Catch 25 is a project set up by OPENhouse in collaboration with Furniture Recycling Project who joined forces with Guinness Hermitage and Oxbode Housing Association to tackle the gap in support for young people not in education, employment or training. The main aim is to engage disengaged young people in volunteering.

Catherine Roberts, the Youth Volunteer Co-ordinator recruits and supervises young volunteers and provide placements co-ordination and consultation for all youth volunteer functions. She manages volunteers and their relationship with all those they come into contact with, including employees and service users of organisations. Catherine is also responsible for monitoring, evaluating and supporting volunteers and reporting back to the steering group.

Catherine Roberts Youth Volunteer Coordinator for Catch 25 – A profile

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is no longer a question most people can answer. Permanent, life long contracts are scarce and employment generally is harder and harder to come by. Catherine’s role is to encourage young people to explore the skills and interests they already have and develop them into employable experiences that they can demonstrate through volunteering.

Working in partnership with training providers and housing associations enables Catherine to work with a great number of young people and develop placements for them with businesses, social enterprises and charities. Many of the latter are new or nervous when working with young, disengaged people, so often both parties need support and encouragement.

Working for free is no longer a ridiculous career plan or an ego boost for bored stay at home mothers. Her own volunteering path has taken her from a charity shop, through dusty museum archives, teaching in Nepal, and to drumming and performing in a circus troop. In themselves these have been fantastic opportunities but have also led to fundraising skills, teaching and youth work experience, training and qualifications and experience that directly contributed to my first professional role as the Youth Volunteer Coordinator she is today!



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