Volunteers make a unique contribution to the care and support sector by offering time, expertise and friendship. To mark this year’s volunteer week the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) and National Care Forum (NCF) have produced a toolkit to help social care organisations build volunteer capability and capacity in local services.
The toolkit supports frontline managers to create volunteer roles which enable people to make a real difference to local social care services. It also looks at how to take an inclusive approach to volunteering. For example, people who may have experienced fewer life opportunities can be encouraged to volunteer. Volunteers who use services themselves often have insights which mean they are uniquely placed to support others in similar situations.
Mike (not his real name), who has a learning disability and volunteers for meals on wheels says, “It’s about give and take. I like the company. I chat to people; they chat to me. They all know me and look out for me.” And when he’s given everyone their lunch, how does he feel? “I feel good.”
Launching the report VODG chief executive Rhidian Hughes said:
“How volunteering is organised and supported is a key factor in ensuring its effectiveness. Volunteers bring additional skills into care services and can build an on-going connection between the service and the local community.
This toolkit will equip managers to engage and support volunteers in a way that enables them to make a substantial positive contribution to people’s quality of life”.
Vic Rayner, executive director at the National Care Forum added:
“Care and support services are a critical part of any community, and volunteers already play a hugely important role in the delivery of services across the third sector. However, it is essential that they in turn, receive support and recognition for their contribution, and NCF are delighted to have worked with VODG on the development of this important resource to support quality volunteer management across care and support services”.
Commenting on the launch of the toolkit Duncan Tree, Head of Policy and Performance at Volunteering Matters said:
“Quality volunteer management is at the heart of a good volunteering experience – for the beneficiaries and the volunteers. Volunteering Matters is delighted that our partners at VODG and NCF have reaffirmed their commitment to promoting quality volunteer management by producing this toolkit. I am confident that this toolkit will be a valuable asset to staff and managers seeking to make their volunteer programmes the best they can be, and build the capacity of volunteers to help improve outcomes for people with care and support needs”.
The toolkit provides a straightforward approach to evaluating the impact of volunteer schemes. Care services can use this to assess the contribution of volunteering to the people supported, the volunteers, the organisation and the wider community. Impact studies may be used to demonstrate what has changed as a result of the involvement of volunteers and identify next steps for the volunteer scheme.