VANEL recently featured in a UK Youth e-newsletter with a “Meet VANEL” feature. Here’s what was said:
Voluntary Action North East Lincolnshire (VANEL) promotes, encourages and supports individuals, groups and organisations in the voluntary and community sector to enable them to meet the needs and aspirations of their communities. We listen to community members and encourage them to tell their stories, then identify appropriate local leadership to ensure “things get done”. We demonstrate through our actions that we can deliver outcomes required by groups and individuals we support. We ensure that services, projects and activities we offer make a measurable difference to groups and individuals we support and share learning and development, to ensure maximum impact is achieved by all of them.
We offer our support services to all age groups however most recently we have focussed on older people aged over 50 years-old and younger people aged between 18 and 30 years-old. We enable younger adults to identify volunteering and social action projects of interest and work alongside them to identify learning opportunities and attain practical experience to help achieve their goals.
There has been an increased interest in environmental activities as well as different forms of media, cultural themes, healthy eating and assistance to improve lifestyle choices. We tailor our programmes to meet the needs of our clients. Since the Covid-19 pandemic struck and affected all our lives, we have seen further increases in need for help with mental health.
We started to help young people aged 16 to 25 address mild to moderate mental health concerns they raised with us that were getting in the way of their studies and/or affecting their ability to find and secure paid work. We introduced different pathways for them to try to help address their concerns. We offered certified online training sessions which many preferred rather than face-to-face. We enabled access to 1-2-1 and group counselling services in partnership with other VCS organisations for those who requested professional advice. We set up social action projects in the local community where young people lived to provide practical experience and give a sense of pride for young people to help improve their living environment.
We encouraged some of the young people we had supported to tell their stories for others to benefit from. We secured some independent funding and organised a sympathetic not-for-profit community programme producer to support each young person to tell their story from their perspective. They involved family members, friends, tutors and mentors with some amazing results for all involved, which culminated in a reflective group sharing the benefits together. Click on the link to listen to their stories: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZD2eKLuXeY
We also worked in partnership with other local VCS organisations to put on a Bright Blue Monday event (the third one in January) in a venue on Cleethorpes seafront, which was inspired by young people who were involved with the planning. It enabled us all to promote the different types of support available to enable young people to move forward with their lives, to help themselves and to help each other. There were a range of different musical performances led by, and including, young people, as well as beach activities and volunteering opportunities to encourage participation.
We continue to listen to young people’s ideas and make suggestions to help them cope with, and recover from, mental health concerns in our local community. We are currently leading a Green Influencers programme for 10-14 year-olds to engage in environmental projects which support healthy lifestyles and encourage young people to influence the green agenda in our area. We are specifically supporting the needs of this age group who have shared their environmental interests with us. They tend to veer away from environmental issues as their ideals are often different to those of their parents. These young people want to act to get their green ideas noticed and improve the environment before they reach adulthood and it’s too late!