We are Skills and Volunteering Cymru (SVC) and we believe in giving communities in South Wales the opportunity to give a little, and gain a lot. As our name suggests we are a volunteer-led charity offering volunteering opportunities in Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taf, The Vale of Glamorgan and Gwent and have been since the 1970s.
The 30+ projects we run allow volunteers (who can be community members or students) to contribute to their local community by working with those who have learning disabilities, mental health conditions, are elderly or homeless. Our volunteers also work with our partners on initiatives aiming to make South Wales a greener and safer environment. We work in many areas including hospitals, schools, farms and community centres. Additionally, we work in partnership with the police, the NHS and local government. Last academic year our 450+ dedicated volunteers committed over 20,000 hours of volunteering, supporting over 13,680 beneficiaries. This year, the economic value of our volunteers was £251,200. We are so proud of the impact we are making! You can find out more about the volunteering we do in 'Our Projects'.
Since mid-March, SVC have been adapting our projects and volunteering opportunities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related lockdowns. With so many of our projects usually being face-to-face activities, we've had to think of new ways to support both our beneficiaries and volunteers. Although we are unable to run most of our normal projects, we have a number of digital (online) opportunities available.
SVC is an inclusive organisation that aims to support a diverse range of individuals to volunteer. The SVC staff team have undertaken training in Unconscious Bias and Discrimination. Additionally, SVC has attended Race Equality First’s 4 hour Racism, Discrimination and Hate Crime workshop. Recently we have been trained in First Steps to LGBT Inclusion and we will be trained in Intro to Allyship by Stonewall soon. SVC commit to race and LGBT inclusion and as a charity we pledge to continue to educate ourselves and our community on equality, diversity and inclusion. As a charity that takes pride in supporting adults with disabilities, we are currently working towards creating volunteer opportunities that are inclusive for people with disabilities.
SVC is run by a dedicated team of staff and our Board of Trustees who you can read more about here. As well as staff and Trustees, many of our projects have Lead Volunteers who take responsibility for helping to run their project by recruiting volunteers and managing their attendance on a weekly basis.
SVC projects support a range of disadvantaged adults living across South Wales. Our projects aim to enhance the lives of the following groups:
- Homeless people;
- Adults with a disability – we support adults with physical disabilities, and/ or learning disabilities;
- Adults with an ASD diagnosis;
- Adults experiencing poor mental health;
- Older adults who live in hospital, or are feeling lonely or isolated;
- Adults with dementia.
Children and Young People
SVC projects support a range of disadvantaged children and young people living across South Wales. Our projects aim to enhance the lives of the following groups:
Children with a disability - we support children aged between 5-18 with physical disabilities, and/ or learning disabilities;
- Children or young people with an ASD diagnosis;
- Young people with Down’s Syndrome;
- Children or young people who are in special educational settings, due to social, emotional and behavioural difficulties;
- Young carers – who provide support to parent/s, carers/s or sibling/s who are unwell;
- Young people in care;
- Young people with an ASD diagnosis;
- Children or young people from the BME community who require additional support in their learning.
SVC projects aim to provide support to, and enhance the lives of, children and adults with disabilities.
Many of the children and adults we support have a physical and/or learning disability. Some have a dual diagnosis, for example a diagnosis of a learning disability, paired with a mental health condition.
Each of the individuals we support is completely unique, some are non-verbal in their communication, some are wheelchair users, some have a mild learning disability, some have epilepsy and some have an ASD diagnosis. Each of our beneficiaries is an individual, and therefore we aim to match volunteers with beneficiaries based on shared-interests, experience and skills.
Supporting someone with a disability can be daunting, however SVC will ensure you receive the training and support required to excel in your role. We run projects where applicants can volunteer in groups, or options for one-to-one volunteering. Some of the projects require a weekly commitment, others are fortnightly or monthly. So we’re sure there’s something to suit the interests and skills of each applicant.
The projects we advertise at SVC work in partnership with local schools or community groups. The opportunities currently available are;
- In-classroom support for young people with behavioural issues.
- Providing support in homework clubs for young people from the BME community.
Environment and Community
SVC works in partnership with local organisations such as South Wales Police, South Wales Fire Service, Cardiff Council, Keep Cathays Tidy, Mackintosh Community Garden and more – all aiming to make Cardiff and the surrounding areas cleaner, greener, and safer communities!
SVC provides opportunities for volunteers to befriend and facilitate activities for adults with mental health related conditions in clinical and residential settings across Cardiff, the Vale of Glamorgan and Gwent. Opportunities are provided across 15 local NHS mental health wards, offering experience within acute mental health, dementia and older people, rehabilitation and recovery and assessment, care and treatment.