Tag Archive for: volunteer

Volunteer Cambs update

The team working on Volunteer Cambs has been working hard to create new tools and help for organisations so they can take advantage of the growing interest in the site. Read how you can get involved.

Once upon a time, a group never asked for volunteers 

Kathryn Shepherdson header

When you are looking to buy a new home device or try out a new sport, what is the one thing most people will do, apart from google it? Ask a friend.  

It is common knowledge that word of mouth is the most effective way to market. We are much more likely to buy something that someone who we identify with has had a positive experience with than we will read something. This is why marketing through social media and influencers has had such a significant impact in the past few years.  

So why not utilise this within your not-for-profit group around volunteer recruitment and use those volunteers you already have to get you more volunteers? 

Story time.  

I once knew a group that never advertised for volunteers by promoting that they wanted volunteers. Yet they would attract around 70 volunteers every few months just through one easy method. They would tell a story on Facebook of one of their volunteers and the impact they made on their community and the impact this had on the volunteer themself. They used a stock image linked as closely to the story and then shared it across the local Facebook groups, asking, ‘Would you like to be part of this?’, the replies would always amaze the volunteer manager, who then quickly contacted those who showed interest and had them going through the induction process a week after that initial post was put out! It was a recipe for success.  

How can Volunteer Cambs boost our recruitment? 

Volunteer Cambs want to give you that opportunity to do the same. When you go on our website you see on the front page our stories blogs. These are the stories of those wonderful volunteers within our communities talking about what they do, how they make an impact, and what they get out of it. We want to get as many groups as possible from across Cambridgeshire on there.  

How do we make the most of this story? 

At Volunteer Cambs, we can then link your stories with your current volunteer roles. This means once someone has been motivated to volunteer for a group like yours, they are taken directly through how they can get involved.  

This isn’t the only way to squeeze the most out of this blog. You can also then link this story in your social media, and share it across Facebook groups and other platforms, making sure to get your volunteer to share it too, because word of mouth is the most effective marketing method.  

How do I get our stories on Volunteer Cambs? 

So, find your most inspirational volunteer and get in contact, the story can take many forms, an interview with us, a story, or explaining the volunteer roles you have but make sure you have amazing quotes throughout. Check out what we have already put on the website and email info@volunteercambs.org.uk  

NEW! On-Demand video – Attracting Volunteers & What is a committee?

We have recently added a new on-demand session to our portal, this one centers around attracting volunteers.

Have you sign up to Volunteer Cambs yet?

If your thinking about signing up to Volunteer Cambs, watch Sally Page present this talk about the website and it functions.

Connecting Communities Feedback 2023


If you wish to have this as a PDF please CLICK HERE & CLICK HERE , you will also find more information about these events including the slides HERE. Connecting Communities is a Support Cambridgeshire event, for any questions relating to this please email info@huntsforum.org.uk






Time Well Spent report is released

If you attended the Connecting Communities conference, you would have heard several speakers referencing two reports that have come out recently looking at volunteering trends. The first is the Community Life Survey which was made public earlier this year. The other was the NCVO Time Well Spent report, which was released on the 27th of June.

NCVO released some snippets of the report earlier in the year; however, the full report was launched along with some interesting findings. Below are just a few which sprung out to us.

Read the full report HERE.

  • Volunteers did not increase in COVID, but it declined further, and we have not yet seen a bounce back.
  • Groups are asking for too much from volunteers and risk losing them. Many volunteers feel pressured into giving more time than they would like.
  • Motivations for volunteering have declined; however, wanting to help people is still one of the top reasons people get involved.
  • Two main reasons people don’t want to give time to volunteering are; a lack of interest in ongoing commitment and wanting to do ‘other things with their spare time.’
  • People need expenses paid, and while they may not ask, it needs to be offered regularly as it is a barrier in a ‘cost of living crisis
  • More young people want to get involved, but with a cause which means something to them, and on a short-term basis.

The Support Cambridgeshire team will take these findings along with those of the Community Life Survey and look at training and support for groups in the coming year. If you need any support or advice around volunteer recruitment or retention, please feel free to get in contact at info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk . If you would like to see training in a particular topic area, get involved, and we are always interested to hear from groups.

