Volunteering can be a useful alternative to donations for giving back to the community or supporting a charity. It can also be good for improving your work prospects, and with the help of Community Voluntary Services Tendring (CVST) one participant has gone into business for himself.
Andrew Coupe-Harris originally started at CVST as a volunteer for their weekly IT clubs, which are funded by the Big Lottery as part of CVST’s Healthier Independent Longer Lives(HILL) project. Along with other volunteers he makes his time available to help those with no previous experience get started with using email, social media, the Internet and more.
He is also behind Technewbies, a personal one-to-one IT tuition service. With the help of CVST and other local enterprise schemes he was inspired by his volunteering experience to work for himself.
“Volunteering at CVST was an education for me. Before doing this I never even considered working as a tutor, let alone running my own business. To begin with I felt like a fish out of water, but as I got more involved with visitors and helped them with their requests and problems I gained confidence. Just through listening to conversation I learned more about common issues with computers, and the general attitude toward technology. I came to realise that some people need more help than a volunteer could give.”
CVST is dedicated to creating and sharing knowledge to address local needs, and as a part of this they maintain strong links with the local business community.
CVST host a monthly networking event called the Self-Employment Pathway, where start-ups and people considering going into business can come along to talk with successful local business owners.
“I went along to the networking event with no real plan in mind. I just saw it as a chance to run my idea past people in the know. I was able to talk about my idea in detail, and got a lot of great feedback along with further advice and recommendations. I will continue to volunteer at CVST. I feel we both want to achieve the same goal, to encourage more independent living. And I also think it is important keep this link with the community.”
To enquire about further volunteer opportunities or about the Self-Employment Pathway you can call CVST on (01255) 425692 or visit www.cvstendring.org.uk for more information.
If you would like to get in touch with Andrew for more information about how Technewbies could help you call him on (01255) 420952 or visit the website at www.technewbies.co.uk
PICTURED: Volunteer turned business-man Andrew Coupe-Harris with 89 year old Silver Surfer George Piggott.