Teach Them Well… Kids and Volunteering

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”

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How to make a Volunteer Army…

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…”

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!”

Spare Time or Spare Rooms

A sprawling monologue in which lots of us do a little bit.

Yesterday I was really anxious and preocupied with work.  I do insist on having ideas (this time it’s interactive online training) and I find following them through quite anxiety-inducing.

Starters-and-Info-768x768Then I got to the Stories and Supper project, where we are planning a supper club that challenges some media narratives on refugees and also supports the refugees themselves. Continue reading “Spare Time or Spare Rooms”

A Freebie for Volunteer Coordinators…

vst-logo
Voluntary Sector Training

Want to try out some live interactive learning on Monday in your lunch hour?

My online interactive classroom opens its doors in a few weeks…! Eeeek! With a course of eight workshops supporting Volunteer Cordinators and Managers.  I’m delivering in partnership with Voluntary Sector Training

If you’re managing, coordinating, involving volunteers – maybe you’re doing it as a volunteer yourself – you won’t have much time for training.  My courses are one hour at a time, and you can join us from anywhere.   Where will you join us from?!

Questions?  These FAQs might help

The Taster Session:  Monday 13th March 1pm

Interested?  Register your interest here…

After the session, I’ll be asking everyone to share the details of the course with volunteer coordinators and managers they know.

If you’re excited about this and interested in the topics we’ll be covering, please book on the course!

I’ve researched many different ways of delivering online, and the most cost effective and easy-to manage seems to be Cisco Webex.  If you’re into bits of software, more info about that here.

…And this guy has actually made a song about good training online – so i’ve obviously been learning from him!

Libby and Maia: Refugee Help with a knock-on effect.

This post appears in Can I Bring Ivy: a blog about volunteering with kids – February 2017.

We helped in Calais again this month.  It’s a lot quieter than it was last time I was there – which was just before the evictions.  They’d rather a few more people!  But there was a small upside to this.  It’s alot easier to volunteer with a young person when it’s not full to the rafters.

I met Libby and Maia.  The whole three days I was there they were beavering away at the ‘dry food’ – bagging up sugar, spices, olives…  it goes to the free shop at the Dunkirk camp, among other places.  I asked if they’d mind a few cheesy pictures and a chat about what they think of it all.

It started as them coming along with an experienced chef and then finding something to do.  Now the dry foods are their expert area, but the first time they came Maia helped out almost everywhere.  clothes sorting, veggie chopping…

Why does Maia like it?  we talked a lot about how nice it is to feel you’re doing something that matters, and getting to the end of it.  Each small task has an end.  And Maia is happy that she can do SOMETHING, as she’s aware of how many people are forced to move and how difficult their conditions are.

Last time they came, they made a load of mini videos – Maia showed them in an assembly at her school.  I’m not sure it was what she intended – she said something like “my teacher just told me “you’re doing an assembly!”  Well, good on that teacher.

Mum Libby:  “I had at least six Mums tell me they want to come and help after that assembly.”

They might not have made it.  They probably didn’t.  But in her school there are also a few refugees – so the chances are some of the kids in her school will now have a litte snapshot of how their lives panned out up til now, and the interactions between everyone might just be a little more empathetic

And just recently, MPs voted 247-1 to maintain our promise to the unaccompanied children in Calais. Some of them have changed their minds since last time and there has been some pretty strong lobbying up and down the country.

This warehouse in Calais isn’t the perfect place to volunteer with a kid.  The woodyard certainly isn’t! But this pair have made it work, and the rewards for everyone are pretty immense.  Other times we’ve involved all ages in making spice bags – no travel required! and there are ways you can make most things work.

Vounteering isn’t just about the task  that you do.  It’s the glitter bomb of things that happen as a result of that one task.  They happen inside… and they happen to others.

I support people coordinating volunteers through advice, project work and training.
Online courses – access from anywhere!

Covering our bases…Best Practice Basics

Very engaging and informative… with a positive, inclusive ethos” Natalie, Forest Farm Peace Garden

Volunteer Management has found its way back into the news recently for reasons we’d all rather avoid – no volunteer co-ordinator wants to end up in the High Court proving their volunteer is not an employee, or settling an employment tribunal discrimination case out of court… Whilst these situations are rare, it seems a good time to remind ourselves of the basics of getting involved and keeping people involved, whatever our project and however many of us there are doing it, voluntarily or as a paid co-ordinator.

Motivations Retention and Roles is an interactive and fun half-day session, part of a course of four, for those co-ordinating or supporting volunteers as part of their role. If getting people involved and/or supporting them in their voluntee055ring is what you do – or part of it – this is for you. The session reinforces the basics of best practice in keeping people involved, in particular creating roles that best suit your organisation.

The content includes:

  • Why do people volunteer and what do they bring?
  • Reimbursing volunteer expenses
  • Working out what you want as an organisation
  • Writing killer task descriptions!

By the end of the morning session you will:

  • Understand what motivates volunteers, and how organisations benefit
  • Assess their organisation’s needs and write a task description to fill the need
  • Understand the process of recruiting volunteers and how it relates to volunteer retention
  • Be able to explain appropriate expenses and why reimbursement is necessary

You can browse other course titles here.

To book, just call Happy on 020 7375 7300. Details of the courses are online here but it’s best to call to book. The price of each half day is from £50. I look forward to seeing you there!

Online support for coordinators

Thoughtful Thursdays is a weekly twitter tweet chat and discussion: a chance to chat and connect, learn and share with other Volunteer Managers.

Each week a different co-ordinator publishes a new blog in the group Thoughtful Thursdays from VMmovement via ivo.org.   The blog provides our theme and focus for that week’s discussion and poses specific questions to get you thinking and responding.

You can join in the discussion in two different ways:

1. Over on twitter you can share your soundbites in 140 characters or less – just make sure you reference each tweet with the hashtag #ttvolmgrs so we know you’re part of the chat.

2. Alternatively, if you need more space to expand your thoughts, or if twitter isn’t your thing – you can respond using the comments section below the blog.

It’s really simple!  You can also take your turn to write a blog post.

To keep up to date, join the group on ivo and/or follow @vmmovement on twitter – that way you’ll always know when it’s Thursday. Here are a few of the ‘Thursdays’ I have written…

 

Who Can Volunteer?

UPDATE:  This course is now included in the LIVE ONLINE training: “Who Can Volunteer: Age, Immigration and Welfare Conundrums”

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.  punishing povertyMaybe we could move our thoughts now to benefit sanctions and mandatory work activity – undermining the nature and the positive effects of volunteering and creating sick individuals and communities.

I’ve updated my slides, and share Here…  this example includes some other info too about creating contracts and the common law duty of care.

Please get in touch if you’d like more info or would like to collaborate on campaigns around the blurring of the edges of volunteering.