Charities Call On New Chancellor To Tackle Fuel Costs Crisis

A coalition of eleven charities is calling on the new Chancellor of the Exchequer to tackle the spiralling fuel costs crisis which is damaging the voluntary sector across the UK.

The campaign is led by the Community Transport Association (CTA) – which represents over 1,200 local charities and community groups across the UK who provide accessible, inclusive transport services – and highlights the impact of record petrol and diesel prices on organisations and volunteers.

The letter asks Nadhim Zahawi MP, newly appointed as Chancellor on Wednesday 6 July, to increase the Approved Mileage Allowance Payment (AMAP) – which is the maximum level at which volunteer drivers can be reimbursed without any impact on their tax obligations or benefit entitlements – to reflect inflation in his Autumn Budget this October.

The AMAP rate of 45p per mile was last reviewed in 2012. Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the cost of motoring had already increased by 25% since then, according to research by the RAC.

CTA has now joined forces with ten charities from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – Communities 1st, Volunteer Now, the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), Volunteer Scotland, the Scottish Volunteering Forum, the Royal Voluntary Service, Volunteering Matters, Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) and the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) – to call for an immediate review of the AMAP rate.

The coalition’s letter states that the current AMAP rate ‘no longer fully covers volunteer expenses’ and is disincentivising volunteering at a time when, as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and face a cost of living crisis, it is needed more than ever to – for example, to transport older and disabled people to GP, hospital and vaccination appointments. It asks the new Chancellor to ‘safeguard the future of the charities and organisations who rely on volunteer drivers to deliver lifeline services’.


David Kelly, CTA’s Director for Scotland, said: “We congratulate Nadhim Zahawi MP on his appointment as Chancellor and look forward to working with him to tackle inflation, which is hitting all parts of the voluntary sector hard, especially the Community Transport sector. With fuel prices at record highs and the cost of living crisis worsening, it’s increasingly difficult for local charities or community groups to make ends meet.

“Some amazing projects and essential services are under threat. If some Community Transport schemes can’t continue, it’ll mean fewer older and disabled people getting out and about for shopping, hospital appointments or visits to family and friends; fewer younger people and deprived households getting to school, college, university or work; and more transport poverty across the UK.

He added: “We need Nadhim Zahawi to act in the Autumn Budget so that volunteers can continue to do what they love and the voluntary sector can truly thrive, not just survive until the next crisis.”

 Maddy Desforges OBE, CEO of NAVCA, said: “NAVCA members report people stopping volunteering due to the cost of living crisis. We call on the Chancellor to increase the AMAP rate to reflect additional costs and enable people from all backgrounds to volunteer – an important part of levelling up disadvantaged communities.”

Noeleen Lynch, CTA’s Director for Northern Ireland, said: “We hear reports from our members every single day of drivers who can no longer afford to volunteer as the current AMAP rate no longer covers their expenses. The fuel costs crisis is having a serious knock-on impact on our members’ ability to recruit and retain volunteers and to deliver essential services.

She added: “Given the cost of living pressures we’re facing, volunteering can be an added expense many cannot absorb. We strongly believe that volunteering should be affordable for everyone and that volunteers should not experience any out-of-pocket expenses.”

Jen Reston, Chair of the Scottish Volunteering Forum, said: “Our members are reporting that volunteers are leaving their roles due to the cost of living crisis and soaring fuel costs. This is making volunteering unaffordable for people which is not acceptable. It then impacts on the ability to deliver services, meet commitments and support those in need of services.

“No volunteer should be out of pocket for volunteering. Volunteering cannot be an activity that can only be accessible for those who can afford it. This will further exacerbate inequalities in our communities. Volunteering has to be accessible for all and the mileage rate reviewed and increased, to ensure that vital services can continue.”

Sarah Vibert, CEO for NCVO, said: “Rising petrol costs are making it increasingly difficult for volunteers and charity staff to drive as part of their roles. This is having a negative impact on charities at a time when their support for communities is needed more than ever.

