Bazooka Arts has been running a supported volunteering programme since 2018, which provides volunteering opportunities for adults who are adversely affected by physical and mental ill-health.
Many of our volunteers are past participants of Bazooka Arts therapeutic projects, progressing to the next step in their recovery journey. We offer supported community placements, weekly skill-sharing workshops, and training opportunities. Volunteers also provide assistance with fundraising efforts, support with behind-the scenes/day-to-day operations, and help with public-facing events. In addition, Bazooka Arts provides emotional and therapeutic support to volunteers where it is needed.
The COVID-19 crisis has been a huge challenge for our volunteers and our volunteering programme. Volunteers were at significant risk of worsening mental ill-health; those on community placements were unable to continue offering their support to our therapeutic art and drama groups; volunteers looking for employment were faced with unprecedented challenges. In addition, our volunteers had been working hard creating artworks and products for a fundraising event at Merchant Square, which unfortunately had to be cancelled.
With the support of additional funding from Impact Funding Partners and Foundation Scotland, we were able to redesign our volunteering programme for the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was urgently required to provide our volunteers with new opportunities and a renewed sense of purpose. We have provided additional support for volunteers who had been on community placements to undertake new avenues to support community work – for example, delivering creative wellbeing kits to other vulnerable groups and providing support over zoom. Our volunteers have been offering invaluable support to other local organisations, for example foodbanks, who have needed extra help during these difficult times. Volunteers have accessed a variety of new training opportunities, including training on how to support vulnerable communities during the pandemic.
Our volunteer coordinator has provided one-to-one support to volunteers, helping them to progress towards new goals with a renewed sense of purpose in the context of COVID-19. Volunteers have also had access to an employability advisor who has provided additional support for those looking for employment in these extraordinary circumstances.
Volunteers are moving their fundraising efforts online – with support from artist Tracy Gorman, volunteers have been learning new skills to design cards, artworks and products which are now available to buy from our Etsy shop. Tracy has recorded tutorial videos which have introduced new creative techniques to volunteers; they are then supported through weekly workshops on zoom to consolidate all the new skills they have learned. Volunteers can re-watch the videos in their own time and share their progress to a private photo-sharing app called Cluster where they can access guidance from tutors and offer advice to each other as their skills develop. As volunteers have built up their skills and knowledge during this process, they have created their own skill-sharing videos and supported participants on other therapeutic programmes through peer support and zoom workshops. Volunteers have also been helping to photograph products and assist with the general management of the Etsy shop.
Thank You, Volunteers!
The lived experience and expertise of our volunteers greatly enriches the service we are able to provide, and we want to thank everyone who has ever volunteered with Bazooka Arts for the invaluable support you have given to our service. In these extraordinary times, the talent, dedication and knowledge our volunteers are able to offer has never been more important. We wouldn’t be the charity we are today without you!
Want to support Bazooka Arts this Christmas? Why not buy some cards or artworks for a loved one or a Secret Santa?
Our Etsy Christmas Pop-Up Shop is open now! Every item in the shop is unique and has been designed and created by a Bazooka Arts volunteer or participant. Plus, 100% of proceeds go towards more therapeutic arts projects for vulnerable children and adults who need support to improve their health and wellbeing.