VOLUNTEERING IS FOR LIFE – NOT JUST FOR COVID – About

15th October 2020

Alexandra Bond

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Volunteering is for life – not just for COVID

We will explore how volunteering has changed since our Disrupt, Innovate, Change 2019 conference, how communities have responded to COVID19 and share how organisations are working towards Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI).

Volunteering – the heartbeat of kindness and compassion

According to NCVO’s latest Civil Society Almanac, 19.4 million people volunteered through a group, club or organisation during 2018-2019, whilst in the same year, more than half of the population volunteered in informal ways. What an impressive snapshot of a generous population!

Volunteering truly is the heartbeat of kindness and compassion and that heart is beating soundly in the UK in 2020. The proportion of people volunteering over the last 12 months has increased hugely with the COVID-19 global pandemic, with volunteers at existing Voluntary Groups and Charities, and many new local action groups offering support to people in their communities.

Formal Volunteering

There have been some hugely successful formal volunteering programmes – we know they work; in our Power to Communities blog, we detail examples of formal programmes creating impact – ‘for example, how the British Red Cross coordinated with the community around Grenfell to provide support to over 1700 people in the area. Or how the Alzheimer’s Society’s  A Million Hands programme turns Scouts into Dementia friends. Or how Refugee Action is building a network of 3,000 Asylum Guide volunteers to support every asylum seeker in the UK. Or how GoodGym brings exercise and community support together.’

Diversity In Volunteering 

There are two glaring elephants in the room – diversity and the untold stories of those that are not present those formal volunteering bases. What talent and initiatives are we missing out on? 

For example, the Halifax Opportunities Trust worked with the local community (and businesses) to make sure the diverse local community received essential supplies and medical advice that translated into first languages. However, we can to take this for granted.

The more we ignore this, the more we risk communities losing trust and initiatives disappearing. What good are brilliant volunteering programmes if communities lose the very volunteers that supported them? Wouldn’t it be a crying shame to stand by and see these organisations vanish? Wouldn’t it be invaluable to collaborate with them in ways that work for them?

Communities want to work with those who not only understand and share their values and priorities but as a result, also respect their sense of identity, agency, and dignity. So, what if volunteering programmes truly focused on that and shared power?

What Next? 

This leads to a need for change in our approaches to volunteering. We need to meet the needs and interests of individuals and to open up new ways of volunteering so that people from diverse communities, with changing work patterns, e.g. flexible careers, and across all age groups, can offer their help when they can.

This webinar will explore;

  • The culture of volunteering in the UK

  • What 2020 means to volunteering – how COVID19 has changed the face of volunteering

  • How we retain the waves of volunteers that stepped up over lockdown

  • How organisations are working towards achieving DEI

We want to continue to inspire change within the system so that organisations who work with volunteers keep up with modern lifestyles, reach diverse communities receive tangible benefits, such as improved health and wellbeing, skills development and employability, community cohesion and engagement.

We’ve invited leaders who have engaged with these challenges to share their experiences honestly and openly, share the highs and the lows of 2020 and to support you to move your volunteering strategy forward. Meet the Speakers here…. 

This is a must-attend webinar for anyone working with volunteers who want to deliver the best outcomes for volunteers and their communities. See the Agenda for the morning here…

This webinar is for the people who want to make it happen – join the discussion and secure your place today. 

View our 2019 Conference feedback here.