“That’s why we’re calling on the government to review the mileage rate to help with transport costs related to volunteering. This will ensure that charities get the crucial voluntary support they need.

“We also want to see the government working alongside charities to explore ways we can meet these rising costs so their vital work can continue.”

Judith Stone, Assistant Director of Volunteering at WCVA, said: “At a time of great hardship for many, we are deeply concerned seeing outdated AMAP rates creating a barrier to volunteering.

“Volunteer drivers offer their time and skill for free, often creating a lifeline for the most vulnerable, especially in geographically isolated and rural communities. Rising fuel costs should be covered by a revised AMAP rate which ensures volunteers are not out of pocket.”

Alan Stevenson, CEO of Volunteer Scotland, said: “Volunteer Scotland exists to ensure that more people can volunteer; enjoyably, safely and regularly. The cost of living crisis is adding significant financial pressure to individuals across Scotland, and creating unwelcome barriers for people who wish to volunteer.

“12% of formal Scottish volunteers gave help to transport people or things in 2018. This is the equivalent of 140,763 Scottish adults giving 12.5 million hours of help with an economic value of £187.8 million. Increasing the AMAP rate will help ensure that more volunteers are able to continue using their own car to provide vital help in their local communities.”


Support Cambridgeshire supports this and asked that you sign the petition by clicking the button below

yellow dot with sign the petition written in it.

Connecting Communities 2022

Our annual free Connecting Communities Conference is here. It’s a time to bring a range of good practices and thoughts together to talk about volunteering across the county.
This year’s theme is ‘Moving Forward’ and looks at new strategies, ways of using marketing to recruit and the legal side of volunteer management. All conference events are free to access for all Cambridgeshire groups, thanks to the funding received from Cambridgeshire County Council and Huntingdonshire District Council.



Vision for Volunteering

Tuesday 14th June // 10:00 – 11:30 am // Zoom

This event is about the England strategy ‘Vision for Volunteering’, which several partner national volunteer infrastructure bodies have co-written. It is intended to influence national policy on volunteering for the next 10 years. An accompanying website will be launched on 6th May. Gethyn Williams from Sport England will be discussing how this national strategy affects community charities and groups in Cambridgeshire—followed by questions from the floor.



Attracting Supporters and Followers

Wednesday 15th June // Face to Face

 Fenland: March Community Centre, 34 Station Rd, March PE15 8LE

10:00 am – 1:00 pm – including networking light lunch

Huntingdon: The Maple Centre, Oak Dr, Huntingdon PE29 7HN

12:00 pm – 3:00 pm – including a networking light lunch


On Wednesday, we will be running two training sessions in person in two separate places across the county. Attracting Supporters and Followers will be delivered by Christine from CCVS and Kathryn from Hunts Forums. It brings good practice with practical skills, helping organisations identify and recruit the right people for their organisation.

To book the Fenland workshop CLICK HERE

To book the Huntingdon workshop CLICK HERE


Volunteering and the Law

Thursday 16th June // 10:00- 11:30 pm // Zoom

Finally, we end the conference on Thursday with a speaker from Bates Wells LLP, presenting on the legal aspects of volunteer recruitment and retainment. The talk will cover key issues, including avoiding contracts, equality law and how to deal with perks and expenses.

This presentation will be followed by a VCSE Q&A session.

All questions must be submitted before the event, and we cannot guarantee they will be answered. Questions must be general as we are unable to supply legal advice.




The three-day event aims to bring ideas, thoughts and even more good practice to Cambridgeshire, giving those working with volunteers the confidence to face the challenges following the pandemic. We are excited for you to join us.

Support Fenland: Capturing the Views of Council Officers

By Ben Pitt

The Support Fenland project starts in earnest with a round-table discussion with council officers about what the voluntary and community sector needs to help it flourish.

Many people see “the council” as a single organisation that does things like parks and bins, but the reality is that Cambridgeshire has four tiers of local government – parish and town councils, district councils, the county council and the combined authority. Each has its own areas of responsibility but they all take an interest in keeping residents healthy and happy. Building strong communities is a vital part of that.

