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Scheme to raise number of black volunteers in the arts

VENUE: One of the free events will be held at Theatre Peckham in south London

BLACK AND ethnic minority (BME) volunteers interested in the arts and cultural sectors are being invited to come out to a series of introductory meetings in February, aimed at helping them learn more about a scheme to support them.

The Volunteer Passport aims to provide volunteers living in south London boroughs, Southwark and Lambeth, with a package of support while promoting diversity within arts and cultural venues.

Funded by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) the Volunteer Passport provides participants with:  
*An introductory meeting to discuss personal goals and potential opportunities
*Placement in an arts or cultural organisation
*Training and support throughout the placement
*CV workshops
*Interview skills workshops
*Sessions on networking

The series of free recruitment and training workshops take place on:
* February 13, 2013 (6:00pm to 8:00pm) at Bermondsey Project, 7, 46 Willow Walk, SE1 5SF
* February 2013 (6:00pm to 8:00pm) at Creative Sparkworks, Lillian Baylis Old School, Lollard Street, SE11 6PY and
* February 21, 2013 (11:00am to 1:00pm) at Theatre Peckham, Havil Street, SE5 7SD

The events are being supported by local officials. Councillor Veronica Ward, cabinet member for culture, leisure, sport and the Olympics, said: “Southwark is home to many excellent cultural and arts organisations that support our local communities and visitors.

"To continue to deliver the great work they do, they need enthusiastic and motivated volunteers from within the community. The variety of work and the transferable skills gained through with the Volunteer Passport project makes will help people to access work and other opportunities in the future.”

Clive Pankhurst, chief executive of Volunteer Centre Southwark, added: "This passport creates a great opportunity to get involved in some really exciting volunteering opportunities. I'll encourage everyone to get involved while this extra support is on offer."

Eleana Blango, a volunteer at Blackfriars settlement helping with their mental health arts project, praised the scheme and speaks positively on transferable skills gained through volunteering in the arts and cultural sector.

She said: “I used to be a full-time mum and my friends were also mums. Volunteering has helped me to meet people I wouldn’t normally have met and has boosted my teaching experience which was limited to secondary schools in Spain. I now have the confidence to teach in an adult learning environment and I get a sense of fulfilment from helping others.”

The Volunteer Passport is a partnership initiative delivered jointly by Southwark Council, Southwark Arts Forum, Volunteer Centre Southwark, Volunteer Centre Lambeth and Lambeth Council.

The project has been developed in response to statistics which show that black and ethnic minority volunteers are underrepresented in cultural organisations.

For more information or to sign up to attend the recruitment event, visit volunteerpassport.eventbrite.co.uk, turn up on the day or visit or contact your local volunteer centre at 020 7703 4205or 0207 326 5490

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