Volunteer Mick’s personal story

The GHoPA projects aim is to engage, enrich, educate and inspire the lives of young people and their families for the better…

Mick Burley, one of the projects newest volunteers and a level 2 archery coach says “the GHoPA project it already having a profound effect on me is changing my life for the better too.”

This is his story… in his own words:

“Through GHoPA, I recently started on my City of Guilds Youth Work level 3.

The GHoPA management team encourages all of its valued volunteers young and the more mature people like me to continually develop their personal skills to help the projects team of coaching and voluntary staff deliver outstanding positive activities in our community.

Since being with the GHoPA project, I have grown in confidence as the course is teaching me how to communicate in a more effective manner with clients, support staff and my work colleagues.
Before I first started with the GHoPA project I felt very disillusioned and unhappy with the way some ordinary young people’s support agencies conducting themselves towards young users in our area.

The GHoPA project is incredibly professional and it is a joy to see how much effort they put in to help some of the most vulnerable and challenging young people and families. I am proud to have joined the team and have now become a valued volunteer helping them to help others.

Through being on the level 3 youth work course I a. developing new skills all the time. I am now able to look and listen to the way my colleagues and other staff communicate between each other and interact with the clients. I am learning how to improve my own communication skills and get over what I have to say in a more effective and engaging manner.

The course has taught me different teaching techniques and how and when to implement them depending on the needs of the users. Better communication skills allow me to deliver a more effective and structured briefing at the start of a session and not the information overload that may have been the case in the past.

I am also able to communicate a better understanding of what each session / programme will consist of and how, in a fun and enjoyable atmosphere, the team and I can help them achieve their personal goals.

I am learning a better understanding on how communicating in a calm manner can be more effective with the disruptive members of a group and how it can help to build up the level of trust with users to help address their issues in a more informative and effective manner.

Studying for my C & G is also teaching me how important it is to plan a session or programme and how delivering a session or programme in in a structured way can be beneficial to all concerned. Planning bonds the delivery staff as it defines everybody’s designated role a more structured way and it builds on key skills.

Now I am easily able to design good session plans which have now been formally adopted by the GHoPA. Structured plans work and help the way we all communicate at the beginning of each session.
All session plans now include a 5 minute period at the end of each delivery allowing the team to review how the session went. We also use that period to analyse feedback from our users.

Gathering feedback, helps to continually improve the company’s services and can identify issues which may need addressing. As a result of recent delivery GHoPA has now incorporated a regular weekly volunteers training programme which is reaping rewards.

I am now heavily involved in the development of the organisations health and safety plan so effective communication with outside agencies is proving very important. Recently I created a fire plan and risk assessment for the rural education centre that we are developing and the organisation has taken on board a lot of new policies and procedures that I have put in place.

Learning how to negotiate is also an important skill I am learning as the GHoPA “not for profit” organisation has very limited financial resources. Commercial companies with CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) so far have been incredibly supportive and several have really helped GHoPA to develop and evolve new programmes with kind donations of equipment and or services.
Overall, my time spent studying for my C & G is proving invaluable as it is teaching me a very range of brand new skills that help in my day to day work and in my personal life.”