Volunteering Works 2011 in Waltham Forest

This borough eh? You wouldn’t believe that it is one of the 5 London 2012 boroughs . What actually goes on in the green place? The youngsters feel despondent  too. Check out what Josh Ryan had to say on his BBC London 2012 film. if you go to the trouble of making a film about what is not occuring in LBWF then you are serious.

I look for free activities for seniors in all 5 boroughs and woeful are my findings for WF. I have to reach out of the borough and then make sure that WF seniors are actually welcome. It doesn’t impress me at all when for example Newham writes on their flyers  “Newham residents only” . I have to negotiate. I know it’s all to do with funding but WF seniors become refugees travelling just over the border to get  something nice. Ain’t we 5 boroughs all in this together?

Sometimes WF wakes up and realises that we are near the Games time. “Personal Best”, a course which was offered to WF residents to cheer them up, motivate them and let them believe that The Olympics and Paralympic Games were for them and that they would very likely get jobs on the site they’d never actually seen, came and went in all its glory of achievement targets, Individual Plans, and final ceremonies. The course was well-delivered and structured but it was what it was and led to no trumpet fan-fares in the borough .

It returned disguised by funding operators as “Volunteering Works Summer 2011.” And it was hardly  advertised: 70 years olds were stopped in their tracks at Priory Court Community Centre and asked whether they wanted to do a 2 full day a week 10 week hand-writing course for free. Volinteers already in place were asked to pop in to make up the numbers. What a farce. Class in Waltham Forest revived the old Personal Best course and never bothered to re -vamp it in any way despite the fact that we now have The Big Society, a change in funding for social enterprises due to massive public cuts, an unmanageable immigrant influx,  funding having been swiped away from students on  ESOL courses, and digital access as a means of applying for posts and indeed searching for  anything.

Courses such as “Volunteering Works 2011” are aimed at a population seen as deficient in many ways: people with low self-esteem, women who  have childcare responsibilities, non-working mothers, the unemployable unemployed, long-time job-seekers and lately, seniors who are already volunteering. The measurement of success is all down to how the individual raises her/his competency levels regarding writing a CV (used to be so banned in WF) and how successful their self-selling skills are; “soft skills”.And the high achiever may , just may get a look in as a Games Maker in the Games. So not, especially if the applicant has child care responsibilities, little English, mental dysfunction caused by low self-esteem in a society where everything just got harder, more expensive, more worrying. And those sought-after volunteering jobs on the Games site (What  are they?) are unpaid, let’s remember.

I can be as positive as the next flower but that would be going along with an increasingly backward borough whose planners have not nurtured its residents in the run-up to a global event. “Volunteering Works 2011” has landed in the lap of the cynical and those who cannot commit 2 full days a week  to something that leads to nowhere.