Support Cambridgeshire partners (Hunts Forum of Voluntary Organisations and Cambridge CVS) are excited to announce they have received funding from system partners to set up a countywide Volunteer Portal in Cambridgeshire.
There has been a gap in volunteer recruitment for some time now for both groups and the public. Groups have been expected to promote themselves, often only recruiting within the same circles, which has recently meant that many groups have struggled. At the same time, the public has faced barriers to finding roles which suit their skills, time and passions, with each group promoting in different ways and not always giving the information the public desire.
Recently NCVO released its Time Well Spent research paper highlighting what many groups are finding in practice; that volunteer numbers are down from 2021/22 by 16%.
With such a fall of volunteers engaging with groups, any barriers to individuals wanting to give their time to a cause or groups must be challenged. When the reported asked those who had considered volunteering why they didn’t see it through, they reported common barriers being;
- thinking it involved more time than they could commit (21%)
- it wasn’t flexible (14%)
- the opportunities didn’t match their skills, interests or experience (14%).
Partners at Support Cambridgeshire feel that these barriers can be partly addressed locally by a Volunteer Portal, which allows groups to promote roles in a formatted way in one place. It should answer the question people want to know and be utterly upfront and easy to understand around the role’s time commitment and flexibility, plus the skills/interest needed to get the most from the role.
We also hope this platform will support groups to experiment with new volunteer practices, such as rotas, to change how volunteers are used within an organisation and open volunteering up to a broader pool of possible volunteers. Allowing our Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) to become even more diverse than it already is and empowering groups to gain the expertise of various backgrounds, skills, and interests make our sector even more impactful when supporting our communities.
The stat that “1 in 5 (19%) of people who hadn’t volunteered in the last 12 months said it was because they’ve never been asked” highlights to Support Cambridgeshire that this portal is overdue in Cambridgeshire. This website, along with the sector’s work to promote it, will allow all groups to use it to reach out to the public more effectively.
Support Cambridgeshire can reveal that the portal will be designed by Deedmob, who created the Get InVOLed Norfolk and GoVolHerts portals used by neighbouring counties. The team hope to bring you more information later in 2023, so watch this space.