Nishkam Centre reaffirms commitment to prestigious Investor in Volunteers Standard

At the last Nishkam Civic Association Board Meeting of 2019 the Chairman and Board were presented with the prestigious certificate. The Nishkam Centre had been put through its paces by an assessor from Investing in Volunteers (IiV) who tested the organisation against nine indicators to confirm continued adherence to the IiV Standard. The Centre provides innovative support via group work activities that is creative, responsive and sensitive to the needs of many diverse communities. The ethos of the Nishkam Centre is based upon a framework which provides a pathway to community integration, empowerment, involvement and cohesion. As Nishkam means ‘selfless service’ the underpinning and cutting-edge differentiator is voluntary service. Our commitment towards the IiV standard demonstrates our commitment to volunteering.

Bhai Sahib, Bhai Mohinder Singh, Chairman of Nishkam Group of Organisations with Prof Upkar Singh Pardesi, Vice Chairman of Nishkam Centre presented with IiV Certificate

Bhai Sahib, Bhai Mohinder Singh, Chairman of Nishkam Group of Organisations with Prof Upkar Singh Pardesi, Vice Chairman of Nishkam Centre presented with IiV Certificate

The Nishkam Centre provides many services to enable civic engagement and involvement. These services incorporate built-in progressions, enabling clients to improve coping strategies and work towards sustainable mental health recovery, increasing social networks and opportunities for training, volunteering, employment and community integration. The Investing in Volunteers website states, ‘Investing in Volunteers (IiV) is the UK quality standard for good practice in volunteer management. The benefits of doing so are claimed to be; ‘enhancing volunteers’ experience and increasing their motivation; strengthen the organisational reputation and encourage more people to volunteer; minimises risk, maintains knowledge, and plans for the future’.

Bhai Sahib, Bhai (Dr) Mohinder Singh OBE KSG, Chairman of the Nishkam Group of Organisations said, ‘The Nishkam volunteers are our organisations’ cutting-edge. It is only possible for our organisations to deliver what they do because of the dedication of selfless volunteers who are inspired by their faith values to help others and give something back to the community. We are committed to supporting and developing our volunteers and the award is recognition of the importance we place on them. Volunteers bring real added value, the experience and skills they bring to the campus is truly inspirational. Many people do not realise that the Nishkam Group is a small independent charity that relies heavily on its volunteers to provide a lifeline of support for all the projects we undertake. We are delighted that we have again been assessed as providing best practice in the experience and support we provide for our volunteers”.

The Nishkam Team’s volunteers are more and more reflective of the communities served, helping to build deeper

Creative Healing Workshop delivered by Mental Health Professionals

Creative Healing Workshop delivered by Mental Health Professionals

understanding and cohesion as it is located in one of the most diverse neighbourhoods in Birmingham and the UK.

Last year the Nishkam Centre was supported by 50 regular volunteers and many more occasional volunteers who offered support on an informal basis. The volunteers offer a very wide range of support to the centre ranging from strategy and governance, business development, teaching, centre support, administration, welfare services, wellbeing services, maintenance and many more. Due to the wide range of activities and roles the Centre is able to connect individuals wishing to volunteer and can offer more opportunities for their personal development.

The Nishkam volunteers have grown in confidence, had fun, transformed their own and other lives, boosted their career opportunities, benefited from a variety of training, gained a sense of community spirit and involvement, feeling of having made a difference to someone’s life, made friends and had an overall improvement in their health and wellbeing.

Ajit Singh, Nishkam Centre Contracts Manager said, “It is an absolute pleasure and privilege to work with and support our volunteers. Our volunteers are our best ambassadors, who selflessly volunteer to support others in the community whilst developing themselves along the way. For many, volunteering has been a life-changing experience supporting the individual’s general wellbeing in so many ways. We have coined the phrase ‘measureless measures of volunteering’. Whilst there are many tangible benefits of volunteering there are so many more intangible benefits which are very difficult to measure due to their very nature. The Nishkam Centre’s ongoing success and ability to flourish further is aligned with how we work with our selfless volunteers and recruit more. Further to our IiV assessment, we will be piloting our ‘Measureless Measures of Volunteering’ template to capture the actual, perceived and intangible benefits of volunteering as well as the volunteering journey.

It would be impossible to provide many of the services the Centre provides without the volunteers who contribute their time willingly. Based on a conservative calculation it is estimated that the volunteers give some 17,000 hours on an annual basis and one could quite easily put a figure of £230,000 against that.

Amrick Singh, Nishkam Centre Director, said, “It is amazing to have been assessed against the Standard for the third time and to be told by the assessor that we were better than last time. We applaud and recognise the enormous value our volunteers add on a daily basis. Volunteering provides an excellent mutual benefit to the volunteer and us as an organisation. We are able to do more great work and offer services that might otherwise not be possible. The volunteer is able to get priceless experience and exposure. For some it is a genuine desire to give back, to serve, to help and to develop new skills. For others it may be an escape from isolation, depression, loneliness or even a sense of guilt that they are not putting their skills to use to help others.

“The award sets a benchmark of high standards, good practice and quality in respect of volunteering, this is a great accolade for all concerned. The Nishkam Centre has yet again demonstrated its commitment towards, and appreciation of, its volunteers. I would encourage all organisations to look at the standard and see how they can support volunteers and encourage them to contribute and grow.”

Volunteer journey case study

One of Nishkam’s volunteers, we will call Mrs A, was a new arrival into the UK. Her husband was struggling to find work and came to the Centre for help with his welfare benefits application. He spoke very little English and on the day of the workshop for their welfare benefits application, he was unable to attend and sent his wife, Mrs A.

Mrs A showed great aptitude and was supported to complete her own application form. Mrs A was encouraged to volunteer and given training to gain more knowledge in welfare benefits. Mrs A is now a regular volunteer who supports the IAG team to run and deliver workshops, administration work and supports others to be self-sufficient.

Within less than a year Mrs A has grown in self-esteem, knowledge and able to support others. Mrs A is able to speak four languages, which is a vital asset in the diverse local demographic, which she uses to support others. She often confides how the dynamics and her status within her home have also improved due to her newfound self-esteem and confidence.


Notes to Editors:

For more information visit Investing in Volunteers –

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