Hip hip hooray for volunteers

The centre joined Volunteers’ Week (1st to 12th of June) celebrations by hosting a Thank You BBQ to recognise our volunteers’ contribution. We really value their hard work. Some of whom have been with us for 20 years!

This year we are doubling our efforts to involve volunteers in every aspect of our work. We’re recruiting a team of young people to advise our trustee board, we’re developing new ways people can get involved including creating micro and virtual volunteering roles and we are going to be championing to our members good practice in volunteer recruitment and management.

We know that the majority of Swansea’s environmental community groups are volunteer-led and we want to say a huge Volunteers’ Week thank you to everyone out there who helps protect, conserve and enhance our local environment and make our communities more sustainable.

We also want to say a big thank you to Swansea Volunteer Centre at SCVS who are supporting us in developing our new volunteering programme. If you are running a group and need help and advice on anything to do with volunteering we recommend their service.

For this month’s edition of Green Light we wanted to highlight volunteering so we invited Julia Manser, Volunteer Development Officer at SCVS to tell us more about the its value. Here’s what she had to say….

Volunteering is the backbone of a civil society, it underpins every community, our community.

Volunteering provides people with experiences useful to developing work skills, provides opportunity to use skills developed through life and to become involved with causes that affect us all and offers a way we can be involved in actions to make differences and achieve positive change.

The variety of volunteering opportunities is as diverse as the people who undertake volunteering. It is a misconception to think that volunteers are older retired people. Recent research reported in Guardian last November suggested that the most prevalent volunteering age is 25 to 34 year olds. A report from the voluntary sector consultancy nfpSynergy, called The New Alchemy: How Volunteering Turns Donations of Time and Talent into Human Gold, says the proportion of 16 to 24 year olds who have volunteered in the previous three months has increased from 15 per cent in October 2004 to 33 per cent in July this year.

We must not forget that large sections of our volunteers are in all age groups, from all backgrounds and are motivated by a range of reasons. Volunteering roles should be designed that will attract people for differing reasons, helping our charities and projects be sustained by the variety of people that will also be looking to benefit from these projects. Volunteering provides an opportunity to increase wellbeing of the population at large, those who are volunteering themselves and for the benefit of the environment as a whole. Figures from 2014 suggest there are 931,000 volunteers across Wales. Volunteers provide a range of services and enjoy an array of experiences within their volunteering

Swansea Volunteer Centre at SCVS provides a service to people looking to find the right volunteering opportunity for them and to organisations looking for volunteers. For those who are interested in finding our more about the range of 300 + volunteering roles in the local area and for people who wish to talk through the series of options with a trained advice and guidance worker, Swansea Volunteers Centre offers face to face and telephone appointments you can pre-book by calling 01792 544000.  We upload local volunteering opportunities on the Volunteering Wales website www.volunteering-wales.net

Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of volunteers that began in 1984 and takes place every June. Up and down the country there have been events aiming to recruit, reward and recognise volunteers. This year the week was extended in order to mark celebrations associated with the Queen’s 90th birthday. The Queen has been patron to more than 600 charities and organisations and so the week has been extended to a fortnight to encompass a Patrons lunch on 12th June.

Charities across the country are hoping that Volunteers Week 2016 provides an opportunity for people thinking about volunteering to make contact and add their voice to the collective value, that is voluntarism. Does that include you?

Julia Manser SCVS Volunteering Services Team

Further reading:

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/nov/21/baby-boomers-leave-voluntary-work-to-young-charities

http://www.wcva.org.uk/media/1393252/wcva_almanac_2014_web.pdf

http://nfpsynergy.net/free-report/new-alchemy