A match made in heaven? Secrets to finding the perfect volunteer match

So you’ve decided you want to take the plunge and volunteer, but how can you optimise your chances of finding the role that suits you?  The beauty of volunteering is that you are doing something because you want to, not something you feel obliged to do and if you are not going to enjoy the role, it’s never going to work.  Volunteering is like any other relationship in your life, if there is no mutual respect, support and communication and you really don’t want to be in it, it could end in divorce!  Here are a few tips which will hopefully help you find the right role for you!

  • Are you ready to volunteer? – does now feel like the right time to try? Do you need support to volunteer to ensure you feel safe? Has your health not been brilliant?  Have you got the time, or is there lots going on in your life? These are all things to think about before you take the plunge.
  • Research – have you got something in mind already? Is there a particular cause you want to support?  Do a little research to see what’s out there and if you need help visit your local Volunteer Centre, who are quite simply the best people to tell you what’s available in your area.  With their local knowledge and relationships with local volunteer-involving groups, they will do the best to find you options that suit you.
  • Manage your expectations – volunteering can be a life-changing experience. When it works well, it boosts your self-esteem, gives you confidence and can boost your skills. However, it’s unlikely to lead to paid employment with the not-for-profit you are giving your time to, although you will gain lots of useful skills, experience and a reference. If you are seeking particular experience in a business environment eg accountancy, construction, this would not be volunteering but unpaid work. Volunteering is not a replacement for social care and if you need support, maybe volunteering isn’t the right choice for you at the moment.
  • Be realistic – how much time could you dedicate to volunteering? Do you work? Are you currently studying? Do you have any family or caring commitments? Would you like to volunteer as a one-off, once a month, once a fortnight, every week? This may well affect your choice of roles as there are lots of roles out there, but the commitment may differ. Do be honest with yourself and if you will struggle to fit volunteering into an already busy life, wait until the time is right.
  • Getting there – when you are looking at a role think about the practicalities of getting there to volunteer. If you don’t drive, will you need to get the bus or train? What are the services like and is there a local stop.  You may really want to help, but isn’t 3 buses a step too far?  Hopefully there will be something nearer to where you live and again, this is where your local Volunteer Centre can help.
  • First contact – how was your enquiry dealt with? Was the person you spoke to friendly and informative? Were they happy to answer questions? Did they give you information to take away to look at, or links to access the information on line? From this first contact, does this feel like the right match for you? If you aren’t sure, say you would like to think about it, or if you really don’t get a positive vibe you could just say you have changed your mind.
  • Reflect before making a decision – take a step back and consider if this is going to be the right role for you, taking into consideration everything we’ve mentioned already. If you are unsure ask more questions to reassure yourself. Should you not get the answers you want, consider walking away. Volunteering has to be a two-way thing and if the relationship isn’t going to work for both you and the organisation, it’s going to end in a break-up.

Just like relationships there will be the perfect volunteering role for you out there and a little care, and thought can lead to the perfect match.  Don’t be put off if your first attempt fails as there’s the one for you out there!  Just get in touch with your local Volunteer Centre and they will love to help – that’s what we are here for!  Happy volunteering

OPP OF THE DAY: Foot Care Service Volunteer (Brierley Hill) – Age UK Dudley

To provide a basic toe nail cutting and foot care service to older people. Reporting to: ‘Stepping Out’ Foot Care Project Co-ordinator Location: Footcare Service at Mill Street, Brierley Hill

Duties and Responsibilities:

– Attend Foot Care clinics to offer this service, as agreed, around the borough
– Attend initial Foot Care training and regular update training as necessary
– Spend the equivalent of at least one two hour session per week providing foot care.
– Receive referral letters to the Foot Care clinic from recognised health care professionals
– Get clients to sign the Foot Care agreement/ disclaimer
– Sell clients their personal Foot Care kit on their first visit and stress importance of them bringing this with them for future appointments
– Provide a basic foot care and toe nail cutting service i.e. cutting toe nails and filing hard skin only.
– Make re-appointments for clients so that they have a regular appointment every 8 weeks
– To adhere to the policies and practices of Age UK Dudley
– To agree to a Disclosure and Barring check
– To wear a personal identity badge whilst volunteering
– Represent the professional standards of the charity

Skills:

– A liking for and an empathy with older people
– Patience and understanding
– The ability to work as part of a team
– An understanding of the need for confidentiality
– Good timekeeping
– Reliability and trustworthiness

FOR MORE INFO OR TO APPLY PLEASE CONTACT:

 

René Evans
Email: volunteer@ageukdudley.org.uk
Tel: 01384 356150

OPP OF THE DAY: Shopmobility Volunteer (Merry Hill) – Age UK Dudley

To deliver / assist in delivering a quality shopmobility service. Reporting to: Project Co-ordinator Location: Merry Hill Hours: At least 4 hours per week

Duties and Responsibilities:

