Individual Grants for Volunteering is a JPF programme for young people who want to take part in a volunteering project! Whether the project is in the UK or abroad, we can help with a one-off grant of up to £400 per person. Today we have Shianne tell us about how she spent her grant in Legal Volunteering in Saint Lucia and how she went on to be recognised as one of the top 150 Black Leaders of 2022 and 2023!
My passion for volunteering first began at Oxfam South Kensington, where I spent every Sunday at the age of 15 working in the store. It was only natural I sought out different volunteering opportunities during my undergraduate studies. It was whilst attending a career fair that I came across the Caribbean Elective Legal Aid Program – an organisation that offers volunteering programs exclusively in Saint Lucia. In partnership with the Birmingham University Law School Pro-Bono Group, this initiative allows students to get involved in legal work with the Saint Lucian Government and charitable organisations.
I am honoured to be a recipient of the Individual Volunteering Grant, having heard great things about the Jack Petchey Foundation in empowering young people across London and Essex. I was awarded a £300 grant from the foundation, which aided my living and travel cost. I would like to express my gratitude to the Jack Petchey Foundation, which allowed me to not only touch the lives of many disadvantaged people, but also experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience a new, and vibrant culture.
My placement was a month-long, and I was based in Saint Lucia in the capital city of Castries. I assisted the non-profit organisation Raise Your Voice in helping women and children who have been victims of domestic and sexual violence seek justice against their abusers. This is an important initiative as it often takes up to 8 years for legal aid to be fully processed, meaning victims often go without the help they deserve. Moreover, domestic violence is a prominent societal issue in Saint Lucia and many other Caribbean countries. Raise Your Voice provides a much-needed service for women on the island by offering free legal support, counselling, and opportunities to upskill.
Amongst other skills I gained while volunteering, I have become more confident. Interviewing nearly 25 women in 4 weeks meant I had to adapt to the needs of each client, which were very different depending on the circumstances of each women’s experience of abuse. This experience taught me how to manage to work independently whilst simultaneously being a part of a wider team united by a common goal to help others. I helped one client press charges against her abuser and got a protection order. This was one of the most rewarding aspects of my volunteering experience, as I saw first-hand how my work impacted someone else’s life.
Due to my involvement in this overseas legal placement, I was recognised as one of the top 150 Future Black Leaders of 2022 and 2023. I would not have been selected for such an amazing opportunity without the support of the Jack Petchey Foundation.
🗺️ Thinking of volunteering either abroad or in the UK? Take a look at this page to see whether you’re eligible for a grant!