Meet The Volunteers-Paul A
Meet The Volunteers - Paul
- Age 21
- Nationality: Northern Irish / Irish
- Town / City: Liverpool
- Placement(s): Faiths4Change and Liverpool World Centre
A little about me...
I grew up in Lisburn, a small city in Northern Ireland, with my two sisters and large array of cousins. I left the north a green boy and spent the past three years at university in Manchester, which shaped me into a man who loves chatting rubbish about history and politics. I enjoy reading, good food and drink, football (I’m much better watching than playing), travelling, exploring new places and generally getting up to a little bit of trouble when possible.
Why Vincentian Volunteers ...
When I was coming to the end of my final year at university, I didn’t really have any clear ideas about what exactly I wanted to do next. However I have long been passionate about social justice issues and I felt that I wanted to work for those less fortunate than myself. The Vincentian programme appealed to me because of its emphasis on core faith values: service and work for the less fortunate, living in a genuine community, exploring our spirituality and being open to those of all or no faiths. All of the volunteers (myself included) are trying to figure out with to do with our lives. This programme, with some divine assistance, offers the best chance to solve that conundrum.
My Projects ...
I work at two placements, both of which are involved in different forms of ‘community work’. They are:
Faiths4Change is a local charity which works to listen to and empower local people (often in low-income areas), enabling them to come together and work for better conditions for their neighbourhood. It has often worked on inter-faith projects, with a focus on sustainability and environmental wellbeing. My role sees me assisting on a number of projects, including school workshops, textile recycling and flood prevention. I’m gaining experience in the practicalities of community work such, as creating a project which residents will actually attend and will benefit them and ensuring that communities continue the work after the project has ended. Also, my gardening and food growing skills have improved dramatically since I started working here.
Liverpool World Centre
Liverpool World Centre is a development education centre: it seeks to promote global learning in the education system. Global learning is the belief that although we have both local and national ties, we also have a responsibility to the wider world and that students should be aware of their place in an interconnected world. Their work primarily consists of workshops, delivered to students and teachers, as well as university lecturing. It’s a small team with different specialities, so I do a little bit of everything: research, communications, workshop design and fundraising. Currently I’m helping to create a schools workshop on ‘British Values’, promoting a project which seeks to build a textile forest and researching effective forms of community engagement.
My Highlights ...
I am surprised at just how much I am enjoying the programme. I really like my placements, I’m always learning, and find it uplifiting when we deliver sessions around Merseyside and they make an impact upon the attendees. My community is a joy. We get along together and laugh and tell stories about our daily events around the dinner table most evenings. And I really enjoy spending time with the other volunteers, exploring and seeing what mischief we can cause. Specific highlights include: Sandymount, The Brown Cow/RedLion/Railway, Several bad karaoke sessions, Table Tennis, the few meals I’ve cooked, Ireland vs. Germany, China Town, National Express Buses, Wicked and feeding the ducks to name but a few.