Wiltshire Council is working to increase volunteering in the county and to publicise the benefits volunteering can bring to the individual, to the council and to communities.
Details of volunteering opportunities in Wiltshire are available though the Volunteer Centre Wiltshire . Information about volunteering with Wiltshire Council, for example with libraries, rights of way and the countryside team, are also available through the volunteer centre.
Wiltshire Council's volunteers' policy applies to staff who work with volunteers and to the volunteers who give their time to Wiltshire Council.
A simple guide for people who currently volunteer with the council, or who are considering doing so, is available on the volunteers policy page. This contains case studies and quotes from people who are already actively involved.
The communities and voluntary sector support team works closely with a number of partner organisations to encourage, support and develop volunteering in the county. There are countless ways in which people help out in their local communities and plenty of opportunities for others to get involved and benefit from the many rewards that volunteering brings.
Since 2011 we have worked closely with partners to implement a strategy and action plan for the development of volunteering (further details below) and have led and supported a Volunteering Reference Group that reports to the Resilient Communities Partnership.
What is volunteering?
"any activity which involves spending time, unpaid, doing something which aims to benefit someone (individuals or groups) other than or in addition to close relatives, or to benefit the environment"
There are a number of similar definitions of volunteering in common use, but there is no single agreed definition in the UK. However, one aspect that underpins all of the common definitions is that volunteering is an activity that is freely undertaken.
What activities do people get involved with?
The number and range of volunteering activities taking place in Wiltshire alone, is enormous. It includes: coaching for small, local sports clubs; helping out at luncheon clubs for vulnerable adults; running play sessions for toddlers; mentoring young people; canal clearing and other environmental projects; fundraising for a local charity; being a committee member and helping to manage an organisation; counselling victims of domestic violence; helping with admin tasks in an office- the list is endless!
People have different reasons for volunteering.
For some, it can help them find employment, or it may be a chance to develop new skills and experience which may lead to a career change.
For others, volunteering might appeal because of the social aspect, since it can be a way of getting to know new people and taking part in community activities.
It’s also a great way to take an active role in local life, improving the environment or local facilities for example, or supporting a cause that is dear to your heart. It can also be a way to make a contribution that’s different from the day job.
Volunteering is open to everyone, can be a regular activity, or only occasional and has been proven to be good for your sense of well-being.
Volunteering strategy and action plan
- Wiltshire Volunteering Strategy and Action Plan 2011 - 2014 Wiltshire Volunteering Strategy and Action Plan 2011 - 2014 1mb
The Wiltshire Volunteering Strategy and Action Plan 2011 – 2014 aims to provide a framework for developing volunteering across voluntary, public and private partnerships in the county. The development of the strategy was led by Wiltshire Council in close collaboration with Volunteer Centre Wiltshire and steered by a cross-sector task and finish group.
The strategy has recognised the benefits and positive impact of volunteering for individuals, communities, and organisations. These include a sense of pride, the ability to provide services not otherwise possible and building more harmonious communities. The importance of word of mouth as a route into volunteering was also identified. Consequently a focus on working with a range of organisations that have face-to-face contact with people was highlighted as a more effective way to directly communicate the volunteering message to particular target groups.
The volunteering vision for Wiltshire is: “Local people helping their communities through volunteering”. The vision is being achieved by applying recommendations and an action plan to the following five objectives:
- Develop a joined up approach to volunteering.
- Promote volunteering by improving the profile, quality and range of volunteering opportunities.
- Provide flexible volunteering opportunities that consider individuals’ diverse needs and overcome barriers to getting involved.
- Ensure volunteering leads to outcomes valued by communities
- Identify and prioritise community needs, appropriately.
The action plan is based on key findings from initial research and consultation.
The strategy informs decision-making around the development of volunteering in Wiltshire, In order to monitor and evaluate the action plan the volunteering reference group meets twice a year to ensure progression towards achieving the key objectives which is reported to the Resilient Communities Partnership.
How can I find out more?
To find out more about Wiltshire Council’s work to support volunteering, please contact the Communities and Voluntary Support team VCS@wiltshire.gov.uk.
If you are interested in finding out more about the enormous range of inspiring volunteering activities going on in the county, or considering doing some voluntary work yourself, please look at the Volunteer Centre Website
What if my service, organisation or group needs a volunteer?
If you work for a Wiltshire Council service, please familiarise yourself with the Council’s policy and guidance for engagement and management of volunteers.
Wiltshire Council funds Volunteer Centre Wiltshire to support groups, organisations and services that involve volunteers in their work. For help and advice in recruitment, management and support of volunteers please contact the centre.
Tel: 0845 034 5250 Email: email@example.com
What about employers or businesses that want to encourage their staff to volunteer?
The Council is the founder member of Wiltshire Responsible Employer Network (WREN) which brings together organisations from all sectors that wish to undertake their activities in a responsible manner and fulfil their Corporate Social Responsibilities.
WREN has developed a Corporate Community Engagement inititative that is supported by the Council and based at Develop Enhancing Community Support. Further information is available here www.WREN-wilts.org.uk
Communities and Voluntary Sector Support Team
0300 456 0100
Last updated: 25 November 2013