Alina Got involved with Bognor CAN through the Do-it website and has been involved as a volunteer with Bognor CAN for two years. She is Latvian and has a degree in finance from Latvia, which isn’t recognised in the UK.
“With the support of Bognor CAN I have been to college and achieved a Level 3 Diploma in Accountancy and gained a wealth of practical experience with Bognor CAN which has been invaluable and this will help me get work in accountancy in the future.”
Alina wants to help Bognor CAN so that she can get on with other work. She also helps Carol plan for the future by producing budgets for projects. She feels as though she is growing with the charity – “As Bognor CAN grow; I have to learn and grow with them.”
“As a foreigner, being with Bognor CAN gives me lots of support in my everyday life. Sometimes I just don’t know the rules of how things work here. But at Bognor CAN I know I can always ask. You give something, and you get something back. It means I spend time doing English language skills and I get support to do it. I’m not scared of speaking anymore because I have had the space and support without being judged to practice here.”
“I think Bognor CAN will grow to provide more activities to more people. I can help with more accurate budgeting for projects and I have made a budgeting toolkit to help with fundraising, so that Bognor CAN costs things more easily. I want to have an accountancy job. I would like to have paid work in a community organisation if that would be possible.”
Clare – Office Volunteer
Clare was working at VCACD in Chichester when they merged with CVS Arunwide and she was made redundant and became a volunteer with Bognor CAN. During that time she did a course on producing case studies as a way of evaluating projects, and has been using these skills as a volunteer, producing case studies about what service users have got from Bognor CAN. Because of this she is in a good position to summarise both the volunteer and service user perspective.
Clare says: “Bognor CAN really make a difference to people’s lives. It is a safe place to make friends and cook and eat a healthy lunch.”
She says: “working with Bognor CAN have given me a lot of work experience. It is a different working environment, where you get to see the benefits of what you are doing. I want to work in the voluntary sector because I want to make a difference and Bognor CAN really does make a difference. Many people say that if they didn’t come to Bognor CAN, then they wouldn’t go anywhere. I think perhaps there could be the potential to run more activities more of the time. There is definitely demand for more and different kinds of keep fit classes.”
Kez – Volunteer Community Leader and Events Coordinator
Kez came to Bognor CAN having been assaulted and feeling depressed. She was trying to get back into the community and to stop feeling scared. Her younger son witnessed the assault. She wanted to build his confidence, so got him to attend the Martial Arts classes. Kez got to know Carol and she was familiar with the building so felt comfortable.
Kez felt inspired by Carol because she was always really positive, even though she seemed to be making a lot of Bognor CAN happen on her own.
Three years on and Kez is still involved, still inspired by Carol because she makes you feel that there’s more to you that other people think. Bognor CAN is where Kez wants to be: “being involved has made me feel that I can do anything.”
She says: “Bognor CAN have progressed enormously, and it has made me go to places and doing things I would never thought of going or doing.” She’s been involved in a number of different projects, and her favourite projects and their impact are described on the next page.
Kez has also been organising occasional fund raising events including music nights. Recently a Ska and Reggae night raised £1500. She is organising a 60s and 70s night next. She says: “I still love doing workshops with the kids, but now I am focusing on events and spending time talking to people about what events and activities they would like to see happen.” On 20th April 2013 Kez organised a Mowtown Night, funded by a community supporter and raised £1432.
Marie Davenport – Projects Facilitator
Marie moved to Bognor to get away from a really difficult relationship. She and her kids lived in temporary accommodation for a while. She now has a lovely house, but worries that there is nothing here for her kids
She was doing a degree in fine art, and the technician who supported the course suggested that Marie offered a workshop at Bognor CAN activities. Marie was impressed with the workshops that were being offered to young people and then she met Carol the Manager. She was struck by Carol’s enthusiasm.
Carol suggested that she did the Cook and Eat, Train the Trainer course – which she did. Marie sees it as another creative avenue and she still offers art workshops as part of the summer activities programme.
