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Title: Personal best stories : a biographical approach
Author: Mills, Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 5347 3135
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2014
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This study utilises a biographical approach in order to understand the reported individual health and wellbeing outcomes of the Personal Best Volunteering Training Programme for a group of six people. Only candidates, who were not in education or training or were economically inactive, were eligible for the programme. All students on the Personal Best Volunteering Training Programme have experienced social exclusion either through drug and or alcohol addiction or mental illness. Their spoken biographies were collected in the spring of 2012; some six to twelve months after the participants had completed the course. The participant biographies set the research within a social and chronological context. Work by Marmot (2006) maintains that health outcomes are unequally distributed throughout the population and are influenced by personal autonomy and social participation, while the most vulnerable groups in society are recognised as the hardest to reach in terms of health promotion. This research links the factors which influence health with the recognised benefits of volunteering; which includes enhanced interpersonal skills, increased social networks and the development of personal characteristics (Musick and Wilson 2005). Volunteering research to date has centred on people who already possess extensive personal, social and economic resources. This research demonstrates that socially excluded individuals experience similar benefits. The findings indicate that the participants reported wide-ranging health and wellbeing benefits, enhanced communication and team working skills, the development of employability skills, improved and extended social networks. However the most significant and pervasive benefit of volunteering for this group of individuals was the development of positive self-concept and enhanced self-esteem. A key recommendation of this study is that socially excluded people should not merely be the recipients of volunteer services but have the opportunity to be prepared and actively involved in the delivery of such services. This work suggests that the PBVTP was a success largely because it was specifically designed to meet the needs of people not in education, training or employment and it recommends that volunteering courses should continue to be offered to socially excluded individuals, however to ensure further success, this study endorses the development and provision of a bespoke course explicitly design for these individuals.
Supervisor: Schulz, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; HM Sociology ; LC Special aspects of education