While the elected councillors or Mayor might be the most visible side of local councils, the bulk of work is carried out by council staff. They include dedicated teams at Fenland District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council to support communities. Meanwhile, parish and town councils often have the closest links with the people in their town or village, and much of the work of the parish or town clerk is to respond to the specific needs of their residents. This often goes hand in hand with the activities of local community and voluntary groups.

At Hunts Forum and CCVS we want to ensure that our work in Fenland responds directly to the specific needs of the district. That’s why we started by talking to the council officers who work with residents on a daily basis. We were delighted to be joined by the community development teams from Cambridgeshire County Council and Fenland District Council, the clerks from Wisbech, Chatteris and Christchurch plus our friends at Living Sport and Cambridgeshire ACRE.

We started by asking what the communities of Fenland need from infrastructure organisations, and what the barriers were to accessing that support. Lots of answers came back. Some were practical, such as support with business planning and funding applications for new projects, a volunteer database and peer networking opportunities. Others were more strategic, such as umbrella organisations with the governance in place to hold funds, thereby allowing volunteers with a good idea to focus on delivering it.

Some points were more philosophical. How can we make volunteering a more ‘normal’ thing to do? How do we empower residents to feel that it’s their right to shape their community, rather than their burden? How do we give communities the confidence to seize opportunities?

Finally, we reflected on what infrastructure organisations and councils need to do to ensure that the voices of our communities are heard. The simple answer was to ask them, but there was also a recognition that communities need a reason to want to have that conversation.

We need to ensure that the various people whose job it is to support communities work together effectively, and that the Support Fenland project has a legacy. Too often, people and solutions are parachuted in and make a few ripples, but afterwards things fall back to the way they were before. Our challenge is to change the culture of volunteering and community action in Fenland for the better.

We’re looking forward to talking to the community activists to find out what their perspective is.

The graphics below capture the views expressed during the discussion. Click them to view full screen.




Ask Me Community Ambassador Scheme

[Republished from www.cambridgewa.org.uk]

People within a survivor’s community are often the first to know that domestic abuse is happening. But lack of understanding and confidence can make people afraid to talk about it, and unsure of how to respond when someone speaks out. Survivors have told us they can feel judged, silenced or isolated by the people around them.

We are changing that through the Change That Lasts Ask Me scheme, developed in partnership between Women’s Aid Federation England and Welsh Women’s Aid.

The project is a simple initiative that equips community members in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough with an understanding of domestic abuse and how to respond to survivors. This knowledge will enable the community to play an active role in ending domestic abuse.

Being a Change That Lasts Community Ambassador

We offer free 12 hour training courses to members of the local community from all backgrounds and identities where they learn about domestic abuse, including its gendered nature, how to challenge the stereotypes surrounding it and how to listen to, believe and direct survivors to specialist support.

Anyone with a connection to Cambridgeshire and/or Peterborough can become an Ask Me ambassador, whether you have been personally affected by domestic abuse or whether you would like to learn more.

After the training, ambassadors are given resources and support to share what they have learned with those around them in ways that feel most comfortable to them. They are encouraged to start conversations about domestic abuse that will help others to better understand the barriers that survivors face in speaking out. An ambassador can commit as much or as little time as they can give.

We keep in touch with Community Ambassadors with new opportunities and events such as ambassador meet-ups, campaign involvement and volunteering. We also send short surveys to find out how they are getting on and how we can support them further.

A Community Ambassador…

… believes in equality of all people, regardless of their gender identity, age, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, cultural beliefs or circumstances.

… listens and believes others that share their personal experiences of domestic abuse.

… is non-judgmental and respectful.

… is passionate about ending domestic abuse.

There is a chance that we may decide that it isn’t appropriate for a person to take on the role if they don’t share these values and qualities. We will work with people to overcome any barriers wherever possible, or we will direct you to a more suitable volunteering or training opportunity.

Interested? Join the Scheme

If you would like to take part, please register your interest through the online form here: REGISTER INTEREST FORM