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VODA Blog: One year of SAINT!








“We can’t believe that it is one whole year since we launched the SAINT project here at VODA. To celebrate we thought we’d get ourselves a fancy new flyer. We think this design showcases much better what the SAINT project is all about and we can already envision it on a SAINT hoodie! 

Social Action in North Tyneside, or SAINT as many of you will know it as, works with local people facing barriers to volunteering, such as mental health problems or other long-term conditions, to come together and create social action projects for the benefit of the wider community. 

Projects can be around any shared interest or community concern, from arts and crafts to homelessness, environmental issues to supporting older people, and can take the form of events, campaigns, awareness raising, practical support, creative projects and everything in between. We can support you to meet people who may have similar interests or experiences and help you to set up and carry out a social action project for the benefit of the wider North Tyneside community. 

So far, we’ve had one heck of a year supporting people to create and carry out Social Action projects in North Tyneside. SAINT’s way of working is so different from anything else we’ve ever been involved with, especially at VODA; so every day is a school day. Whether it’s learning to plant potatoes or creating a giant tea pot-shaped float for a carnival (yes, really!), we can safely say every day is different.  

Since we launched back in April 2017, we’ve involved 86 people from North Tyneside in social action. And as a way of working, SAINT’s flexibility allows people who might find more regular or structured volunteering a place to grow their confidence without feeling the pressure of letting someone down. Our ethos is to empower people to create change in their community around an issue that is important to them.  

SAINT has helped to deliver around 17 different social action projects in North Tyneside, some of which have come to an end, and some of which are still happening!  

At the moment we’re working on a few really exciting projects that are always looking for new volunteers. Weekly, we attend our plot at Whitley Bay Community Allotment, where we socialise and grow vegetables on the site. Once harvested, our vegetables will be donated to a local cause. Our volunteers enjoy getting down to the allotment on a Tuesday morning (rain or shine!) for a cuppa and a bit of gardening. Our allotment volunteers say that they really enjoy having an allotment space without having to manage a large plot independently. We’ll continue to maintain our plot, but we’re also planning to create some artwork for the site and host a community lunch, so if you’d like to have a chat about getting involved with our allotment plot get in touch with Josie.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our fantastic volunteers, past and present for making SAINT what it is today, without you guys it would just be Sarah and I, sitting bored.  

Here’s to the next two years of SAINT. Who knows where it’ll take us next!  

Thank you, Josie and Sarah