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Phase 1 Report

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Focus Group Analysis To

Focus Group Analysis To find out more about youth volunteering access, motivation and opinions surrounding current brands, four consultations were held in locations across Wales with both volunteers and nonvolunteers. 33 young people were consulted across three areas in Wales: Wrexham, Swansea and Cardiff. The youth panel at the Association of Voluntary Services in Wrexham (AVOW) were consulted. Ethnic Youth Support Team (EYST) in Swansea and Butetown Pavilion in Cardiff provided insight from a group of young people from BME backgrounds, including asylum seeker and refugee backgrounds. Mixtup in Swansea were also consulted and is a group that supports young people with mixed abilities. Overall, the groups consisted of 17 males and 16 females, all of which were between 14 and 25 years old. 24 out of the 33 young people were either currently volunteering or had previously volunteered. Access to Volunteering How young people access volunteering opportunities varies depending on ages and backgrounds. The results from the survey were reinforced when conducting focus groups with young people across Wales; most young people accessed volunteering through friends, volunteer centres and the internet. Some examples include: I started at age 13, turned up to every panel meeting. I started volunteering in the summer holidays because I didn’t have anything to do! I found my local Youth Volunteering Advisor and she helped me find things to do in our area to keep me busy, I found my YVA through my older sisters. Got involved from the age of 13 with the youth forum, through a local youth club. I mostly found out from people, from the drop-in at EYST and Discovery at University Even though many accessed volunteering through formal methods such as talking to the YVA in their area, many explained how it is much more effective to talk to someone face to face about opportunities or to meet other young people who volunteer; this was said to be very powerful in allowing young people to overcome any perceived barriers to volunteering … particularly when busting myths about how old a person needs to be to volunteer in Wales. Those that had not volunteered previously overwhelmingly stated that they would find out about these opportunities either via the internet or through youth centres and friends. However, when asked, these young people did not recognise the volunteering brands or websites that were available which encourages a catch 22 situation: How can a young person engage with volunteering opportunities when they are not aware of tools in place to enable them to do so? Motivation for Volunteering If everyone were to volunteer, and every now and then we do have time in the week, it would make such a big difference in any community. From the focus group discussions, it became apparent that although each young person had taken an individual path to access volunteering, many young people shared the same motivations for 26

ecoming engaged with volunteering. In the focus group discussions, 24 out of 33 young people were currently volunteering or had previously volunteered. These young people shared their motivations for volunteering in positions such as taking part on a youth panel of a local County Voluntary Council, working with young people in youth clubs and through coaching young people at local football teams, to name a few. Those 5 volunteers volunteering on a youth panel in Wrexham stated that their drive was to help someone out and to contribute to creating opportunities for those in their community. One young male said: Helping is one of the most human things. It’s [volunteering] has given me the confidence to reach out and do bigger things. The 9 volunteers at Ethnic Youth Support Team (EYST) from ethnically diverse backgrounds expressed similar motivations to volunteer, including gaining confidence, skills and to develop an understanding of their community. One young person aged 24 shared his understanding of the principles of volunteering: I always had this dream as a kid; do something to help people. Get involved with something when you grow up to help people without the emphasis on what you take back from it. The place I grew up in, my family, were good people that give … I learnt it from them and it stuck in my head. In simple terms, I don’t have that big philosophy behind volunteering; I just know that it’s a good thing. Unique to this focus group was the desire by volunteers to advance their English language skills through volunteering and to feel a better sense of belonging; many of these young people come from asylum seeker and refugee backgrounds and stated these reasons as the key factor to volunteer in Swansea. One EYST volunteer explained that volunteering ‘makes things seem more possible … It makes you see how big the community is and what your part in it could be.’ Another motivational aspect that was highlighted by young people surrounded the definition of volunteering. Some young people discussed how they didn’t know they were actually formally volunteering until they received a certificate: I didn’t do it for the hours, I didn’t realise how many I’d done until the Volunteering Coordinator told me I’d done over 200! Others discussed how the notion of volunteering seems to be changing, particularly in recent times where the Welsh Baccalaureate qualification has become compulsory, along with its 30 hours volunteering requirement. One young female, 21 years old said: Young people shouldn’t be forced to volunteer, youth workers and others should support young people into this route if they feel like they want it … it’s not meaningful to them and they are not doing it for an actual purpose. The 8 young people taking part in the focus group at Butetown Pavilion were the group least engaged in volunteering. Some had volunteered but they did not realise that this made them a formal volunteer. They recognised that motivations for volunteering is to be helpful and that it can be rewarding. Young people involved in Mixtup had had some experience of volunteering, through different disability-focused organisations including Buddies and Circus Eruption. Their main motivation was to have fun. One young 16 year old female said her particular experience of volunteering had been ‘boring, we just didn’t really do much’ 27

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