Volunteering round up: April 2017

PM calls snap general election

The big news this month is of course Theresa May’s surprise announcement for a general election to take place on 8 June, subject to parliamentary approval. See NCVO CEO Sir Stuart Etherington’s response here.

Inevitably, charities will be eager for opportunities to influence the agenda and NCVO will certainly be reminding politicians of the crucial role of volunteering in our national life. With this in mind though, we recommend all charities to revisit Charity Commission guidance on campaigning during an election period so they can campaign effectively, while being vigilant about party political neutrality. Read Chris Walker’s blog for further advice on what charities should be doing.

National Volunteering Forum 11 May 2017: Full-time social action review

In our March round-up, we gave an update on the review into full-time youth social action, set up by the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).

Our next National Volunteering Forum will tie into this review, bringing people from across the sector together to discuss the opportunities presented. We will discuss how government can support more young people to get involved, but also the barriers that full-time social action may present for young people.

Find out more about the Forum and book your place.  If you can’t make it (space is limited), we will be tweeting from the event and will share insights in future blogs.

Volunteers’ Week: You make the difference 1-7 June 2017

There’s just six weeks to go until Volunteers’ Week 2017- your chance to join thousands of others across the country in telling your volunteers ‘you make the difference’!

We’ve already seen people getting creative with the resource pack, which includes loads of materials like logos, bunting and poster templates, as well as all the information you need to make your event a success. If you’ve not yet done so- sign up on the Volunteers’ Week website to receive yours!

If you’re planning a celebration this year, please add your event to our events map using the online form. Happy planning!

Does volunteering improve mental health?

World Health Day was held on 7 April with the theme of depression. To mark the day, senior research officer Matt Hill examined whether volunteering improves mental health. The benefits of volunteering to mental health may seem obvious, especially if we buy into the ‘do good, feel good’ mantra. But what does the evidence say?

Although further research would be welcome, the good news is that volunteering does appear to improve mental health, especially among older groups although not without certain caveats! Read more about volunteering and mental health in Matt’s blog

The Scouts

It was announced last week that the Scout Association have 51,000 children on their waiting list to join the organisation.

There are currently around 457,000 Scouts, supported by 154,000 volunteers but despite these impressive figures, time pressures on volunteers have meant many children are unable to access opportunities. Encouragingly, the Scouts are well aware of this and are committed to adapting to trends by creating more flexible volunteering opportunities.

Flexible volunteering and #MicroDay

The Scouts is the largest volunteering organisation in the country, but nonetheless, issues of flexibility relate to all organisations supported by volunteers, regardless of size. Read Kristen’s advice on how your organisation can respond to similar pressures

Micro-volunteering is one way to create opportunities for the time-poor and on 15 April we celebrated the annual international micro-volunteering day. As shown in our previous blog, demand for this kind of bite-sized, low-commitment volunteering is on the rise. For more information on how to harness micro-volunteering for your organisation, check out our free guide, Giving a Little Time.

Safer volunteering in migrant camps

We are currently running a safer volunteering in migrant camps project, in partnership with the Home Office, to address how volunteers can be better supported in migrant camp environments in Northern Europe.

The aim is to develop a voluntary sector-led educational campaign which supports volunteers to be aware of some of the issues they might encounter and be able to make informed choices about what they do.

Please read Jarina’s blog on this piece of work for more information about what we are doing, why it is important and how you can get involved.

Upcoming training opportunities for you and your organisation

For more training dates, see our events listing page. Find out about our great membership benefits (including discounted training!).

Upcoming events

NCVO/BWB Trustee Conference 2017: Good governance in action – 14 November, London

Register your interest for more information about this conference as it becomes available.

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Up until July 2018, Will supported NCVO’s policy work on volunteering development. His interests include the role of volunteering in public services and removing barriers to youth volunteering. He produced the monthly volunteering round-up blog and supported Volunteers’ Week.

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