About Catherine Hartshorn

Originally from Barnsley Catherine moved to London three years ago to study Social Work at the University of West London. During her degree she completed a placement at Z2K and impressed so much with her work that she was asked to work full time after completing her degree.

Investing in Volunteers

iiv-colourBeing a volunteer led organisation is part of Z2K’s founding ethos and is still something we take huge pride in, therefore it with great delight that I report that Z2K have been reaccredited the Investing in Volunteers (IiV) standard for another 3 years.

The IiV standard aims to improve the quality of the volunteering experience for all volunteers and for organisations to acknowledge the enormous contribution made by volunteers. Whilst it was a huge amount of work to ensure all the required documents were up to date and readily available, it is very much a worthwhile process to go through to show volunteers that we really are invested in them and appreciate their contribution. Continue reading

Investing in Volunteers

2016 is a busy year for Z2K, quality standard wise that is. As well as going through our AQS assessment, Z2K is also currently undergoing  the renewal of it’s Investing in Volunteers quality standard. Investing in Volunteers is a quality standard for good practice in volunteer management. We were initially awarded this 3 years ago, when my predecessor Henu was the volunteer manager, and I myself was a volunteer. Continue reading

Z2K volunteers achieve tribunal successes

hmctsIn 2016 Z2K has seen an increase in the number of clients approaching us for support with their Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) tribunals.

In January alone, our caseworkers and volunteers attended 18 tribunals, eight of which were successful, one unsuccessful, two postponed at our request and seven adjourned at the hearing for reasons decided by the panel.

Tara, our volunteer turned caseworker attended an ESA tribunal with Mrs Q. Mrs Q suffers from a number of health problems – arthritis, back pain and atrial fibrillation, to name a few. She was initially awarded 0 points at her medical assessment and this decision remained unchanged after mandatory reconsideration. When it came to tribunal she was awarded 18 points and placed in the work related activity group. Continue reading

Social work student provide invaluable support for Z2K clients

Z2K team

Z2K team on the London legal walk

Over the last year we have had 8 social work students complete a placement at Z2K, most of whom are studying at the same university I completed my social work degree at. I also completed a placement at Z2K whilst studying, which has meant that I have been able to use this experience and knowledge of the degree and placement process to support and guide them through their time at Z2K. It has been extremely rewarding to contribute to their journey and watch them grow in knowledge and confidence.

Each of the students have had their own successes on behalf of clients, but I would like to concentrate on just one example. Emma completed her placement with us from January to July. During this period she took on a number of cases dealing with a variety of issues. There is one case that sticks out in my mind, purely because I was amazed at the time, effort and hard work Emma put into it, and the huge impact she had on the clients’ life. Continue reading