With financial support from the Lloyds Bank Foundation Enhance programme, Home-Start Wirral achieved the Investing in Volunteers award in October 2016. Bev Morgan, CEO, outlines how the process has positively changed her organisation: “it has been a lot of work, but well worth it”.
Our commitment to volunteering, and recognition that volunteers are essential and integral to Home-Start Wirral is strongly communicated throughout our organisation.
We believe that volunteers should be able to gain personal benefits and be able to grow/develop as a result of their volunteering experience. We are committed to managing our volunteers through a relationship of mutual trust and respect, with the aim of ensuring that the needs of both parties are met and that the volunteering experience is both positive and fulfilling.
It was good to hear the volunteers’ feedback to the Investing in Volunteers assessor about how much they enjoyed the range of additional training we offer. All volunteers interviewed had taken advantage of a number of training opportunities and had learned a variety of new skills:
“I did NVQ Level three training, bereavement, stress management, ADHD, mental health and Makaton (uses signs and symbols to help people communicate) training – amazing.”
“We do refresher training and do three courses a year, you build a portfolio of training and there’s extra training if you have an interest in other areas.”
“We do peer learning from each other and the coordinator and have lots of refresher training too.” (Volunteers)
The quality of support for volunteers is paramount and Investing in Volunteers has given us a really good structure and framework to ensure our volunteers have a positive experience during their time with us.
One of the new roles we introduced during the process was a Volunteer Champion: a Family Support volunteer who represents volunteers on the Board of Trustees. This ‘champion’ for volunteers is someone all volunteers can contact to help them enjoy their involvement with Home-Start Wirral.
“As volunteer champion, I have made lots of communications with volunteers. I let them know why things are happening, that they can contact me anytime. I have my section in the newsletter where I write articles and ask for responses. I’m trying to contact all volunteers so they know who I am and my role. I’m really enjoying it” (Trustee – Volunteer Champion).
“The Volunteer Champion is great and we can contact him any time – works really well” (Family Support Volunteer).