Jun 18

Volunteering and social care: Volunteers' Week 2018

Posted on Tuesday 5th June 2018

This Volunteer’s Week we’d like to say a big thank you to all the volunteers in adult social care.

Adult social care provides many opportunities for volunteers to support individuals and groups, enabling more and more people to enjoy new experiences and activities.

Volunteers can enhance the care and support provided by paid staff, and some might even apply for permanent roles. There are lots of benefits of running a volunteer programme in your organisation.

We worked with employers to develop resources to help more organisations recruit and manage volunteers effectively. These include:

  • Sharing time and talents: building caring communities – a guide to support the induction of volunteers, including activities
  • induction presentation
  • certificate
  • feedback form
  • induction trainers guide.

You can download them from our website (under the ‘The role of volunteering in social care’ tab).

Finding and keeping workers has lots of practical advice and resources to help you attract, recruit, develop and keep your staff, including volunteers.

Top tips to get started

If you’re thinking about setting up a volunteering programme, here are our top tips to help you get started. Remember, volunteering requires investment and resource to ensure you get maximum benefit for people who need care and support, your organisation and the volunteers themselves.

1.    Understand the difference between the role of volunteers and paid workers

It’s important that staff and volunteers understand the difference between the care and support that the paid workforce provide, and what the volunteer will do.

Volunteers aren’t expected to support people with personal care needs, such as using the bathroom or administering medication.

2.    Recruit volunteers with the right values and behaviours

Recruiting volunteers should be no different to recruiting paid workers, and therefore they should have the right values and behaviours to work in your organisation.

Our values based recruitment toolkit has lots of templates and guidance to help you find the right people.

3.    Give volunteers a mentor or buddy

I Care…Ambassadors is a great way to support a mentor or buddy scheme in your organisation.

Employers sign up to the initiative and register enthusiastic staff with the right values and skills to become ambassadors. Ambassadors deliver careers activities to promote careers in social care, and can also support work placements or mentoring schemes.

When you join you’ll access the Resources Bank which has lots of templates, presentations and learning to help ambassadors deliver activities.

4.    Match the interests and experiences of volunteers with those who access care and support.

This will support you to get the most out of the volunteering programme and improve the experience for the people you support.

 5.    Provide a thorough induction

Some volunteers might have never worked in an adult social care setting before, and there’s a few things they need to know. These include:

  • how to effectively communicate with the people in your setting
  • confidentiality and Data Protection Act
  • duty of care and what this means to them
  • safeguarding adults at risk
  • health and safety.

The ‘Getting enough information’ section of this guide will help you do this.