So much so, that centre manager Paul Hanna felt that some kind of volunteer-matching service must be added to the centre’s portfolio of services. “We weren’t able to help everyone seeking volunteer opportunities at that time,” he says, “but I felt it was an important area to address — we should be helping people who want to help others by volunteering.”
Now, with support from the Big Lottery Fund Awards for All programme, St Barnabas is able to do this through its new project, Pathways to Volunteering in Erdington (PaVEs).
It will help match local people with voluntary opportunities in the local area, thus helping them gain skills, experience and improve their CVs while also giving something back to the local community.
Project co-ordinator Billy Carslaw will mentor volunteers and help them decide what they most want to get out of the project. He will also be working with local businesses and community groups to identify new volunteering opportunities.
Since the fire that devastated St Barnabas Church in 2007, the centre has quite literally risen from the ashes. Following a £25m reconstruction programme it is now one of the loveliest multi-purpose church centres in the country.