THE CHALLENGE PRESENTS… a free networking event with a difference!

We are putting our partners in the the spotlight next month, to bring together a diverse range of organisations to learn, reflect and inspire others.

Thursday, 12 March 2015 from 08:00 to 10:00

Talks include;

Engaging young people

We have Amy & Nicky from Promise Dreams in Wolverhampton to share some their expertise on this topic.

Upskilling your staff and volunteers

We have Carys Evans from City Year in Birmingham. Internationally renowned City Year are leaders in the training and development of volunteers.

Media and marketing

We have Georgie Moseley from Help Harry Help Others in Birmingham to share some of the ways her organisation has gone from strength with both local and national awareness.

 Along with some exciting workshops, there will be a networking opportunity and breakfast provided.

To find out more information and register your interest, please go to:

The Perks Of Volunteering. Part 5

Hi there and welcome back. Apologies that this post is late, in true style I have been doing volunteer work. I’ve had an unusually busy weekend but have decided that I wont go to bed until I’ve written my latest post.

My entry today is about some fantastic volunteer work that I did for the RSPCA on the 27th July 2014, so without further delay here it is.

After I had volunteered with the Guide Dogs for the first time I became friendly with a girl who was also a volunteer for the RSPCA, she asked me if I’d like to get involved, and of course my answer was YES. After a few initials emails were sent to the volunteer coordinator I was invited to take part in their first Family Fun Day in Birmingham. It was a whole day event and I was to be in charge of the ‘coconut shy’ stall, having never done anything like this before I was immediately filled with all sorts of feelings and doubts, it was ok to stand behind a small stall and have a donation bucket, but to be manning my own stall and be responsible for the setting up and taking apart and general management, was quite something else. It was a big event and it would be pulling in a lot of people, and I was to be working with many people that I had never met before, it was exciting yet daunting. This would surely test my abilities on many levels, and even though I knew I was capable of it, a small part of me wondered if I could be that confident to pull in the general public and raise enough money to make it worthwhile.

The day came and after my nervous drive to the middle of nowhere in Frankley Birmingham, I took a few deep breaths and went for it. Upon meeting the volunteer coordinator I felt a lot calmer, she was really lovely and introduced me to a few people. There were many volunteers there, we all wore blue tops whilst the staff wore white, and many of the other volunteers were in the same position as me and didn’t know anyone either, so that made it a little better and I didn’t feel so worried that I’d mess up. Things had to move quickly, we had to set up a whole field of stalls and obstacle courses for the dogs, we were on a tight schedule and everyone worked together really well. My friend turned up after a bit and I felt a lot happier, we were quite a comical team trying to assemble our stall, and it was even funnier when we realised that nobody had bought any coconuts ! it was at that point when I realised that it was going to be a brilliant and comical day.

The event opened and the general public poured in, luckily somebody had gone and fetched us some coconuts and we were ready to go, and before long I had a queue of people, and dogs, at my stall wanting to try it out. It may be useful and funny to point out, that I am, in actual fact, allergic to dogs, and people found it most amusing that I should be volunteering at a dog show when I couldn’t go anywhere near them, but I did manage to salvage my reputation by taking a supply of antihistamine tablets, so the odd short haired dog did at least manage to have a fuss off me.

My friend who was helping me on the stall also had to help out on another, so most of my time was spent alone, I will admit that it took me at least 5 or 6 customers to get into the swing of it, luckily they were children and they didn’t seem bothered by my lack of real confidence, and were more concerned with throwing the balls that far that it took me ages to retrieve them from up the field, I cannot tell you how many miles I walked that day, but I can tell you that I slept like a log on the night.

To be honest my stall seemed to bring in the most customers, and with my friend commenting that I was a natural with people and wishing that she had my confidence, the shy and nervous girl that arrived on that field at 8.30am, had quickly been replaced by a girl that I had forgotten existed. It was fabulous talking to so many different adults and children, and watching them get really excited about finally knocking off and destroying a coconut that had cost their parents about £5, but hey, it was all good fun. People seemed to be really appreciative of the volunteers and I got thanked so many times by the staff as well as some of the general public for being so kind as to give up my time, I even took 10 minutes trying to find a £1 coin that a little lad had dropped in the field where he was standing and was really upset about, we couldn’t find it, but I gave him a prize off the stall and he seemed more than happy about it, so it was a good ending.

