PiP at University of Westminster Volunteering Fair

Here at PiP, we like to attend to as many volunteering fairs as we can to connect with the local community. We welcome university students volunteers. We have opportunities for them to either work directly with our students with learning disabilities, assisting with our front line activities or to work at our offices providing support to our finance and fundraising teams.

 We value our volunteers immensely and we like them to gain as much experience and knowledge they can.

Recently we attended to the Westminster Volunteering Fair and had a chance to connect with so many students who want to gain valuable work experience and help the community. It was also great to connect with other charitable organisations and exchange ideas on how to best recruit volunteers.

See the full list of our volunteering opportunities here.

Our Volunteering Coordinator Adam Pearson and our Office Manager Fernanda Melo attended to the Westminster Volunteering Fair.


City University student Sophia talks about her time at PiP

“Hi, 

 My name is Sophia and I am a university student who has just completed a five-week placement with PiP. 

 PiP is a London based charity which encourages independence and freedom to students with learning disabilities trough specific training on social and communication skills, employability, social well-being and travel training. Having researched what PIP does, this instigated my interest in volunteering for this organisation, mainly because of the intense work and pride they put into striving for the best for their students! 

Sophia helping our student Declan with his artwork during creative art session.

My time at PiP has been an amazing experience! I’ve had the opportunity to work with a range of SEN students and to develop my understanding of social media and marketing to raise awareness of such learning disabilities. I have had a fulfilling experience, working personally with the students and partaking within class training sessions, enabling them to become confident, independent individuals.

Every week, I would participate in cooking sessions, interacting with students. Watching them grow and further develop their cooking and social skills has been a rewarding and satisfying experience.

 Aside from the practical aspect, I’ve also had the opportunity to work behind the scenes and partake in scheduling social media posts, writing blog posts and working out financial budgets for their new campaign ‘Beanstalk’. This has enabled me to get a wider understanding of what PiP does and its main goals/objectives. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at PiP, both the staff and students were very welcoming and lovely; it was most definitely a great place to work over the weeks. It was a great opportunity and I felt that I learnt many aspects of the charity and now have a greater understanding of the type of work that goes on behind charitable organisations.

I would recommend future volunteers to work with PiP as you will embark on a journey with great people, whist also learning many skills in the process.”

Click here If you are interested in volunteering with PiP.

We would love to hearing from you.

 

 


Proximity win Westminster Community Award for their CSR work with PiP

The wonderful team from creative agency Proximity have won a Westminster Community Award for their Corporate Contribution to PiP’s work.

We’re a small team at PiP. Totally committed to supporting people with learning disabilities and dedicated in helping them be as independent and valued in their community as they can be.  Finding that sense of passion and shared values in a corporate partner is a wonderful thing.

Having received support from Proximity on a projects in the past they welcomed our request to discuss the very seed of an idea. The idea was to create a working market stall where PiP students would create and make healthy juices, learn core life and work skills and interact with the general public.  Proximity loved the idea and we could see that this project was something that really excited them.  That excitement turned into two years of work and support that we just couldn’t have dreamed of receiving (as a small local organisation we certainly wouldn’t have been able to financially afford to enlist such expert creatives).  Not only did the team at Proximity come up with a logo, but they created a brand, a story that made sense to us as an organisation and would make sense to those who knew nothing about what we did.

They listened to what we needed and helped us visualise what the project could be.  It was named Fruitful – “It’s not just you it’s good for”.  From there they put hours and hours into designing and physically building the stall (with accessibility in mind) plus designed all of the promotional materials from cup sleeves to A-boards, a recruitment website to help us fill the position of “London’s Juiciest Job” and from there a promotional project website www.fruitfulproject.org.uk which we are now using to seek out companies and markets that wish to book us for their next event.  They are as passionate as us about making this small project into something that any new business or enterprise would proud of and it has resulted in Fruitful being by far the best looking stall in any hip London street food market – a work place and social initiative that our Fruitful trainees and PiP staff and supporters are proud to be a part of.

Fruitful has not only had an impact on the development of adults with learning disabilities, but it is a showcase project for the charity – leveraging opportunities to raise money and awareness to ensure future sustainability of the charity.

Quite simply, this project would not have been able to get off the ground in the way that it has without Proximity.  They assigned time, and top quality expertise from all corners of their business. They didn’t just squeeze us into their busy days, they have committed and continue to commit hours and hours both inside and outside of work time to helping our small organisation and supporting local people in their community. Everyone at PiP is so proud of Fruitful and just so grateful for the support from Proximity.


PiP Fundraising and Communications Manager Danielle Taylor nominated as a SAGE Charity Pioneer

 

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Our very own Fundraising and Communications Manager Danielle Taylor has been nominated by one of our corporate partners Sage as a #CharityPioneer. Danielle has over 15 years of fundraising experience in the charity sector, working for organisations that support people with learning disabilities. She is very passionate about what she does and considers it a pleasure to be able to share that passion with people and organisations every day.

Danielle has played a fundamental role in raising awareness of PiP’s work through fundraising activities, social media and marketing. She has established and nurtured valuable corporate partnerships with a range of local, national and international businesses, and developed our links with the local community. Her tireless work has enabled PiP to support over 60 adults with learning disabilities and autism to become more independent, access the community, develop key living skills, and achieve their potential.