Marie passed her degree and wanted to be part of the local community. She is keen to foster and develop a community spirit in the locality and has been running the Cook and Eat work for two years, seeing it as a way of bringing the community together as well as enabling people to build their confidence and live more healthily on a budget.
Marie also did the community leaders course. She thought it was a really good course – really inspiring, the trainer was really positive. She thinks that all the people that did the course should commit to volunteering with Bognor CAN. Marie said: “We are getting more volunteers but people should sign up to support Bognor CAN, sort of a skills exchange.”
“We need to find ways of talking to people face to face so Bognor CAN, should put on social events to engage with people.”
“Bognor is diverse, lots of different kinds of people. There are a lot of older people with really different needs. It is a lovely place, but the younger generation haven’t got a lot, and there is nothing much for them to do. We could go into the town, get a choir sorted out, help people feel better, people need laughter and to be light hearted. Food and music brings people together.”
She has done lots of courses supported and arranged by Bognor CAN. “The Cook and Eat, the Food Hygiene and the Community Leaders courses were of great benefit to me and the community.” Marie did the PTLLS course and the PTLLS trainers were really supportive and all of the courses have given her confidence.
Marie is setting up a raw food group outside of Bognor CAN. She says that she wouldn’t have been able to do that if she hadn’t had the support of Bognor CAN.
Warren Muncey – Volunteer
Warren volunteers with the fundraising, Community Challenges and even dresses up as the Easter Bunny for the little ones. He started volunteering because two of his children have benefitted from the Martial Arts project.
Warren Said: “Bognor CAN has helped change the neighbourhood, it used to be like Beirut, but you get to know the other local residents, through being involved in Bognor CAN and he has started to create more of a sense of community. It is nowhere near as bad as it used to be.”
Warren then told a story to illustrate the point about one late night a young lad Luke banged on his door to report that the community centre was left open by another group:
“I went over there to find four of Luke’s mates circling the centre so I phoned the police. When the Police arrive they thought that the young lads had broken in as they are known to the Police. I had to explain that it was them that had told me the door was left open because of loyalty to me and knowing that I am one of the key holders and volunteers. Vandalism has happened less and less because of the impact of Bognor CAN. We need more people to get involved and they need to find out what would get more people to do that.”
Warren says that Bognor CAN is like having another family. “It takes your mind off problems elsewhere. It creates a network of people who know each other and support one another. But we need more people to take a leadership role and show initiative. The amount of volunteers involved is lovely, but we need more. It would also be good if local people became trustees, but warren believes that more people need to get involved as general volunteers before people put themselves forward to become trustees.”
Bognor CAN supported Warren to do a PAT testing course, so that he could help Bognor CAN and other organisations. This has also helped him change his career.
Yvonne – Management support volunteer
Yvonne moved down from London having retired from senior public sector role. Derek at the Volunteer Centre referred her to the CAB where they were looking for someone to some work on their database but it wasn’t for her.
Derek then referred Yvonne to Bognor CAN. She found Bognor CAN much more receptive and she has worked in the getting involved with the recruitment and selection of staff and volunteers and setting up their CRB checking service.
Yvonne says that Bognor CAN is unique and that is why she stayed. She says: “there is a sense of belonging here, in a therapeutic way. Volunteers and beneficiaries don’t feel threatened and they are encouraged to develop and it is also a reality check, because volunteers are encouraged believe that they are in the real world and that their actions as a volunteer have consequences on the lives of the people involved with Bognor CAN.’
Yvonne wants to be a trustee once the organisation is incorporated because the organisation is so valuable and she wants to help secure its future. She believes that there needs to be more trustees involved, a mixture of local residents and people with professional skills. She believes that they are evolving towards stronger governance, which is what they need to sustain themselves into the future.
