Volunteering round-up: June 2020

As the lockdown eases, millions of people across the country are continuing to give their time to help their communities respond to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. Below, I recap everything you need to know about the coronavirus volunteering response. There’s also some important updates on other events and goings-on in the volunteering world.

Changes to the NCVO volunteering development unit

We want to tell you about some important changes to NCVO’s volunteering development unit. From late June, Shaun Delaney and I will be seconded to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for six months to support their volunteering development work.

During this period, the main point of contact in the volunteering development unit will be Jarina Choudhury, volunteering development consultant. The team will continue to provide the usual guidance and support. Shaun will also support the team at NCVO for half a day a week.

NCVO remains committed to supporting volunteering development and volunteer management. We know this is an important time for the future of volunteer involvement. We hope that these temporary changes will make sure the right people are in the right places to support volunteering as we start to recover from the effects of covid-19.

Volunteering and covid-19

Updated guidance for volunteers who are self-isolating, clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable

We’ve updated our volunteering guidance for those who are self-isolating and for those who are deemed to be ‘clinically vulnerable’ or ‘extremely clinically vulnerable.’ Our guidance reflects the updated government guidance on volunteering.

The new guidance makes it clear that anyone can volunteer. However, volunteer-involving organisations should make sure volunteers, staff and service users are as safe as they can be. They should risk assess all volunteering roles and minimise these risks as part of their duty of care to their volunteers.

If you’re volunteering outside, you should always follow government guidance on social distancing. You should also check if an organisation thinks it’s safe for you to volunteer for them and that you meet all eligibility criteria they set out, including any age restrictions.

The guidance includes the different risks faced by the following groups of people:

Keeping volunteers engaged during lockdown

During lockdown, many volunteers have taken a step back from their roles for health and personal reasons or been stood down because their organisations have temporarily closed. In her latest blog, Jarina Choudhury talks about what volunteer-involving organisations have been doing to keep these volunteers engaged during lockdown and what you can do going forward.

National Volunteering Forum: Volunteering and coronavirus – what now?

Last week we ran our first ever online National Volunteering Forum in partnership with the Association of Volunteer Managers (AVM). Volunteering practitioners, policymakers and researchers came together for an action-packed day where they discussed how the coronavirus pandemic has affected volunteering and what the future might hold for volunteering as we emerge from the lockdown.

You can view all the slides from the day and see what people were talking about on Twitter. You can also keep a lookout on our training platform where details will appear soon for a free webinar coming up where we’ll be talking you through all the key discussions and takeaway points from the Forum.

Our National Volunteering Forum events are always really popular and sell out quickly, so make sure to sign up to updates from the volunteering development unit so we can let you know when tickets for the next one been released.

Volunteering and covid-19 evidence group

Since the outbreak of covid-19, NCVO has been hosting weekly webinars with both national networks of volunteer-involving organisations and local Volunteer Centres. The webinars have provided a forum for information sharing on the implications of covid-19 for volunteering, at both a national and local level.

An informal evidence group focused on volunteering and covid-19 has now been set up by representatives from NCVO, the Institute for Volunteering Research (IVR), the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and the Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC). The evidence group aims to feed into the wider network ensuring that everyone can learn from existing evidence as well as shape new evidence collection on volunteering and covid-19. You can find out more about the evidence group and how you can contribute to its work.

The community response to coronavirus

Locality released their ‘We were built for this’ report last week looking at how community organisations have reacted and adapted to the challenges of the coronavirus crisis. The report tells us that one of the key roles played by community organisations and groups has been to mobilise thousands of volunteers both at local and national level.

Public Health England have blogged about about how communities have responded to covid-19, including the crucial role played by community-based volunteers in helping to build support networks and help those in need.

Volunteers’ Week 2020

Volunteers’ Week is the annual celebration where we come together to recognise volunteers for the time and skills they give to help their communities. With restrictions in place on public gatherings, organisations were unfortunately unable to go ahead with their planned events and parties this year. Instead, many took to social media to share the ways in which their volunteers have been contributing both before and during the crisis. Check out #VolunteersWeek to see what everyone was talking about.

Karl Wilding’s reflections on Volunteers’ Week 2020

In his latest blog, NCVO’s chief executive, Karl Wilding, tells us about the critical role volunteers have played in supporting their communities before and during the coronavirus crisis. The blog also shines a spotlight on how many organisations recognised the contributions of their volunteers on social media during Volunteers’ Week.

The #PowerOfYouth in the NHS

#iwill shared a series of blogs written by young hospital volunteers, NHS cadets and members of the NHS youth forum for every day of Volunteers’ Week. The blogs highlighted the amazing contribution of young volunteers within NHS health and care services across the country.

Association of Volunteer Managers blog series

The Association of Volunteer Managers (AVM) shared a number of blogs throughout Volunteers’ Week. The blogs were written by volunteer managers, coordinators and leaders from charities, voluntary organisations and mutual aid groups. They focused on themes such as the volunteer response to covid-19, volunteer fundraising and sports volunteering.

Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research e-Conference 2020

This year the Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference run by the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and NCVO will be held on 7 and 8 September 2020 as a free two-day e-conference. The focus will be on discussing current research and big ideas on voluntary sector responses to and the implications of covid-19. Curated sessions on volunteering, voluntary organisations, mutual aid and philanthropy will be organised alongside plenary sessions. The aim is to bring together researchers and practitioners to explore what we’ve learned from this crisis, and what it means for the future of volunteering and the voluntary sector. You can read more about the event, book your place and find out how you can make a proposal to present your research.

Investing in Volunteers (IiV)

We have worked hard with colleagues and our customers to adapt our delivery model and we’re able to offer the IiV journey entirely remotely. Several organisations have now been through a remote IiV assessment and feedback has been very positive with many organisations believing that IiV was an excellent way of keeping their volunteers engaged:

‘Enabling our volunteers to feel connected to the organisation is so very important to us, so taking part in the assessment was an effective way of creating meaningful engagement, particularly as they are unable to be involved with our usual activities at the moment.’

If you would like to find out more about the remote IiV journey please get in touch with the team or visit the IiV website.

Training and events

Keep up to date with latest volunteering policy, research and practice at our sector-leading training and events:

This free two-day conference will bring together voluntary sector and volunteering researchers and practitioners to explore what we can learn from this crisis, and what it means for the future of volunteering and the voluntary sector.

This one-day course introduces the key principles of good practice in volunteer management and explains how you can apply them to your organisation.

This one-day workshop will give you step-by-step guidance on how to assess the impact your volunteers are having on your organisation, your beneficiaries and themselves, as well as on the wider community and other stakeholders.

This one-day course helps you to understand volunteering and the law in relation to issues such as safeguarding, data protection, health and safety, equality and diversity, insurance and benefits.

This one-day course introduces the basics of safeguarding specifically within a volunteer manager’s role. It highlights effective safeguarding practice when working with and supporting volunteers

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Charlie Gillies Charlie is a trainee volunteering development policy officer at NCVO, supporting NCVO's volunteering policy work. He has been volunteering since childhood in various roles, including at a community development charity working with the eastern European Roma community in Glasgow, as an adviser at a Citizens Advice bureau, and as a Scout leader.

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