Job opportunity with The Connect Project – Top Church Training

Café Cook / Trainer 
The Connect Project – Top Church Training

Job Title: Café Cook/Trainer
Job Type: Part Time 25 hours per week
Salary: £8.21 per hour
Annual Leave: 14 days

About the Job:
The Connect Project are looking to recruit a new Cook/ Trainer to join their café connect team. This is no ordinary cook post. You will be assisting The Connect Project to provide and deliver a quality 3 months café work experience opportunity to people between the ages of 16 – 60 who are considered to be the most vulnerable in our society.
The role also requires improving people’s basic life skills and employability skills, including how to cook from scratch: cash handling, savvy shopping and social skills.
This project is designed to support vulnerable people who are currently not in employment, education or training and are in need of mentoring support to build confidence and self-esteem to raise aspirations.

About You:
This exciting opportunity requires a cook that is enthusiastic about cooking and has the passion to support The Connect Project to improve life chances for people in our community.
You will have empathy and understanding of the needs of people and the barriers they face. You like being around and working with people. You can show that you have experience of or the ability of working with people.
You will be committed to the organisation’s ethos and bring enthusiasm and willingness to practical tasks. You can demonstrate an ability to maintain appropriate and professional boundaries with people at all times.
You should have previous experience preparing and cooking food in a busy kitchen. Have experience of training people in catering skills. Provide a professional, efficient and polite customer service at all times. Ensure food and beverages are prepared and served to a high standard. To ensure high levels of cleanliness and hygiene are maintained.
Have basic IT skills, excellent interpersonal skills and understand the importance of working within equal opportunities, safeguarding and confidentiality guidelines.
You are able to communicate on different levels both verbally and in writing. You should have good life skills.

If you are interested in applying for this position, please send your CV to
or post to: Office address: 30-32 High Street, Brierley Hill, West Midlands. DY5 3AE.

If you are successful in the selection process, we will ask you to complete an application form.
Deadline for applications will be Friday 28th June at 5pm. CV’s and applications will not be considered after this time.

Interviews schedule for the beginning of July.

Citizens Advice Dudley Borough Volunteer Vacancies

We are looking to increase further our team of volunteers, based in Dudley House, Stone Street, Dudley, for the roles of:

Contact Centre Assessors
(Telephone, Email and/or Webchat). No experience necessary. All training and support given. Post training, this position can lead to an advisor position if desired.

Generalist Adviser – previous Citizens Advice experience required.

Trustee – to join our current Board of Trustees to provide leadership and governance to our organisation, 4 -5 meetings a year.

If you wish to apply, please email for an application pack.
Please note CV’s are not accepted
To find out more about our Organisation please visit our local website at: or the national website:

Closing date for applications Thursday 20th June 2019.

OPP OF THE DAY: Treasurer – Parkinson’s UK (Dudley Branch)


Local groups across the UK are run by volunteers and offer friendship and support to people living with Parkinson’s, their families and carers across the UK. The Dudley Branch is active within your local community and regular activities include a monthly meeting on the fourth Tuesday of each month, a monthly informal café meeting in Stourbridge, fornightly exercise class in central Dudley, plus other activities and events.

The Branch Treasurer leads the financial activity of the group. Working closely with the Branch Chair, you would:

• accurately record financial activity, keeping the group and the Parkinson’s UK Office informed of the group’s financial position
• keep up to date on Parkinson’s UK’s financial policies and share them with the group
• provide regular reports to the committee at a monthly committee meeting on the financial status of the group including final accounts at the annual general meeting
• engage with local staff and volunteers to meet the needs of local people affected by Parkinson’s
• deal with financial administration for the group, including sending annual financial returns to the UK Office, ensuring volunteer expenses are paid accurately and working within the guidelines provided
• be a signatory on the group’s bank accounts
• work with the Volunteer Co-ordinator to enable the group to operate within Parkinson’s UK’s guidelines to bring forward the day when no one fears Parkinson’s.

You would not be required to attend the group’s activities on a regular basis and support from other committee members would be provided around banking of branch funds from activities and meetings.

They are looking for volunteers who: 

• have strong numerical and communication skills, as you will be working with a wide range of people and leading the group’s finances.
• be collaborative and team focused, as you will need to discuss the group’s finances with the committee and local staff
• are able to make balanced decisions taking into account multiple views in order to meet the needs of local people with Parkinson’s
• have a positive attitude to make things happen in our local community
• will contribute to meetings in an open and inclusive way so that the views and feedback of people with Parkinson’s shape the support the group provides
• have IT skills to enable you to read and edit spreadsheets and to communicate efficiently with other volunteers, staff and people affected by Parkinson’s in our local area.
Previous financial or accounting experience is not essential but would advantageous.

You may also be asked to undertake relevant learning and development opportunities and be invited to attend events and meetings.

This may particularly suit a retired individual with experience of bookkeeping, financial and budget management or someone recently qualified or looking for work experience related to financial and budget management of charity funds.

