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Supported Volunteering Toolkit

Published by Dawn Iverson
Project Manager
Volunteer Centre Slough
Email dawn@volunteerslough.org.uk
Telephone 01753 528632

An online website and toolkit to support volunteer managers to offer supported volunteering opportunities in their organizations.

Supported Volunteering Toolkit

Our delivery partners are...

Volunteer Centre Slough

We have funding and support from...

Chances 4 Change South East 

The project is located in...

The website is adminstered and run from the Volunteer Centre in Slough

The start and finish dates of the project are...

The project was started in 2008 and is due to finish in December 2010. However, ongoing funding is being sought to ensure that this resource remains available 

The people helped are...

Volunteer involving organizations, volunteer managers, volunteers. Also potential volunteers with traditional barriers to volunteering such as mental health issues, learning disabilities and physical disabilities.  

What they have said is...

Feedback on the website has been sought from various sources and it has all been very positive.

We set up the project because...

There are many people with various disabilities and issues which they feel exclude them from volunteering opportunities. There is also a lack of confidence in organizations in how to support volunteers with various barriers to their opportunities.

Routine, a sense of belonging to a community and being valued for something that you do can have a dramatic effect on the health and wellbeing of anyone, yet in the voluntary sector, those who could most benefit from volunteering seemed to be excluded from a lot of opportunities.

Lots of organizations already supported these volunteers really well, but there were also a lot of organizations who were unsure of how to go about offering supported volunteering. This website is aimed at both types of organization.

What we did or are doing

The website is there as a resource for anyone who wants to support volunteers with traditional barriers to volunteering. These could be physical disabilities, mental health issues, learning disabilities, a history of offending or drug use and even barriers related to age.

The Toolkit section of the website (http://www.chances4volunteering.org/toolkit) so far has information on the most common support issues we experience at the Volunteer Centre in Slough. The Toolkit will be expanded bit by bit as we have the information and resources to add to it.

There are also some informative articles on how to get started with supported volunteering, including what you need to think about before you recruit. (http://www.chances4volunteering.org/category/useful-articles/getting-started/)

There is also a discussion forum on the website where users can register and discuss specific support issues or just ask general questions around supported volunteering. (http://www.chances4volunteering.org/forum)

 

We chose this method because...

A website is available to anyone at any time. Updates are easier to manage than using a written toolkit and feedback can be easily gathered from visitors.

What's happened is...

The website is live and receiving more and more visitors each month. The biggest success of the site is that the ‘bounce rate' is currently 1.6%. Any bounce rate under 15% is considered good, however 1.6% is excellent! This means that when people visit the site, they stay a while and browse. It also means that the people visiting the site are finding what they are looking for. In comparison to last year, the bounce rate was over 70%.

In the last month we had 141 unique visitors, an increase of 29.66% on the same period last year. Page views have also risen (the number of pages viewed on a website) nearly 400% in comparison to last year. Time spent by each visitor on the site has risen by 206% and the average number of pages a visitor views per visit has also risen 280%.

What we'd do differently...

Encouraging participation in the website has been a difficulty. If we were to start this project again, I may spend more time in developing platforms for participation and factoring in the time needed to encourage this participation. We currently have a forum on the site but not much interaction with it. I am looking at redesigning the Forum element and recruiting a number of volunteers to periodically post to the forum to encourage discussion.

The project is now...

We are currently negotiating the possibility of carrying this project on after December 2010. We do have some staff resources available and believe that the website can become a valuable resource for people wishing to learn more about supported volunteering.

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Lead Organisation Volunteer Centre Slough
Geographical Area Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire/IOW, Kent, National, Oxfordshire, Surrey, West Sussex
Outcomes Capacity building, Community cohesion, Developing talent, Improving health, Increasing participation
Beneficiary Age Adults, Older People (Over 60), Young People (16-25)
Beneficiary Groups Offenders & ex-offenders, Other professionals, People at risk of mental health problems, People suffering from chronic disease or condition e.g. CHD, diabetes, osteoporosis, People with physical or learning disabilities, Socially isolated older people, Unemployed people, Volunteers
Type of activity Capacity building, Mental wellbeing & Physical activity strands
Primary Theme Chances4Change
Secondary Themes Mental Wellbeing

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