Working with volunteers
Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation. We’re extremely grateful to every single one of them for giving their time so generously. Thanks to them, the people who use our services can enjoy better social lives and be part of their own community.
What we achieved last year
- Engage younger volunteers. Launch a new UK-wide volunteering partnership with a youth charity. In October 2015, the Scout Association launched A Million Hands — a project where scouts explore disability to earn a community badge. We created a resource pack to help them take part in the programme and last year, over 150 scouts volunteered in our services. This partnership is helping young people to remove social barriers, connect communities and improve lives. For example, residents at Chiltern House in Buckinghamshire enjoyed taking part in campfire songs thanks to the Littlewick Green Cubs.
- Expand our GoIT! project to Scotland which will allow volunteers aged 16-25 to support disabled people to use enabling technologies. In June 2015, we launched GoIT! in Inverness. The project helps people to enjoy technology, from sophisticated assistive technology to smartphones, with the help of our young volunteers. Leanne, 21, supports two residents at Cheshire House, Inverness, to use social media and to make videos. Colin and Andrew are now looking forward to uploading their films to YouTube thanks to her support.
- Recruit more volunteer drivers, so the people who use our services can take part inmore activities of their choice. Volunteer drivers make a huge difference to disabled people. But finding them is challenging. So we created leaflets for our services, giving tips on how to recruit these vital supporters. By doing this we found people like Bernie, who’s been a driver for over ten years. Bernie gets huge satisfaction from helping out at The Orchard in Liverpool. We’ll continue this campaign next year.
- Improve the ways we measure the impact of our volunteering. At the end of 2015, we launched Volunteer Vision, a research project to help us develop a five-year volunteering strategy. Disabled people, staff and volunteers from 50 of our services took part to help shape the plan.
- 22,408 hours by 350 drivers
- last year, volunteers gave over 330,000 hours of their time, which is worth around £2.5 million
- 1,229 individual volunteers
Our goals for next year
We aim to recruit 20% more volunteers aged under 25, by:
- continuing our work in A Million Hands and GoIT
- taking part in Disability Action Wales, where young people organise and run awareness raising events
- we’ll support Future Choices by running projects like Opening Doors in the East of England. These will look at what social and eisure opportunities are available, and how we can recruit new volunteers
- we’ll develop a new system of quality assessment for our volunteering programme, to make sure it delivers maximum impact for the people we support
Roddy Mackenzie volunteers at our Cheshire House, Inverness, and Newhaven Road, Edinburgh, services, doing a range of activities and day trips with three different residents.
‘I have gained more from volunteering than I thought I would. I originally volunteered for my CV, but it has been so much more than just an experience. I have gained friends and the thought of making a difference in someone’s life is the greatest feeling that one can have.
‘I know they look forward to seeing me and I definitely look forward to seeing them. It has been the best thing I have ever done!’