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Managing or being a leader of volunteers

We like to think of managing volunteers in terms of it being a journey.  There are 4 simple stages to this journey Plan, Include, Support and Celebrate.  If you have set up a Covid-19 community response group, you probably zipped through these stages within a couple of weeks and did not have time to plan or think about how you will support your volunteers!

We are here to help and encourage you to consider this now so that you can avoid problems further along the line.  We have put together resources for you to save you starting from scratch.  We even have some ideas on how you can understand the impact of your group, you are making a huge difference to those in your community – take a moment to celebrate that!

Please contact our volunteering team for more support volunteering@communityactionsuffolk.org.uk

Plan Recruit Support Impact

Plan

We encourage you to plan how you use your volunteers to reach the aims of your group; it will help avoid problems later on.  We have a short guide here to get you thinking:

These 6 key priorities guides are very good place to start when setting up your group, and will give you some key priorities to help your group be safe and effective.

Include

You will know your community best, so use the channels you can to recruit volunteers.  This will most probably be social media platforms such as Facebook, NextDoor, or the community website. But we can also help you recruit volunteers on Volunteer Suffolk.

Support

You will want to ensure you and your Volunteers are supported in their role, this will help avoid volunteer fatigue and avoid problems later on. 

Community Action Suffolk promote that volunteers are able to access resources to help them in their role and we would recommend that you complete training in the modules listed below, but you may choose to do more.

  • Your Role and Responsibilities
  • Communication Skills
  • Data Security Awareness
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Equality, Diversity and Human Rights
  • Safeguarding Adults
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Health and Safety

Health and Wellbeing for Volunteers in the Community and Volunteer group Leaders. 

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Suffolk saw the demand for volunteers soar, and the number of people who have now become volunteers is truly staggering. 

Volunteering is a very special role in a community, and more than ever before volunteers were ensuring that everybody had access to food and medication to be able to stay at home safely, shopping for shielding neighbours, working with a local community group to provide hot meals to older people, or making daily phone calls to someone who lives alone. The contribution was vital to supporting the county to navigate through the situation. 

Our society has changed at an incredible pace and you and your communities have responded with amazing flexibility and enthusiasm. 

We understand that volunteering can impact on your wellbeing and as the crisis continues you may start to feel fatigued, stressed or anxious.  There are a range of online resources about Health and Wellbeing and volunteering that you may find useful to read through.  You can use these yourself and share with other volunteers.   

If you have to stay at home due to coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be feeling bored, anxious or lonely.  It’s so important to understand how you are feeling and to do some simple things which can help you feel better. The Five Ways to Wellbeing gives advice on what we can do every day to make ourselves feel good. 

Find out how Suffolk MIND can support you with lots of wellbeing resources available. 

First response is a 24/7 helpline offering immediate advice, support and signposting for people with mental health difficulties. 

If you are experiencing something that makes you feel unsafe, distressed or worried about your mental health you can now call the helpline on 0808 196 3494. 

Our Frontline offers round-the-clock one-to-one support, by call or text, from trained volunteers, plus resources, tips and ideas to look after your mental health.  Although volunteers are not directly mentioned, they can access this service too. 

Resources on how to volunteer safely. 

Support for Leaders of Volunteers in a community setting 

As a leader of volunteers you may feel the pressure of managing others and want to ensure you are doing the right thing to keep your volunteers and beneficiaries of your service safe.  For this reason, we have created a safe space online where you can chat about your role and be connected to others in similar roles to yourself called Let’s Talk Community Volunteering.  We run these fortnightly and also offer free bookable 121 sessions for volunteer leaders to talk through any challenges or questions they may have around volunteering and running of a community group. 

You can contact the volunteering team at volunteering@communityactionsuffolk.org.uk 


Celebrate

We encourage that you take a moment to understand and measure the difference you are making in your community!  Taking a moment to reflect on the incredible work you and your volunteers have done really helps with motivation and will help  you through the more challenging times.