Investing in volunteers is a winner!

Arty-Folks are awarded the quality mark ‘Investors in Volunteering’ by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations after demonstrating best practice in all aspects of working with our volunteers.   We are so proud of our team of amazing volunteers who worked with us to achieve this award for excellent volunteer management. 

Arty-Folks volunteers past and present who support us as Trustees, Advisors, and Peer Volunteers and we were also joined by representatives of our funders Lloyds Bank Foundation, Heart of England Foundation, and People’s Health Trust.

Peter Smith, assessor NCVO: “Arty-Folks commitment to volunteering being a two way process was brought out in my interviews with all volunteers.  Staff and volunteers have a shared understanding and there is a strong sense throughout the charity that you’re moving forward as a team for the benefit of your service users.“

Dan Sharkey, Digital Coach, Lloyds Bank Foundation: ” I am proud to be a part of Arty-Folks’ journey. The charity does so much for mental health in Coventry and this award is very much deserved.”

Lorella with Beryl Van Wijgerden who was Arty-Folks’ very first volunteer and who went on to complete an Art Foundation course in her 70’s. Now nearing 90, she is still volunteering in the community.

Clef King (left) peer volunteer at Making Headway, our young people group. Anisha Sidhu (middle) is leaving her volunteering and is starting Art Foundation at Coventry University. Mel Calliste-Ozen (right) used to volunteer in the office and now enjoys working as a barista. Through Volunteering our service users are able to recognise that their illness does not define them – they have skills, personal qualities, and life experiences through which they can help others.

Four members of our hugely supportive Board of Trustees, from left to right:
John Gough, Chair since 2013
Ian MacFarlane-Toms, Treasurer
Barnie Giltrap, IT specialist
David Howitt, Company Secretary

Many of our volunteers have completed Improving Lives, an 8 week course with Voluntary Action Coventry that prepared them well for their role. Above, Lorella and Francesca, Supported Volunteering Officer at Voluntary Action Coventry working together and getting stuck in!

Francesca: “Improving Lives really seeks to increase the confidence, self-esteem and prospects of those who take part. We raise awareness of all of the amazing opportunities there are in Coventry for personal and professional development and to make a difference in the community for those willing to give their time to local charities. Volunteers coming through the course are reporting marked increases in motivation and self-belief, and are ready to offer their commitment in a meaningful way, both for themselves and for the benefit of third sector organisations.”

Lorella Medici, manager and founding member: “After all these years and more ups and downs and twists and turns that I could possibly remember, I am still in awe and admiration of everyone who has pulled through and are soldiering on like our Mel and Bally. Yes, I will always call them ‘ours’ because even though they have moved on our door remains open and they will always be members of our Arty-Folks family.”

Lorella being emosh with Mel (left) and a bit freaky with Bally (right).

Lorella: “The Investors in Volunteering Award is a recognition of the enormous contribution our volunteers have made with their time, commitment, passion, and expertise that has enabled Arty-Folks to offer an uninterrupted service since 1996 on a shoestring budget.

On behalf of our staff team Liz, Laura, Karen and myself – THANK YOU!”

This project is funded by the Lloyds Bank Foundation

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