Cajoled vs. Coerced. Cajoled Wins.

Coerced volunteering, or mandatory work placements under threat of sanctions – which do so much to erode strong supportive volunteering cultures – have been making the news again with a study showing that sanctions do nothing to get people into better work, or better health. (It’s already been proved that good, unsanctioned volunteering placements DO have a positive impact, I wrote about this a few years ago when I looked at how different a healthy cajoling someone into getting involved is to outright, money-related sanctions that leave individuals in dire poverty.) Continue reading “Cajoled vs. Coerced. Cajoled Wins.”

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Who Can Volunteer?

Rebecca (2)If you’ve joined me for training around Volunteers and the Law in the last couple of years, you’ll possibly remember a discussion around where exactly Asylum Seekers are allowed to volunteer.  whocanvolunteerYou may remember me explaining the odd nature of the law – only in a charity, nothing public sector, no NHS.  “But what about a children’s centre?” Some people asked. Or… “We’re a social enterprise?” And then my guarded response… weigh up the facts, and the risks for your organisation, and maybe think about disregarding these guidelines.  Or at the very least signpost your volunteer somewhere else.

Well now you don’t have to pick your way through these decisions.  refugee actionAfter a huge amount of effort and public support – ‘ongoing badgering’ as Fiona Liddell puts it! by Refugee Action and others,  Asylum Seekers now have the right to volunteer in any organisation.  You can also volunteer if you have had your asylum claim refused. This is great news and evidence that campaigning works.

This was a few years ago now, and STILL the other day I was told – “Asylum seekers can’t volunteer can they?”  YES!  YES!  YES!

Hawari and SalimThis shift in legislation has helped at least stem the flow of ostracisation of those seeking refuge on our shores.  It’s also been integral to the Stories and Supper initiative that I run.  Volunteers of all backgrounds work together to make great experiences for diners and to challenge the barrage of negative narratives around migration.  It is also a way for some of our asylum seeking partners to use their considerable skills while not allowed to work in this country.  And some have been here for years… waiting for their lives to restart.

Some slides from both Volunteers and Employment Law and the ‘Who Can Volunteer’ course are here – and give you a flavour of how interactive our one hour oline sessions can be.  So if you have a burning question that an online search or colleagues aren’t able to help with  –  book on now!

Rebecca (2)

VolunteersYeah – Things we Find Ourselves Saying as Volunteer Coordinators available now.  Whether you have a small campaign, or a large project – tips and suggestions to make your life easier.

You WILL be useful…

“I have been in Calais the jungle and it was one of the most difficult times I have ever lived in. I have stayed in the forest for nearly a year and a half. I have enjoyed the most beautiful friends in my life. They devoted their time to us and did everything they could to meet our needs of eating, drinking, dressing and treating like never before.” Letter from a refugee to Refugee Community Kitchen Continue reading “You WILL be useful…”

Yes NCVO! Let’s Be Bold!

This is ‘being bold for volunteering’:  Free resources for volunteer coordinators. Finding out what we need to know.  Fighting for the services that rely on the added value of volunteering.

Stuart Etherington' New Year Letter To the SectorDear Stuart,

Thank you for your New Year letter:  thoughts on the current situation for the voluntary sector.

It’s long!  It took me a while to read it and I had to look up solipsis but here I am with a response!

You say that you – and we – need to ‘be bold for volunteering.’   I see volunteers and coordinators being bold every day; I read your letter several times and really wasn’t clear exactly how NCVO will be being bold in 2017.

…So I have some thoughts to share! Continue reading “Yes NCVO! Let’s Be Bold!”