Friday 31 March 2017
Volunteer Iyiola updates us on what volunteering for Get Yourself Active means for him
I used to be the kind of person that rarely reflects on things on a regular basis and often just allow time to pass me by! This obviously is not a model that benefits anyone and I admit I have been a victim myself of this kind of disorganised living – sometimes I wake up and it will suddenly dawn on me that I was already in November and then wonder what I did with my life the previous 10 months!
Anyway those days are over and I am now more organised and regularly write personal and professional goals at the beginning of each year which I update and try to religiously follow. So when my contract ended last November at a previous employment I had to adjust my personal plan for the year and aside from obviously looking for another job thought about how best to use my time productively.
First thing I did was to volunteer a couple of days answering calls and signposting callers to where they can get support at my local disability organisation but because the calls were very infrequent I got bored and stopped volunteering there. I continued to fill my time with writing applications and getting prepared for interviews and doing a lot of studying (reading online stuff about equality and human rights, skills employers are looking for and how to improve in those areas etc.). However these activities were not enough and I really wanted to be out there in an office environment using my skills and learning new skills, so I thought about volunteering again and this time I chose DRUK and the get yourself active project, which is a project that focuses on challenging the stereo type that we ordinary disabled people (not the professional elite disabled sport men and women) can’t get into sport or physical activities just like any other citizen.
I won’t bother you about how I contacted Leanne, the project manager because I already covered that in my previous blog. This blog is about giving you an update of my time so far and what I have learnt and achieved from volunteering on the project.
First thing I learnt is using Hootsuite to schedule tweets on the project’s twitter handle bar. I tweet myself but never knew you could schedule tweets in advance which eliminates the need to frequently spend too much time on your twitter account to send tweets.
Second thing I learnt was about CSPs (County Sports Partnerships) the coordinating sports organisations across the country. I learnt about how they promote sport and physical activities and how disability is beginning to be factored into their plans and activities. Apart from the main focus of the project I mentioned earlier one of the other objectives of Get yourself active is supporting these partnerships to engage effectively with disabled people and their organisations and appreciating the value of getting disabled people more involved in sport and physical activities.
Thirdly and should be the first, I learnt about the project’s delivery partners and how they are embedding sport and physical activities in their independent living services to their members and clients (service users). Article 30 of the UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities) clearly links sports, physical activities and leisure with independent living and since 2006 when the Convention went live being active and participating in sport, leisure and physical activities is now recognised as human rights of disabled people.
Fourthly, I have learnt how to upload stories and articles on the project’s website. I am often given the responsibility of researching sport or physical activities related articles/stories and uploading them on the website. After uploading, I link the stories to the project’s Twitter handle bar which helps to drive traffic to the project’s website and activities.
Finally I am volunteering in a team and improving on my interpersonal and communication skills to get along with my 2 boss ladies and the rest of the DRUK team. The DRUK staff are quite friendly and they always make me feel welcome and part of the family.
Part 3 of volunteering will be written soon…watch out!!!
Read Iyiola’s first blog post here to see how he has progressed.