Toxicity and six steps to tackle it

A well written and thought provoking blog post by Rob Jackson and Martin Cowling. Such a common issue for those of us who work with volunteers.

Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd

Guest writer Martin J Cowling muses on the problems with toxic volunteer behaviour and suggests some actions to prevent and resolve it.


Helen’s story

Upon retirement Helen (names have been changed) joined a hospital quilt making group to sew quilts for terminally ill children. Helen was looking forward to making some new friends in retirement and making a difference in the community. The group leader said “we are a small group but we work hard and we value loyalty”.

Those words echoed in Helen’s head as she struggled to cope when group members screamed at her for “poor stitching”. Where people sat at the quilting mornings was controlled and “loyal” volunteers got access to the better materials. Even what participants brought for the shared morning tea was scrutinised and belittled. One volunteer got banned for telling a joke that the leader did not approve of. Screeds of abuse between members…

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The Connect Me Service

Dudley (CYPF) Network

The Arts of Change Trust provides counselling and therapy services to disadvantaged and at-risk young people and adults, the main aim being to support people that face barriers to accessing mainstream provision. The Trust helps children, young people, adults, and families by providing counselling and creative art therapies including drama therapy, play therapy and art therapy, all delivered by professionally qualified experienced therapists.

The AoC Trust will be offering up to 6 FREE Counselling & Therapy sessions to people in the West Midlands who have directly been affected by Covid-19. This includes NHS staff, key workers, those that have lost loved ones due to the virus or who have felt trapped during the pandemic.

The sessions can be held in multiple ways including face to face, telephone or Zoom video calls. The work is in association with The Big Lottery Fund who have given them a grant to support those in…

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