At the last Nishkam Civic Association Board Meeting of 2019 the Chair and Board were presented with a 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 adherance 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 undepinning and cutting-edge differentiator is voluntary service.

The 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, Chair 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 community. We are committed to supporting and developing our volunteers and the award is recognition of the importance we place on them.”

The Nishkam Team’s volunteers are more and more reflective of the communities served, helping to build deeper understanding and cohesion as it is located in one of the most diverse neighbourhoods in Birmingham and the UK.

Nishkam Centre Contracts Manager, Ajit Singh, 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”.

Amrick Singh, Director of the Nishkam Centre, said: “It is amazing to have been assessed against the Standard for the third time and to be told that we were better than last time. We applaud and recognise the enormous value our volunteers add on a daily basis.

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.”