The day went amazingly well, our supply of coconuts didn’t quite make it to the end of the day, but I was happy knowing that I had bought a smile to so many peoples faces and made a difference to not only their day, but also to the charity itself. I had more or less conquered my fear of getting back out there and mixing with people, and I started to realise that if I could stand in a field amidst hundreds of people that I didn’t know, then really I was capable of a lot more, and if somebody would have told me that 9 months from then I’d be aiming at my present goal (which I’ve decided not to disclose) I’d have laughed at them and said no way would I be good enough for that.

So there we have it, another volunteering tale for my diary, I did get a certificate for taking part in that event, and I’m really pleased to say that we raised over £4000 in that field, and I’m even more humbled to know that a part of that, was raised on my stall with my help, an experience that I’ll never forget.


I hope you enjoyed reading my latest post, and I’m looking forward to writing the next, albeit in between the other fabulous things that I’m doing.

Many thanks



OPP OF THE DAY – Volunteer Treasurer, Parkinson’s UK (Dudley Branch)

The role of a volunteer treasurer is to lead and guide the finances within the branch and support treasurerthe chair to ensure its work is carried out effectively. This includes accurately recording the groups financial activity, keeping the group and UK office informed of its financial position, and provide guidance on internal control and financial. Procedures.

Local groups are run by volunteers who usually have experience of Parkinson’s and are supported by professional staff. The local group network offers friendship and support to everyone living with Parkinson’s, their families and carers across the UK.

The volunteer will be responsible for:
– To provide accounting support to the branch and accurately record financial transaction.
– To supply regular reports to the committee on the financial status of the branch.
– To advise your group on financial policies, internal control and appropriate use of funds
– To send completed annual financial returns to UK Office within specified timescales
– To ensure all volunteer expenses claims are paid in line with the charity’s
Volunteer Expenses Policy.
– To present final accounts at the branch annual general meeting.

What You Will Get Out of Volunteering:
This is a great opportunity to contribute to the work of Parkinson’s UK if you have experience of, or are interested in book keeping. The Treasurer’s role is essential for making sure our groups run successfully and continue to benefit people affected by Parkinson’s in their area. The Treasurer’s Guide will be provided to all treasurer’s and we hope that the guide covers everything you need to know. There are a number of useful tools, forms and templates available on the Treasurer’s resources webpage, or on disc.

It would be an advantage to have previous financial accounting experience as you will find the role easier to fulfil. You will find helpful to use a computer if you have access to one, because our electronic cashbook template will make your role easier. However, this is not mandatory.

FOR MORE INFO OR TO APPLY please contact:

Sue Aldridge

@RobJConsulting @DVONMembers Three reasons why it’s time to stop talking about amateurs and professionals

Just come across this great blog post from Rob Jackson and I had to share it.  Parts of this really sum up some organisations’ attitude to volunteers and I have had this very conversation with the groups I work with around volunteers/volunteering.  Click on the picture to take you to the full article. Sure you will find it a very worthwhile read!

Rob has many years experience of working with volunteers and the organisations who involve them and shares lots of useful insights and info, so would thoroughly recommend following him on Twitter @RobJConsulting or signing up to follow his blog.

three reasons

Are We Forgetting Someone in This Conversation?


Another brilliant post from Meridian Swift @MeridianSwift. Sure this has probably happened to all those of us who manage volunteers at least once and I certainly identify with the Julian Case Study! Once bitten, twice shy as the saying goes :)

Originally posted on volunteerplaintalk:

restricted areaLately I’ve been reading about the UK’s debate on whether out of work young people should do some volunteering in exchange for benefits. I’m not going to go into any opinion on whether or not this is a good or bad idea, but the conversation made me think of several experiences I’ve had and how the volunteer manager is seemingly left out of this equation.

One of the first experiences I had with someone forced to volunteer was with a young woman named Tori. She had to complete 50 hours of community service for a misdemeanor. She came to me very early in my career, and I thought I could show Tori the beauty of volunteering. I thought I could show Tori that immersing herself in the woes of others would give her a new and helpful perspective. I thought I could change the world through Tori. I was wrong…

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