We are delighted to announce that SCoJeC has been awarded £30,000 by the Volunteer Action Fund to deliver a year-long 'Volunteering Support Cluster' project. For these projects, a lead partner works with three or more other organisations to create new or enhanced volunteering projects and improve opportunities, skills, and personal development through volunteering. The grant also supports third sector organisations to enhance their services and improve their capacity to deploy, support, and train volunteers.
The project will provide an opportunity for SCoJeC to work with and support three of our partner organisations to train and support their existing volunteers, set up structured volunteer recruitment and support networks, take on new linked activities, and recruit additional volunteers for activities that will make a difference in their communities.
Some members of Sukkot Shalom, the Edinburgh Liberal Jewish Community, will train in commmunications and leadership skills, and one group of volunteers will support refugees and new migrants in Edinburgh, for example by teaching English and befriending.
SCoJeC will work with the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council and the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre in two projects that will recruit and train new volunteers from the Jewish community throughout Scotland. The first of these will support volunteer moderators and facilitators for the new online discussion forum, events calendar, and community opportunity directory, which have been developed under the Lottery-funded CoNNeCT project, and the second will support volunteers to visit schools to provide Jewish input within religious education classes, Holocaust studies, and other areas.
The Scottish Jewish Archives Centre will support the schools project by providing a training venue, trainers, and background contextual material for the volunteers. Existing Archives volunteers will be trained to help them provide a more effective service to teachers and school groups who regularly visit the Archives and Garnethill Synagogue, the listed building in which the Archives are based.
"I am very pleased that our work has again been endorsed by VAF," said SCoJeC Projects and Outreach Officer, Fiona Frank. "This project will allow us to sustain and support the work we're doing to help Jewish people all over Scotland feel more connected, and to recognise the contribution made by volunteers in Jewish communal life."
SCoJeC DIrector Ephraim Borowski said, "This is really excellent news, and particularly welcome because the new funding will support our work both within and on behalf of the Community. I am especially pleased that it will help us address the needs and concerns that Jewish people throughout Scotland expressed during our recent Being Jewish in Scotland inquiry. The opportunity to work more closely with local communities is also very welcome. In particular, this will help us make a start on something we have long wanted to do, but not been able to afford, namely supporting Jewish people who are invited to go into their local schools to talk about Judaism but who often lack the knowledge or training to do so. This is an exciting project, and we look forward to taking it forward for the benefit of the whole community."
Click here to read about our first "Speaking about Judaism" training day.