Wildside offer a range of professionally supervised activities to encourage people of all backgrounds and abilities to become involved in environmental activities and conservation and to improve mental health. They also aim to provide the opportunity for volunteering and work experience for those that are hard to reach or suffer barriers to finding employment. They offer practical conservation projects, health and safety and job readiness including CV writing, interview skills and job searches. In September 2016, funding was gained first through Lloyds then through ESF. So far 50 unemployed have taken part and out of those 50, 11 that they know of, have gained employment.
Their volunteer Kamlesh Patel was referred to them by the Job Centre and he started on 3rd December. He had not been in employment since May 2018. He had been a bus driver, then he had a heart attack and had 4 stents fitted and a defibrillator. His company moved him to handling cash within the depot, then he was made redundant.
Before the project Kam had felt he needed to do something with his time to get out of the house. He was very concerned that he could not do the work as a volunteer as sometimes it can be very strenuous and he was concerned that his heart condition may be aggravated by heavy lifting. Wildside operates a strong Equality and Diversity policy and Kam was given a “buddy” and was advised to do what he could and that they did not ask anyone to do anything they felt they weren’t capable of doing. One of his targets was to put something back into the community. Kam did not feel ready for work at the start of the programme and wanted extra support.
Kam had a CV in place but it lacked information and did not portray his skills fully. The first thing that we did was work on his CV to improve it. We also did very wide job searches to see what was available in the area and we were able to widen his employment prospects by adding some areas that he had not thought about before.
Kam also felt he lacked interview skills so he had help in that area also.
Kam is now actively looking for work and chasing up employment leads in his own time without support from the Centre. His improved CV has made a real difference. Kam is now getting interviews and came very close to getting a driving job with The Beacon Centre in Sedgley. He is now waiting on the results of an application for a driving job at Compton Hospice in Wolverhampton.
Kam has taken part in some activities that have enabled him to put something back into the community. He has been involved in a project putting in benches in Castlecroft for use of the public.
Kam has asked to stay on and volunteer with Wildside Activity Centre until he gets a job, which he is doing. He now has sole control of finding his own potential employment opportunities and he knows that help is available at the centre if he needs it. At present, he is finding and applying for at least one potential opportunity per week.