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What would you expect of the organisation?

terry  Male  West Yorkshire 2-Jan-2019 23:55 Message #4732678
Don't know if this is the right room or not, I'm still re-finding my way around things.

If you chose to (or perhaps already do) volunteer for a charity, what would you expect to have to do? It's your views on the practical aspects I'm asking about, even though a person's original motives may have a bearing on what they are prepared to do.

I've noticed a couple of references to charitible things on some threads and it interests me.
Madness102  Female  South Yorkshire 3-Jan-2019 00:05 Message #4732679
I think it rather depends on the Charity - if its a shop like Scope (helps cerebral palsied people) then just helping to sort clothes and other items, displaying in the shop and taking money for sales.
Some charities run a bus service, so it could be driving, or just giving a hand helping people on or off the vehicle.

The fact that you are volunteering means that you dont have to do anything you dont want to do. So best to make enquiries at the Charity concerned, they should give you an idea of what is expected.
tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 3-Jan-2019 01:21 Message #4732681
I made enquiries a few years ago, more in desperation of my own situation than anything else.

It was shortly before my heart failure, I was getting desperate trying to get work, having been made redundant and nobody wanting a then 58 yr old.

I made enquiries at the local Barnardo's. For anything, permanent, part time or volunteer. I can't totally remember the conversation I had, but bits of it were asking about driving jobs, as well as just sorting etc.

I think they said the volunteer roles would be just sorting stuff to begin with, and maybe serving customers. I think anything else, driving etc, would have to be on the payroll, but I can't be sure on that. I think there was only volunteer roles available, from what I can remember, but it could be a stepping stone to something paid.

Either way, they gave me some forms to fill in, which involved all your normal details, an idea of the hours that you were available to work, and names of references as well.

I then was struck down with the heart. I originally thought I was having a breakdown of some sort. It was quite scary.

So I never got to find out any more about the volunteering.
BunnyGirl  Female  Buckinghamshire 3-Jan-2019 06:31 Message #4732682
I was told once by an ex midwife who did volunteering and said don't do it as they put on you
all the time to do more and more so i never bothered.
Victoriana11  Female  Buckinghamshire 3-Jan-2019 08:13 Message #4732687
I have several friends who work in Charity shops or do home visiting, and they thoroughly enjoy it. I know some who collect precriptions for people who unable to get out of their homes. They all seem to have added to their social lves through these organisations too, especially the single ones. One lady I know is 83, very sprightly, and she serves in a charity shop, she's very fit too. I know a chap who is 80 & he drives the old folks bus in one of the villages.
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 3-Jan-2019 08:51 Message #4732689
My partner enquired about volunteering the RSPB, but they must be quite popular, the most difficult post for them to fill, it appears, is selling their binoculars. He wasn't inspired to fill that position, but it would have been a 50 mile round trip each time.

I explored other types of volunteering around the time I joined MSE 2007/8 but these you have to pay to do for a short adventurous stint and meeting people. One of them was a motivation to improve my French.

1. Join a week with the National Trust doing something like cleaning, repairing, wall building, all sorts of interesting opportunities with a like-minded group.

2. A 2 week "holiday" camping in Iceland. You have to take your own gloves and strong boots, to be part of a party building boardwalks to protect well trodden vulnerable paths.

3. A 2 week "holiday", one week in France clearing litter from a French river, then the French part of the group reciprocate by working with you to clear rubbish from a UK river.

I didn't join any of those as life was a bit too complex than, as well as it turned out volunteering could be quite expensive.

If you are not tied to home with anything, there are volunteering websites where you can still not have to pay, but they pay you to even go abroad on some ventures, especially if you have any skills to offer.
RAACH84  Female  Buckinghamshire 3-Jan-2019 09:11 Message #4732690
I've volunteered on quite a few occasions. Everything from helping to organise and marshalling at fun runs to working in charity shops. i don't get a lot of spare time but on most of these I can take one or both of my children. My eldest daughter learned how to make a decent cuppa, talk to customers and iron better than I do from working in a charity shop.
nellieredshoes  Female  West Yorkshire 3-Jan-2019 09:24 Message #4732693
I think it rather depends on the individual, terry.

A person can choose a charity that is in line with their ethos and use their skills in whichever way that charity has need of them or they could choose an activity that they are prepared to do on a regular basis and choose a charity that is looking for people to do just that.

There are opportunities to get involved in all sorts of ways. Here, in the Calder Valley, you can be; involved in physical work like planting trees and flood prevention, work with young people, old people and those in between, you can volunteer with animal charities, Arts centres, historical societies etc etc. It all depends on the individual’s abilities, interests and time available.
tumbleweed  Male  Gloucestershire 3-Jan-2019 09:59 Message #4732695
A workmate who was made redundant at the same time as me, got a temporary job at a homeless shelter near Bristol. He was in his late 30's and really was looking for a paid job, but the volunteer roll was a temporary measure.

They said something about needing commitment off any of the volunteers, which is understandable. I doubt whether it would all work without the proper commitment. Just turning up as and when people feel like it is not good for most charities etc. It all needs a bit of structure.

