Finalist category: IT Volunteer of the Year Award
In 2011, John Pollard had a vision for a community learning centre that would improve the lives of local people by utilising technology, the internet and his vast experience in the IT industry, NHS and various management roles.
Starting with an old hall, four recycled PCs and a grant from the British Legion, John has since raised over £30,000 to ensure the learning centre offers a high level of training, and has started organising outreach courses using retired people to deliver short courses in the community, utilising their skills and experience. He has also raised thousands of pounds for the youth club and Caribbean Association – and all almost single-handedly. John chairs the organisation, is responsible for all fundraising activities, purchasing and strategic direction, and mentoring volunteers. He works closely with the local job centre, borough and county councils, as well as other voluntary organisations with the aim of sharing skills and supporting each other through outreach courses.
From 200 training hours in the first year, the centre delivered over 4,000 training hours last year, with John overseeing four volunteers. Local people old and young meet, volunteer and learn new skills in the centre. John has helped more than 30 people find full-time employment, helped several aspiring authors publish books, mentored young people aspiring to set up in business, and has found technical solutions to help disabled people overcome their disabilities. He recently became a trustee for a local charity looking to convert an old pub into a community centre and social hub, and will be helping to write the business model and funding bids to help raise £500,000, and make it a reality.
John’s tireless commitment to improving opportunities for everyone in the community has changed the lives of hundreds of people in as many ways, many taking away skills that will set them on a career path that would not have been available to them prior to visiting the centre.
Finalist for the IT Volunteer of the Year Award, John Pollard has helped people of all ages use technology, secured employment for those out of work, and given hundreds of people valuable life skills. Visit the Horninglow Learning Centre website for more information. To find out who won the IT Volunteer of the Year Award, visit the Winners 2016 page.