To be a signatory on a local group bank account, banks will perform a credit check. For this reason, volunteers cannot undertake this role if they have been declared bankrupt.


The Volunteering team
Telephone: 020 7963 9328

A volunteer’s eye view of … recognition #tuneintuesdays


This really sums up volunteer recognition in a nutshell doesn’t it?  The simplest ways of appreciating what volunteers do are often the best way, but every volunteer is different and once you get to know them you will soon learn that there are those who want to operate under the radar, whereas others love to be in the spotlight!

“On the surface, saying thanks is easy – we all do it every day without thought. But saying thanks in an organisational context can be a very different prospect. Firstly, it can be easy just to forget. If, like many charities, your trustees and leadership team have an ambitious vision, then the pressure is on to always look forward, at the expense of reflection.

Or your charity may be characterised by a rigid hierarchy that doesn’t always encourage positive feedback to be filtered down. Because volunteers don’t get paid, you might think that we should naturally be more inclined to thank them. But it might be just as easy to take their generosity for granted, especially if they have been with you for some time. Perhaps worst of all, though, is the ill-judged thank you – too fleeting, insincere, or undeserved. At best it may fall flat; at worst it can anger and linger.

 So how, how often, and to whom you demonstrate gratitude should be as integral to your volunteer management strategy as their recruitment, training and retention. “

NCVO – Quick guide to thanking volunteers

Let’s get thinking now about how you can show your volunteers you appreciate them, which in turn will lead to your volunteers staying with you as they will feel happy and valued. Retention is a talent volunteer managers need to cultivate!

A simple ‘thank you’ or ‘you’ve been a star’ is a great way to show your appreciation, but as it says above, you should mean it and it should never be a token gesture.  Volunteers need to feel welcome, appreciated and part of the organisation and it needs to be an integral part of your volunteer management.

There’s also the question of who should thank volunteers.  It would be great if it’s not just the person who looks after the volunteers on a day-to-day basis, but the Chairman or Chief Executive. You could put on an afternoon tea or coffee morning for your volunteers and invite the Chief Exec to present certificates.

In Dudley borough we are very fortunate as part of the Mayor’s role is to be Volunteering Champion for their year in office. Our lovely local Mayors are always delighted to host visits for teams of local volunteers, giving them a tour of the Council Chamber, fascinating insight into the local history and also a cuppa afterwards.  They talk to every single invitee and are always happy to present certificates or say a few words of appreciation.

A nice gesture

“Every year we have a volunteer party and the Chairman gives us all a special certificate to show his appreciation for our efforts.  I love volunteering and would do it anyway, but it’s lovely to feel valued as it makes you feel like you’ve made a difference.  I really feel part of the team, we all do and it’s why we give our time every week.”

 Celebrating your volunteers need not cost a fortune and you could design your own certificates in house, or contact the Volunteer Centre who have lots of templates on file and will happily print you some off in colour on white card.  You could also have awards for length of service eg 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years etc.

To nominate or not to nominate – that is the question!

Nominating volunteers for local and national awards is a great way to recognise your volunteers, but not every volunteer is happy to be in the spotlight. You have some volunteers who just want to turn up and help, happy with their ‘thank you’ and attending a low key volunteer gathering, whereas others would love to be the centre of attention and have their evening dress/dinner suit on standby as soon as they receive an invitation to a volunteer awards event.  They have probably prepared an acceptance speech too just in case!  I’m sure you can identify volunteers you know from both these descriptions.  Not everyone likes to stand out and over the years we have had some very shy volunteers receiving awards at Dudley Volunteer Awards, who are really not comfortable with taking to the stage. That’s human nature and that’s why we love our volunteers isn’t it, because they are all unique with different personalities?

I’ve actually written a guide on this topic, which you will hopefully find helpful and get you thinking about how you can celebrate your amazing volunteers. A volunteer is for life, not just Volunteers Week!

Volunteers rarely give their time for the joy of recognition, but that doesn’t mean it won’t drive them to perform at higher levels or keep coming back to volunteer in the future.

In their own words …

Every year Dudley CVS run Dudley Volunteer Awards and this year’s #dva19 will celebrate and recognise amazing local people who give their time to make Dudley borough a better place to live.  Anyone can nominate an individual or group of volunteers and we launch the awards in Volunteers Week each year, with the closing date in early September. Each volunteer who is nominated receives an invitation to this wonderful celebration and have their name called out on the night, so they can be presented with a certificate. Here are some lovely snippets from #dva18 so you can share the pride of these outstanding volunteers.

Please don’t forget if you need any help or support I’m happy to help and that’s what I’m here for 🙂   Just contact me on









OPP OF THE DAY: Benefits Form Volunteer – RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) [Birmingham]

Do you have excellent communication skills? Can you build a rapport with people over the telephone and put them at ease? As ‘Benefits Form Volunteer’, you will be telephoning people that have previously received assistance from the RNIB’s Information and Advice Team and help them complete forms relating to their claim for Attendance Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and other benefits.