Many rolls will need some sort of background checks. They can't afford to have just anybody turning up, especially where vulnerable people are concerned.
OnlineMSE  Male  Essex 3-Jan-2019 11:04 Message #4732701
I've been gifting time as a volunteer for over 12 years under one organisation's volunteer programme, although it's not a charity.
I do have a designated role, even though the programme has changed drastically over the period, but over that time I have taken on and taken part in many ad-hoc projects that have come along. Some have been requested of me specifically by members of staff that I have built up a good relationship with (trust goes a long way if they know that they can ask something of you and you can not only get on and do it but also do it without any specific supervision so they can focus on more pressing maters) and others I've done as extra roles for the experience of doing it. Some have been really exciting, others not so, but all worthwhile in their own right.
There are a core of people still in that volunteer programme that are willing to do most things to help out, even if it's seemingly menial tasks like ensuring stationary supplies are maintained or copiers are filled, or noticeboards are up to date. All small jobs individually but collectively take time out of stressed and overworked staff's day. But there are others who just moan at not having a specific role and aren't really prepared to put themselves out, and have fallen well short of the minimum that we've all been asked to contribute.
But that's a tricky position because I've always thought it's difficult to criticize someone for not meeting that minimum when any time given in voluntary. But you do need some sort of commitment otherwise the organisation doesn't know if you are in or out and any programme is only as good as the commitment of the volunteers in it.
The gifting of time is something that you either get or don't. If you do "get it" then you should be happy enough to do anything to help out because that is the most important thing. If you don't "get it" then you're unlikely to either enjoy it or even get involved in the first place.
fosy  Male  Leicestershire 3-Jan-2019 11:16 Message #4732702
glastonbury anyone ?

typically,you commit to 3 eight hr shifts and the rest of the time is your own.

some provide accomodation and food.
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 3-Jan-2019 13:25 Message #4732707
My daughter's friends parents volunteer at a local NT place as helpers, one giving talks to visitors.
terry  Male  West Yorkshire 4-Jan-2019 01:27 Message #4732741
Thank you for the responses, I suppose I should have clarified, I'm not looking for volunteering suggestions - I volunteer already - it was more to get people's views on the practical aspects of volunteering in general. A few people raised the point of the need for commitment, and I liked the point about getting it or not getting it...think that was OnlineMSE ?, basically I suppose I'm wondering if people's attitudes to volunteering have/are changing to where volunteers are less willing to commit and see the role as an extension of work, albeit unpaid (generally).
I frequently hear the term "but we're just volunteers after all" and it annoys the hell out of me.
Nigel_In_Devon  Male  Devon 4-Jan-2019 10:45 Message #4732750
Perhaps the words 'just' and 'only' should be deleted from the dictionary. I would suggest the volunteers are as important as the paid staff at least the volunteers are doing the work for the love of it and are probably relied in to a higher degree than those paid to do the role. Hear it too often in schools where some staff are 'only' TAs. They certainly aren't 'only' TAs, they are valuable, hard working members of staff who provide highly valued support to the teachers and children in schools!

wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 4-Jan-2019 10:48 Message #4732751
I've done volunteer work and I knew the commitment levels before I started. One of the things I've seen over the last few years and something thats put me off volunteering more is that it seems that more roles are being filled by volunteers that used to be fulltime and waged roles. I noticed this starting before austerity cut backs, this seemed to be taking the p1ss to me, when charities want you to basically do full or part time work, want that level of commitment and skill, but don't want to pay for it and I think for some it is don't want to rather than can't afford too. Maybe some people say 'but we're just volunteers after all' to charity bosses who expect to much, the charity sector has been encouraged to pick up and compete in so many areas that were once salaried council, social services or health authority.
Judance  Female  Berkshire 4-Jan-2019 10:51 Message #4732754
Like you, Terry, I volunteer on a regular basis with various organisations.

When I moved here 12 years ago, I volunteered at a charity shop .. sorting donations of toys and games. Once a week for an afternoon.
A change of manager and ethos led me to leave .. (needed a reference for this)

I joined a local service organisation that raises money to support people in need .. organising events and also helping others as stewards. We meet once a month but there are opportunities to volunteer at the events as and when available. I'm also on the organising committee. (No reference needed just a willingness to help, although we do have a code of ethics)

Through the Housing Association that is my Freeholder, I have become involved in a resident's panel that operates at a strategic level, getting involved in policy development etc. For this there was a selection procedure concentrating on personal qualities and experience. There is an expectation to attend meetings and missing 3 consecutive ones means you are asked to leave. There is also support with IT and training where needed.

Through contacts I applied to become a lay member of my local Safeguarding Children Board. Interview, references and DBS check needed here. This meets 6 times a year .. lots of paperwork to read but all very worthwhile if it makes a difference. From this I now volunteer as an Appropriate Adult (references & DBS clearance) being called out between 5 and 9pm during the week or anytime before 9pm on a weekend, to support under 18s and vulnerable adults being interviewed under caution at the local Custody Suite.
This 'pays' £15 per call out, when I remember to claim it.

It is really only in the latter that I feel I am maybe being taken advantage of .. due mainly to cut backs and lack of available staff to cover. It is not unusual to be called out to attend at a set time, only to find that the solicitor has not arrived, so you hang about until s/he gets there. There are times when I have to remind myself why I do it.

As a volunteer, I can choose what to do and when I give my time. In all these I have the opportunity to say no, but there is the element of duty/honour/trust that drives me to do what I have committed to. I am a volunteer after all (note omission of the word 'just')

I do feel that the younger generation are less willing to volunteer, maybe due to their perceived lack of time. With both adults working and time with family more precious, it's hard to persuade people to give up time to get involved.
twinkle2  Female  Hertfordshire 4-Jan-2019 15:13 Message #4732763
I used to volunteer for the Scouts when my son's were of that age - that one lasted for fifteen years. More recently I volunteered for a charity but gave it up due to family issues. The charities were very different but I felt genuine people were in Scouts as it was voluntary. In my second role whilst it was voluntary we had our mileage paid and supervision was provided.

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