ Week in Wales which ran from 1st to the 12th of June this year and was extended to incorporate the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations.
‘’I am extremely grateful for the help that the Young People from Rathbone and their staff have provided this Community initiative. They contribute extremely well to all tasks involved in the organisation of providing food parcels to those less fortunate than others and have shown true commitment and compassion to supporting us to meet the needs of others within the local area,” said Yvonne Davies, Volunteer Coordinator for the Neath Food Bank. ???
The initiative with the foodbank was initially forged over a year ago by tutor Amy Evans and classroom assistant Sophie Kendall as an enrichment activity for new learners coming into Rathbone Training and those on a Traineeship learning programme who were looking for work experience.
“Our young people have developed an excellent working relationship with the food bank and this project has been invaluable in supporting our learners to develop and improve their communication and numeracy skills, improving knowledge on community issues, team working skills, confidence and an abundance of interpersonal and employability skills,” said Christina Thomas, Youth Programmes Manager for Rathbone Training in Neath.
The project has also supported the learners and given community benefit in their work towards the Welsh Government’s ‘Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship’ (ESDGC) initiative to build better communities.
“Working at the foodbank has helped to break down preconceptions that some of our learner had about why people use a foodbank. It has firmly put into perspective the need for food banks and the struggle that young people may face when dealing with issues such as unemployment, homelessness and substance abuse,” added Christina.
Pictured from the left are Christina Thomas, Rathbone Training Youth Programmes Manager for Neath, Port Talbot and Swansea, Gwenda Thomas, former Welsh Assembly Member for Neath, Amy Evans, Rathbone Training Essential Skills Wales Tutor for Neath, Joanne Powell, Rathbone Training Operations Manager for Wales, Rebecca Edwards and Courtney Williams, both learners from Rathbone Training’s Neath Centre.