Volunteering proven to combat loneliness
Tempo was born out of a grass root initiative in Wales. Two villages wanting to make their community, and the individuals within it, stronger, economically healthier and overall happier.
We’ve been working in partnership with the Welsh Government for over 5 years supporting various programmes in specific areas of Wales.
The success of our partnership has enabled us in 2020 to be commissioned to develop a 3 year project to provide a National Programme of Tempo Time Credits to cover the whole of Wales enusring equal access across the country. Tempo Time Credits works to develop a world in which communities build themselves through enabling more individuals and more diverse groups of people to volunteer and support their local communities.
There are two key societal challenges prevalent in Welsh society that the Government wanted to tackle – isolation and loneliness.
In a recent study (Cognitive and Ageing Study) 25.3% of older people in Wales reported feeling lonely and 26.9% felt socially isolated. A similar study conducted by Stats Wales found 20% of people aged between 16 and 24 are suffering from loneliness too. Naturally, the effects of the pandemic have undoubtedly added to these numbers across the age ranges.
Volunteering opportunities can combat these feelings of loneliness and create a sense of connection to a community. This can potentially reduce isolation as individuals experience a culture of inclusivity and acceptance.
At the heart of our programs is a strategy to develop self supporting networks that create such a culture through support, activities and events. Volunteers can choose a wide range of activities that utilise the skills they have to offer alongside the prospect of learning new ones to benefit their future goals. For this commitment, our volunteers earn Digital Time Credits which they can redeem through a number of business recognition partners offering products and services.
Recent research has shown volunteers working within our programs:
- 95% feel they are contributing to their community
- 89% feel more positive about the future
- 88% reported improved mental health
- 88% feel less lonely and isolated
Communities for Work
Isolation comes in many forms and can impact individuals at any stage in their lives. One particular program we support within the Welsh Government framework is Communities for Work.
This is a community-based advisory service that helps people who are not working, in education or training, and who have difficulty finding a job.
Communities for Work provides support to help build confidence, assists service users to gain some work experience, learn new skills or re-write CVs for job applications. They do this through locally delivered intense mentoring and support to assist in securing sustainable employment.
The project is a natural fit to Tempo’s network of charity partners. Individuals can gain work experience, learn new skills in a safe environment and gain value in their contribution to their communities. Their volunteering boosts self confidence and the softer skills required in the workplace to help those struggling to re-engage with the jobs market. Not only that our Tempo volunteers are recognised for their contribution.
Ashleigh was first introduced to Time Credits via her mentor at Communities for Work, and it was just the support she needed.
“In 2018, I started my A Level Music course in The College Merthyr Tydfil and left there with a distinction in 2019. My mam sadly passed away due to Covid in November last year so now I’ve had to become like a second mam to my younger sisters, I feel they now look up to me more than ever. I feel that I have a huge responsibility to look after them and also my dad whilst they’re all grieving.”
“. . . Leigh from Communities for Work introduced the scheme to me, she gave me a booklet to read through and explained the process of it to me. I thought it was a great idea when Leigh mentioned it to me and I still do now.”
Ashleigh volunteers at the Tuck Inn Café in Merthyr Tydfil Town Centre and at AberArts Wales in Treforest
“I have earned time credits mainly through volunteering in my aunties café, I’ve been helping out down there whilst they’ve been under staffed or when the boss has been going on annual leave. I have a huge passion for music and performing. I’m a self taught singer and am also part of a non –profit choir where we perform and raise money for charitable causes.
I felt great because I now feel like my volunteering hours are not being completed for nothing.”
A well earned night at the theatre
Due to her family grievance Ashleigh hadn’t had an occasion to use her Time Credits. When our Tempo team learned that the Wales Millennium Centre were coming back on board as a recognition partner and offering us tickets for their ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ performance, we immediately thought of Ashleigh as someone who should benefit from such an experience.
With Ashleigh’s love of music and performance it was the perfect fit and after a few phone calls, we secured tickets for her and her dad and siblings to enjoy a wonderful night out at the theatre.
“I would definitely recommend others using Time Credits, it makes you feel so much better about yourself, especially if you’re doing a lot of hours every week. Use them and go and have fun! Have some time out for yourself.”
Get in touch for more information about how we can support communities to tackle the challenges they face.