“I’m 40 years of age. I have no family and support myself the best I can. In November 2012, I moved from Surrey to West Sussex. I took a risk for a calmer and stress-free life-style. I knew no-one in West Sussex.”
“It’s a difficult time to find jobs wherever you live in the UK, so my best bet was to find somewhere comfortable to me where I could offer my skills as a volunteer and at the same time get to know the local residents and their ways of being.”
“I came across Bognor CAN online. With the help of CAB, finding Bognor CAN not far from where I live was a God-send. I was overwhelmed when I went to the location as I was welcomed by staff and members with great kindness and smiles; something you don’t see in London.”
“I’m a creative person, so I joined the art and craft groups. I met a nice group of women who befriended me and I felt safe. I volunteered soon afterwards with the project as it encouraged me to get out of my flat and lifted my self-esteem along with my confidence.”
“Four months have passed smoothly for me, which wouldn’t have been so if it wasn’t for Bognor CAN. I know there are many other members who rely on the charity and it’s their means of touching base with other like-minded people, and joining in with the activities is just a bonus. I often laugh and tell members if they don’t use it they’ll lose it.”
“I’ve made some really nice genuine friends for the first time. I can honestly say the environment Bognor CAN have created is a second home to me. There are many charities in London, known as drop-ins, which I have attended in the past due to my mental health wellbeing, but none of them have been as warm, friendly or supporting as Bognor CAN.”
“Carol Fullick and the volunteers at Bognor CAN, have not only welcomed me, but have given me unconditional support and warmth, for which I am truly grateful. It would be a great loss to Bognor Regis if Bognor CAN didn’t receive sufficient funds to run this warm, charitable place where I feel the comfort amongst genuine caring people. I feel it’s a great shame that this charity has to rely on funding as it offers members of the public of all ages, old and young, a great social environment with many activities to suit individuals at their pace all year round. Please consider where we would all go?”
“I was running a business with my ex husband, in the sports and leisure industry and also a youth charity. I was also raising and looking after my family. Eventually I retired due to a marriage break down and because I was over the retirement age. I have a background experience in business of 10 years and 18 years experience of the admin side of running a business. I wanted something to still keep my brain active and to keep busy after my business career. I decided to look on the internet for voluntary work in the Bognor Regis area and the first result that came up and caught my eye was the Arun Volunteer Centre Website. I contacted Derek Moore the Arun Volunteer Centre Co-ordinator and arranged to have an interview with him about what volunteering I wanted to do. I informed Derek and he mentioned Bognor CAN and gave me their telephone number”
“I made the decision not to contact Bognor CAN at the time as my mother was in and out of hospital and I did not want to start something I couldn’t commit to, so I put it on hold. However I did do some voluntary work for The Bognor Regis Timebank and I met a lady called Julie. Julie mentioned to me about some keep fit classes at the Bognor CAN.”
“In the New Year 2012 I decided to get out and find some new life and come along to the Keep Fit classes to see what they were like. The following week I joined in on the classes and then I realised that Bognor CAN who Derek had previously mentioned to me, ran the Keep Fit Classes. I then had a meeting with Carol the manager and started to do voluntary work there.”
“I do admin work, attend meetings with the Community Leaders and generally help out where needed. Carol eased me in to the volunteering work and helped me to learn what the Bognor CAN charity is all about and I thought it was a really worth while charity to support.
At the moment I am currently helping support Carol with fundraising, which involves using the internet to research possible funding sources. I volunteer for Bognor CAN as and when I can around my caring responsibilities.”
“I enjoy the challenge of learning new things and enjoy knowing that I am helping and assisting people. I like being pro-active and identifying where I can really help. I would like to utilize my business background in helping the charity.”
“It has given me a purpose, it gives me something to do and it is nice to have a week planned out with something to occupy my time that is worthwhile & benefits others. I feel it has given me a positive purpose to part of my life. I wanted to find out who I was as an individual and volunteering is helping me to do this. It has also greatly helped me in building up my confidence again.”