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Achieving Excellence in Volunteering

Volunteers have played a vital role in providing additional support to Community Links clients over the past five years. Our service users benefit from volunteer support and the volunteer gains a lot of experience in the sector as well as a great sense of ‘giving back’, one of the five ways to wellbeing.

This week is National Volunteers Week 2017 (1st – 7th June), and we wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate recent successes and explore how we can continue to develop our volunteer service in the future.

2016 was a big year for volunteering services at Community Links as we successfully achieved the Investors in Volunteers kitemark (IiV). Like the Investors in People award, it is the UK quality standard for good practice in volunteer management. Nine volunteers and several staff members were interviewed as part of this process and the feedback highlighted in the report was extremely positive. Here’s what they had to say:

“I did the induction and training at head office and it was fantastic! The CEO came along, it was great to see this, really good that she did this for volunteering – you feel like you matter.”

“My role is so varied. We find out what support service users need, could be cooking skills or just going out for a walk – it’s about encouraging and empowering them.”

“Volunteering has given me loads of confidence, great experience, lots of support and supervision – it’s been fantastic!”

As part of the IiV process, we have made several important improvements to how volunteers are supported and represented within the organisation. Of particular significance has been one of our trustees, Sarah Gray, taking on the role of Volunteering Champion. Sarah now links in with our quarterly Volunteering forum meeting and can take issues forward to board meetings which is great for our volunteers. It is worth pointing out that the trustees are volunteers too!

Another successful project completed recently has been the updating of our volunteer induction process. This has been streamlined to enable volunteer coordinators to train volunteers faster and with greater flexibility to adapt information depending on delegates’ learning styles and availability. It has been great working with CLEAR’s Volunteer Coordinator, Abi Macdonald, on this over the past few weeks.

Going forwards, we are keen to invite more staff members with an interest in volunteering to our regular meetings. We are also always looking for more amazing volunteers so, if you or someone you know would like to find out more click here

Tom Beddow
Volunteer Link Worker – aspire