Volunteers are needed at their Birmingham office.

What you will be doing?

  • Respond to questions and concerns, Using IT equipment and systems

What skills and experience are needed?

  • To support and respond sensitively


Please visit:

Celebrating how an amazing volunteer can change a family’s life #volunteersweek

We are thrilled that we now have over 200 approved volunteers serving vulnerable families across the Black Country with over 100 churches involved. If you would like to be Safe Families, we are always thrilled to welcome new volunteers contact Helen on 07387417210, We love bringing families in need into community.

Our team has also expanded with the addition of Sam Knight as our new part time family support Manager which means we now have four staff. Thank you so much for everything you do. We are excited that the work is growing, and we have been encouraged to witness the work of volunteers preventing children from entering the care system and many families welcomed into caring communities. Below is just one story of many which shows the difference you are making by supporting Safe Families. The story was captured by Helen Pryor-Andrews one of our family support managers after talking to Fiona and her family whose names we have changed to protect their identity.

Hello, my name is Fiona and I’m 8.

My mum and dad used to fight.  One day my dad had a knife and mum had to call the police.  We had to run away and now I can only see him if there is someone else there as well. Mum got a new boyfriend and had my little sister, Edie.  She’s nearly 2.  Then last year, mum got cancer and had to have an operation.  When she came home from hospital, my step-dad said we couldn’t live with him anymore and we had to leave.  We didn’t have anywhere to go.  We had to live in a place called a hostel.  It was a very long walk to school and back and mum is often very tired. Mum isn’t very well and she sleeps a lot.  She has to take tablets and when she takes them she sometimes gets sick.  The tablets are called chemotherapy.  I thought my mum would get better in a few months.  But then I heard my grandma talking to someone and she said that mum was going to die but I don’t know when.  She’s still my mum and she still takes me to school and cooks the tea.  Maybe grandma has made a mistake. 

I sometimes get really angry.  I had to leave a lot of my things behind when we moved and I hated it.  I have a few nice things now but my little sister messes with my stuff and I shout at mum to keep her away.  Sometimes, I tell my mum that I don’t care if she dies and that makes her cry.  I do care.  I’m just frightened and angry.  Who is going to look after me and Edie?

A few weeks ago, just before Christmas, mum told me that I would have to be patient as we didn’t have anything and she didn’t have much money.   I was so angry.  My friends would all have presents and a tree and I was stuck in the stupid hostel with just mum and Edie.  Grandma doesn’t live near us and sometimes mum is too poorly to go on the bus to take us to see her.  I decided to ignore Christmas and pretend it was just another day.

Then, one day, mum had a visit from a lady while I was at school.  The lady was from something called Safe Families and she came back the next day when I was there and brought another lady called Hannah.  Hannah said that she had little girls as well and one was nearly the same age as me.  Hannah said that I could go and play at her house sometimes when mum isn’t feeling well.  She was really nice and she brought me a little present which her daughter had made.

A few days later, I came home from school and there was loads of food in the kitchen.  Mum said that the Safe Families lady had been and brought us lots of food for Christmas.  We still didn’t have any decorations, so it didn’t feel like Christmas.

Then, the next day I got home from school and guess what? We had a Christmas tree from the Safe Families lady!  We didn’t have any decorations but our social worker got some money for us and we went shopping and then decorated our tree.  I felt much better.

On Christmas Day, when I went into the living room, there were so many presents waiting for me and Edie I couldn’t believe it.  There were even a few presents for mum!  The Safe Families lady had told some people that we couldn’t have Christmas this year and they bought us lovely things.  In the holidays, I got to go and play at Hannah’s while mum went to hospital.  And I went to Hannah’s church children’s group.  It was brilliant and there were lots of children and not too many prayers.

Mum has told me that another lady and her husband are going to come and see us.  They have got 2 spare bedrooms in their house and this means if mum is ill and has to go to hospital, Edie and I can go and stay with them and not have to go into foster care.  I don’t want to go into foster care.  The people have also said that if mum is poorly and can’t look after us, she can come with us so she can rest but we don’t miss her.

Last week, we moved house again.  It’s brilliant and it’s close to school so I don’t have to walk for MILES.  We have a table and a little sofa and a fridge.  I don’t have a bed yet and me and mum and Edie have to sleep on the floor.  We don’t have any proper plates either!  But the Safe Families lady has been to see us and is going to bring us things for our house.  I might even have some curtains and paint for my new bedroom. 

I don’t like to think about mum being ill and I really hope she doesn’t die, but the social worker is helping us and we have some new Safe Families friends now.  Mum doesn’t cry as much because she can phone people up if she’s sad and they will visit and talk to her and help her when I’m at school. 

This is the story of just one local family in the Black Country who Safe Families and our amazing volunteers are working with.