One Housing Group is a housing association based in London and the South East. They manage 16,000 homes and provide support to residents who needs special help through their social care arm, One Support. They recently celebrated their volunteer involvement and IiV achievement, which Volunteer Manager Yusef Buchanan summarises as "a good way of revaluating your programme to ensure it is fit for purpose".
The 500th volunteer of One Housing, Arran Sagren Arran, was heavily involved in the IiV assessment. He is a resident of One Housing in Isle of Dogs after migrating from South Africa in the early nineties. After an academic career, he embarked on a business venture which didn’t go according to plan. It left him disheartened and lacking in confidence, and Arran remained unemployed for over two years.
When he learned about the volunteering support offered by One Housing from the Project Co-ordination team, he felt volunteering could be a route back into employment and registered on to the volunteering programme.
His Volunteering and Partnership (V&P) Officer, Jenefa, was very supportive and optimistic in his ability to find both a volunteering position and paid employment. She worked with him to develop an action plan and he ended up volunteering with the V&P team.
In the framework of the IiV assessment, Arran was responsible for compiling an equality and diversity report as well as reviewing existing volunteering policies and procedures from a volunteer vantage point.
The volunteering role was more than what he expected. It enabled Arran to acquire the necessary skills, especially IT skills, and brought him back into a work environment. Whilst volunteering, he was notified of work opportunities coming up from partner organisations. The team believed in his skills and pushed him to apply for jobs and, since then, Arran has successfully secured an administrative role with Tower Hamlets Council, which would not have been possible without One Housing.
The keynote speaker at the One Housing celebration event was Debbie Flood, Olympic and world champion rower and first female captain of the prestigious Leander Club presenting the IiV award to David Leeves, Director of Social Mobility, and Samantha Latouche, Head of Volunteering & Partnerships.