Newtown Neighbourhood Centre relies heavily on volunteers and many who immerse themselves into life at our community project become so involved they don’t want to leave.
That’s what happened with Stuart Barrett who recently joined us from the Registered Training Organisation TrainSmart Australia who came to us for a six-month period of volunteering. Stuart has a wealth of experience in business and information technology and is a trainer and mentor to students from all over the country who are studying Diploma courses.
“Trainers and assessors have to prove that we are knowledgeable in the area which we teach and so my company wanted me to spend half a day a week volunteering at an organisation which would benefit from my skills. I was lucky to be selected for the role of Project Manager for the Marketing and Communications Volunteer Team at Newtown Neighbourhood Centre.”
“I was only supposed to commit three months but I achieved so much in that short space of time, they asked if I could stay on for another three. As time went on, I became so involved in various projects that I ended up spending eight hours a week of my own time working for the centre.”
Stuart enjoyed the mix of projects which were assigned to him and found it quite challenging running a team of volunteers.
“They had a range of skills, and I had to motivate them and manage their expectations. Some forgot that volunteer work still required ‘work!’ As you can imagine it was quite tricky sorting out a timetable as many were volunteering around paid employment work. The number of teams fluctuated from ten to five, so I was certainly kept busy!”
One of the highlights of Stuart’s time at the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre was the annual Festival and helping to organise volunteers for the event in November which attracted a crowd of 80,000 people. He also suggested ways to improve the current Newtown Neighbourhood Centre website and the Newtown Festival website.
Because of my input, we saw far more traffic visiting these websites. I felt very proud of that achievement.”
Stuart also took part in the launch of the Affordable Housing Campaign and collected signatures for a petition which was delivered to the Greater Sydney Commission.
Stuart features in the video collecting signatures, he is in the blue jumper.
“Although Stuart didn’t work directly with the homeless or vulnerable, he would chat to them and point them in the right direction while they were making use of the facilities at the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre. He became very close to the staff and team leaders and appreciated their help and enthusiasm.
“It was a real pleasure to work there, Julian, Michelle and Ian were very supportive and made my role extremely enjoyable and fulfilling. It is a great team. I now appreciate the fantastic work which they do. I have also learnt about Google Analytics and using Sumo to encourage more traffic to the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre’s website. Although my time as a sponsored volunteer has come to an end, I am going to carry on helping in my own time. It’s been a great volunteering experience and one which I’d highly recommend to others.”
Stuart Barrett is a trainer and mentor at TrainSmart Australia which offers a variety of Diploma and Certificate courses including qualifications to help people take up careers within the community services sector including The Diploma of Counselling, Diploma of Alcohol and Diploma of Mental Health
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
|NNC - OFFICIAL SITE|