Volunteers Week (1-7 June) – 1 June 2022 At Tutor Trust, we’re passionate about transforming the lives of young people through tutoring. We strive to level the educational playing field by making tutoring an accessible and affordable option to our partner schools, reaching those pupils who may not otherwise have access to a great tutor. Our work across the Greater Manchester, Leeds-Bradford and Merseyside city regions this academic year has seen us deliver high-quality tuition to more than 6,000 pupils in nearly 200 schools. We are passionate about making a difference, as an organisation and as individuals within it. A number of the staff team are School Governors, including Jenny Muter, our Director of Impact (read her story below). Others on the team, along with our tutors, also volunteer for a range of different charities, and know the benefits of giving back to their communities. So, for this year’s Volunteers Week, we’re putting the spotlight on a few members of our team who give some of their free time to great causes outside of their work with Tutor Trust. Jenny Muter - Manchester Communication Academy and Manchester Cares Jenny is Tutor Trust's Director of Impact. She values her volunteering and feels it complements the work she does at Tutor Trust. She says: "For the past two-and-a-half years, I've volunteered for the fantastic Manchester Cares, a charity that runs social clubs that bring older and younger neighbours together to build community. I am involved in their 'Love Your Neighbour' programme, where I've developed a friendship with Jack, a lovely 88-year-old with a wealth of stories to share. I visit Jack weekly, and it's been wonderful to develop such a cross-generational friendship (and compete when watching The Chase together!). "In addition to my work with Manchester Cares, I also volunteer as a school governor, and am currently Vice Chair of Governors at Manchester Communication Academy (MCA). The school is deeply committed to educational equity and social mobility for all, and works to ensure that all students not only make accelerated academic progress, but become resilient to the potential effects of disadvantage. MCA is deeply rooted within the local community, building on the strengths and experiences of families and community groups to offer exceptional opportunities for their students. "Becoming a school governor is a fantastic way to get involved in the amazing work that schools do to support children and young people. Governing boards require a diversity of skills and professional backgrounds, and there is currently a drive to recruit more diverse school governors, and, particularly, to encourage younger people to get involved. The role isn't onerous: there will be a number of full governing board meetings each year, as well as subcommittee meetings, and, of course, the opportunity to get involved in the school community by attending events and celebrations. If you're interested, a great start would be to register on Inspiring Governance, which is how I found my role at MCA." Sara Whittaker – Bosavern Community Farm Sara is one of our Schools Coordinator in Leeds-Bradford. Before joining the team full-time, she tutored in primary schools across the city region and was part of our Brand Ambassador team, whilst completing her undergraduate degree in Philosophy. She tells us: “Last August, I spent the month living and volunteering on Bosavern Community Farm, an organic community farm in Penzance, Cornwall. Jobs on the farm included getting the chickens and putting them to bed, planting seeds, harvesting fruit and vegetables, and helping run the farm shop. My experience at the farm was profound and helped me get through a really difficult time, and I believe a large factor that played into this was the fact I was volunteering. “The sense of community present in volunteer projects is tangible; people who would otherwise be strangers come together to work for a common goal, with the only external reward being the skills that you nurture there. The community this creates and the fulfilment this brings is not something I have easily found elsewhere in my day-to-day life. My favourite moments from the farm were always our shared lunches; being able to sample meals from all around the world (as projects like this attract a lot of international volunteers), talking about anything and eating the food we had grown and harvested ourselves.” Jude King – Mustard Tree Jude is our Communications Manager at Tutor Trust. Alongside her work with us, she volunteers at Mustard Tree. “I started volunteering at Mustard Tree, a Greater Manchester charity combatting poverty and preventing homelessness, during the first lockdown in 2020. “There were several reasons I joined. Firstly, I’d volunteered before, over several years, for my local hospice, and felt like I was making a difference there. More recently I’d volunteered for another Manchester homelessness charity, The Booth Centre, because I feel passionately about giving people the tools to regain their life and independence. “This time around, I volunteered because, like millions of others, I felt lonely and missed having a sense of community. As I had some free time and wanted to do something productive for a cause I believed in, I signed up. In those first few months, I delivered food parcels to families across the city, briefly connecting with many who hadn’t been able to leave their home and who desperately needed support. “Last summer I started volunteering in the charity’s Ancoats shop. Almost two years on, the team at Mustard Tree are my Saturday family. I’m there once a fortnight, in the Food Club, enjoying the sense of community and knowing that I’m making a small difference. “For me volunteering is very much a two-way street and I’ve always got way more out of it than I’ve ever put in. If you can align yourself with a charity whose aims you support, whose cause is one you believe in, everybody wins. They have a committed volunteer who gives time, energy, and enthusiasm and, in return, you have the satisfaction of knowing that your efforts are making life a little better for others. And that’s priceless.” Maddy Turner – Rainbows Based in Greater Manchester, Maddy supports young people in primary and secondary schools, as well as Looked After Children. She is also part of our Brand Ambassador team. “I volunteer as a Rainbows leader for Girlguiding. After being a Rainbow, Brownie and Guide myself, I decided I wanted to continue to be involved with Girlguiding and complete my Leadership Qualification, to be able to provide young girls with the same experiences and skills I gained. “Girlguiding has developed my social skills, taught me outdoor cooking and camping skills, given me the chance to try a range of sporting activities and I formed memories I’ll have for life. As a leader, I help plan and run the weekly sessions, which cover practical life skills and knowledge; arts and crafts; and trips out and about – to name a few – and all in a safe, friendly, and inclusive environment. “I love being a Rainbows leader, as it’s so much fun and seeing the girls turn up each week happy to see you and excited to find out what we’re doing is great. Girlguiding is an amazing group to be a part of, and I think it’s important for children to feel a sense of belonging to a community, outside of school. It is very rewarding to be a volunteer and be doing something purely for the benefit of others, and enjoying it yourself too! “Being a leader has improved my confidence through leading the sessions and speaking in front of the group, and my creativity in planning engaging activities. I’ve been able to take both skills forward with me to being a tutor, especially as I am a Primary tutor, so my pupils are just a few years older than my Rainbows. Much like with tutoring, volunteering has allowed me to meet a wider range of people and feel more involved in my community.” Maymunah Kathrada – Huddersfield Support Group for Autism Maymunah tutors in primary schools across the Leeds-Bradford city region with us, alongside her current studies as an Adult Nurse. She is also part of our Brand Ambassador team, spreading the word about what we do. ”Summer volunteering at the Huddersfield Support Group for Autism has reinforced my belief in the importance of empathy. Empathy can be simply defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, however, I believe it goes beyond this. For me, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, especially when you do not have shared experiences, nor can you understand their rationale. “As a tutor, empathy is vital. We may not share age, interests or sometimes life experiences with our students, however, we try our best to understand them. To consider who they are, their likes/dislikes and goals etc. By taking the time to appreciate and understand these aspects, tutors can give support centred to the needs of their students.” Are you passionate about making a difference to the lives of young people in your local community? If so, then why not train to become a tutor with us? We will offer you flexible work to suit your schedule, and we’ll pay you for it too.