A SOUTH Tyneside councillor has become the first political figure through the doors of a company helping to train volunteers.
Coun Ernest Gibson has signed up to one of Training In Care’s volunteering programmes.
He decided to embark on a course in health and social care to help in his role as a volunteer at Holder House Allotment Project in his Whiteleas ward, where he spends his spare time helping adults with learning and physical disabilities as they take part in horticulture or woodwork activities.
Training In Care, based on Boldon Business Park in Witney Way, offers a range of accredited volunteer courses for people looking to work or volunteer in the care sector, whether it’s supporting children, teenagers, adults or the elderly.
Dr Angela Brown, the company’s CEO, said: “There are a lot of people who volunteer and these programmes are designed to give them the chance to gain an accredited qualification.
“They not only benefit the people who are volunteering but also the people they are supporting.
“The courses look at all levels of volunteering including helping them to understand safeguarding issues and confidentiality.”
People applying to the courses undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service check – the new CRB.
Dr Brown added: “We get people who come in and say, for example, want to work in the youth sector but they may be more suited to working with adults or may not fully understand the complexities of working with vulnerable adults, it’s about matching people to the right care pathway.”
Once people have completed a first course, they are then able to decide if they want to go into adult or child care.
Coun Gibson said: “As a volunteer at Holder House, we are looking after a lot of vulnerable people and we just want what’s best for them.
“When I started volunteering I already knew a lot, being a councillor, about safeguarding and confidentiality, but it was some of the little things this course has taught me that I hadn’t really thought of, like the importance of keeping logs and different ways of communicating with vulnerable people.
“Doing this course I have met people from a range of different backgrounds, some of them wanting to work with children and some wanting to work with adults – but the skills you learn are enormous.
“And it’s great that as a volunteer you can gain an accredited qualification from the time you give.”
For information on courses offered by Training In Care, including enrolling on new courses in child care and adult care in September, call people can 536 7241 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org