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.”
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. You 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. After 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!
This 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!
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.
Sometimes low-tech is the way to go. Despite a bit of hi-tech with volunteer management online workshops, it turns out I only need one little image to make the most important recruitment point.
Welcome, CUTE BOMB!
I have a picture on my pinboard above my desk. An image of two Palestinian young women smiling broadly at the camera. “This is how we fight – ” it says, and they describe how they laugh every time they are stopped at checkpoint. Laughter is the daily weapon they use in the face of inhuman treatment. “This is how we fight”. Continue reading ““This is how we fight””
This was originally posted as a Thoughtful Thursdays blog post back in 2013… It’s still relevant! Welcome back ##ttvolmgrs, i look forward to those warm fuzzy feelings of connection
Being in charge of a child teaches you a lot about what’s achievable – and what you as a person want to achieve. Continue reading “Teach Them Well… Kids and Volunteering”
Volunteers, and statutory services. It’s a tricky area. But then so are statutory services these days.
This is nothing new of course. For example, we are a small island, and our lifeboat service is not statutory. It’s staffed entirely by volunteers, and funded only by donations. This is the same situation for our crucial air ambulances. Continue reading “Can volunteers save the NHS?”
“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…”
My podcast with the @workhubs Cafe Garage Project –
“So how do we organise a group of people, without telling them what to do, make it inspirational, have them showing up at the right time… it’s got to be like a fun engageing community project?”
Here’s how I answered! Continue reading “How to make a Volunteer Army…”
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.
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!”