– Welcome customers and create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere
– Complete customer bookings over the telephone and in person using both manual and electronic systems, correctly and efficiently.
– Assist customers to access information and resources requested by signposting them.
– Assist new members to complete all necessary paperwork and record ID received.
– Ensure all new members are fully aware of the range of services provided by Shopmobility.
– Input new members onto the database, mail out membership information and record in internal processes as instructed.
– Issue vehicles to customers ensuring they are suitable to their needs, where this is not the case suggest appropriate alternatives.
– Ensure customers are fully trained in the safe use of the equipment prior to leaving the premises.
– Clean vehicles on return from hire, reporting any damage or faults.
– Undertake light maintenance of equipment such as checking tyre pressures are correctly inflated and that foot and arm rests are secure.
– Undertake general administrative duties to include post, photocopying and filing as requested.
– Attend internal events, supervision and support sessions as requested.
– Adhere to relevant Age UK Dudley policies and procedures
– To wear a personal identity badge whilst volunteering

Skills:

– A liking for and an empathy with older people
– Patience and understanding
– The ability to work as part of a team
– Good listening skills and an understanding of safety issues
– An understanding of the need for confidentiality
– Sense of humour
– Good timekeeping
– Reliability and trustworthiness

FOR MORE INFO OR TO APPLY PLEASE CONTACT:

René Evans
Email: volunteer@ageukdudley.org.uk
Tel: 01384 356150

‘Fed up with looking at four walls? Then come and look at ours instead!’ – Senior Citizens Enterprise Woodwork Group

Dudley CVS blog

Based at the Meadow Road Youth Centre, the Senior Citizens Enterprise Woodwork Group, in Dudley, is a group for older people who are interested in woodwork.  It’s a fun and friendly environment offering older people a place to learn new or develop existing woodworking skills. It’s also a great place to find new friendships. The group has 23 members in total. Some members live on their own, some are widowers, some just like to get out of the house, make something and put their skills to good use! The oldest member, Ken, is 93 years old.

‘Fed up with looking at four walls? Then come and look at ours instead!’  That’s the motto of the Senior Citizens Enterprise Woodwork Group.

The wood workshop is fully equipped with modern tools and machinery. There really isn’t much that the group hasn’t made, and they’re always on the lookout for new projects…

View original post 878 more words

OPP OF THE DAY: Charity Shop Volunteer (Stourbridge) – Age UK Dudley

To help with the day to day running of the Charity Shop in Stourbridge, raising funds to support services for older people in the Dudley Borough

Duties and Responsibilities:

– To serve customers and record purchases on the cash register
– To work with staff and other volunteers to sort, steam, hang, ticket and size donated clothing for sale in the shop
– To help keep the shop clean.
– To assist with shop displays.
– Provide information leaflets and signpost any inquiries for Age UK Dudley services
– Comply with Age UK Dudley relevant Policies and Procedures
– Wear personal identity badge whilst volunteering
– Represent the professional standards of the charity

Skills:

– An interest in the shop, and an enthusiasm for raising money through its work.
– The ability to work as part of a team.
– A flexible approach
– Able to provide a friendly, high quality service to customers
– The ability to work as part of a team
– Basic numeracy
– A sense of humour
– An understanding of the need for confidentiality
– Good timekeeping
– Reliability and trustworthiness
– A willingness to undertake training required for role

FOR MORE INFO OR TO APPLY PLEASE CONTACT:

René Evans
Email: volunteer@ageukdudley.org.uk
Tel: 01384 356150

Experts Among Us: An Interview with Katherine Arnup, Author, Volunteer Part 2

here is the second part of this wonderful interview and essential reading i feel

volunteerplaintalk

516LHOA+4LL._AC_US327_FMwebp_QL65_

Experts with skills and talents to share are everywhere, including the many experts within our volunteer programs. Last week, in our first part of this interview, Katherine Arnup, author of the new book, “I don’t have time for this,” shared her story in both caring for loved ones and volunteering at her local hospice.

In part 2, Katherine gives us insight into how we can encourage the experts among us.

VPT: How can organizations recognize volunteer contributions?

K: I think volunteer contributions are not easily measured. Organizations can miss out on all the things volunteers contribute by not recognizing the whole person and what they bring. I used to speak to other hospice volunteer appreciation meetings. I would have volunteers come up to me afterwards and say, “thank you so much for understanding what we do and thank you for validating us and our work.” The volunteers were so grateful…

View original post 786 more words

OPP OF THE DAY: Tuesday Refreshment Helper – Bounce Back to Health and Happiness

Are you friendly, sociable and free on a Tuesday afternoon? If so Bounce needs YOU to help them with the most important role with their lovely group – refreshments – making their lovely members cups of tea or coffee as required.

Their friendly group is a wonderful place for older people to enjoy activities and social opportunities in a welcoming environment in Quarry Bank.

They are open on Mondays and Tuesdays, and activities on offer include:

Exercise class – including armchair based for those who are less energetic

  • Art class
  • Sewing
  • Knitting
  • Line dancing

And most important of all, lots of opportunities to socialise and make new friends!

FOR MORE INFO OR TO APPLY PLEASE CONTACT:

Jenny Bates
Email:
 jennybates1@virginmedia.com