Sage Foundation has supported PiP for many years now, contributing financial donations, volunteers and organisational advice. This nomination acknowledges that relationship and presents another opportunity – If Danielle is selected by the Sage awards panel we will receive a £5000 contribution towards our expansion project Beanstalk.

For those wondering what Beanstalk is; currently, PiP has a long waiting list of adults with learning disabilities that would like to attend our W9 centre. But there are no spaces. For this reason we launched the fundraising campaign “Project Beanstalk” which, if successful in its aim to raise £1m, will allow us to acquire a new space and expand the the service to double the size, increasing the number of people who can access the training and development opportunities PiP presents.

Thank you Danielle and good luck!

Click here to read more about Danielle’s journey.


Helena reflects on her time volunteering at PiP

As I am crossing the busy Shirland Road and then turn left to the Shirland Mews where PiP is located, I try to calculate roughly how many times I have been to PiP during the last eleven months. It must be more than 50. Perhaps 60? 70? Even though I can´t figure out the exact number of days; I am sure of one thing: I wouldn’t miss any of them!

 

GYMCA Volunteer Helena Supporting PIP Students in Cooking

I volunteered at PiP as part of my placement at the German YMCA in Bayswater. Every year the charity has two volunteers who very often have just finished school and would like to do a European Voluntary Service. I visited PiP on a regular basis, once or twice a week, as part of my weekly work schedule at the YMCA. 

 

When I started at PiP last September, I didn’t know much about learning disabilities. Therefore, the idea of working with the PiP students made me, on one hand, really excited but on the other hand,  very nervous. That´s why I was even more surprised when, on my first day at PiP, I found out that there was no need to be frightened at all!

 

In fact, I couldn’t have felt more welcome! All staff members were incredibly friendly and I could always ask them any questions I had about my tasks and the Organisation in general. I usually helped at the weekly juicing and the Yoga session. Mainly, my job was to talk to the students and help to engage in the sessions and complete their tasks.

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I enjoyed very much spending time with the students. In the beginning, some of them were a bit shy and had to get used to me, but that changed very quickly. Soon they started to ask me questions and were sad when I had to leave. After a few months, one of them declared he wanted to go on holiday with me and that, as simple as it might sound, was – amongst many others – one of the best moments I had at PiP!

 

Finally, the students have also taught me a lot of very important things. First, that no learning disability is the same, so all students are different, but that is what makes them unique and amiable. Second, if as you are open-minded, you will find that these people can become very special to you, like friends. And third, because of all that, it will be even harder to leave!

 

Thank you to everyone at PiP for the fantastic time I had as a volunteer!


PiP crushed it this Healthy Eating Week

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We’ve hopped, skipped and jumped our way through Healthy Eating Week this year!

Students have relished the opportunity to make healthy lifestyle changes, leapt at the chance to try new exercises and licked their lips at the prospect of trying new and exotic fruits. Parents and carers have also been really supportive, helping students cook healthy meals at home.

To top it off, staff took on their own healthy challenge of walking 2,000,000 steps over five days!

Health and Wellbeing is a central part of what we teach our students with learning disabilities and autism.

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Celebrating PiP’s corporate volunteers

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This Volunteers Week we are recognising the incredible volunteers who help us in so many ways – from supporting students in sessions, to juicing up fruit for our market stall Fruitful, to sharing skills, expertise, advice and guidance.

As a small charity it’s vital that we work well with local businesses and we’ve been developing what we can offer to corporate organisations over the past few years. We’d like to say a special thank you to the people who have given their time and energy to us over the last year, including volunteers from

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Louisa reflects on her time as a PiP volunteer

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My voluntary service at PIP was a total coincidence: I was looking for an internship in an educational or social setting in London. The internship is a mandatory part of my bachelor’s degree to become a teacher for German and English, the regulations are very loose and the main goal is to gain work experience in an English-speaking country. The German YMCA referred my application to PiP and luckily I was accepted.

Before my time at PiP I had hardly ever encountered anyone with learning disabilities, let alone worked with them. I did not know what to expect but had a very open mind. Of course, I was also a little nervous on my first day.

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Day one as a PiP Volunteer

Humna volunteer

 

Hi I’m Humna from City University and I’m really looking forward to volunteering at PiP over the next four weeks.  I feel that it will be fulfilling and inspirational due to the opportunity to spend time with PiP’s students. PiP focuses on students’ aspirations and also on their individual goals which makes it a special place to work.

PiP helps those with learning disabilities to live their lives as independently as they can by focusing on work experience and employability, social skills and much more! I chose to volunteer at PiP for a number of reasons.

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Speaking to PiP volunteers on Volunteering Week

Patrick

 

This Volunteers Week we’ll be speaking to some of PiP’s volunteers, asking them about the work they do and their experiences as a volunteer.

We talked to Patrick Altmann, from Germany, who has been volunteering with PiP since November 2017. He is the author of the ‘Fruitful song’, which he wrote (to the tune of a famous contemporary pop song…) to promote PiP’s Fruitful Project, a fresh fruit juice stall which helps our students develop their customer service and money management skills. You can watch the Fruitful song here.

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