Tag Archive for: volunteering

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.

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.

Volunteering – 6 points you need to think about


A lot has been written about Volunteering over the past few months as we have seen the results of the Community Life Survey published in February and now we have seen NCVO release their update to the Time Well Spent survey last carried out in 2019. Report here 

For those of us working in the voluntary sector, these reports do not make great reading, but at the same time, they are not really telling us much that we didn’t already know.

This local knowledge has been echoed at the national level and we have the Vision for Volunteering in England and Scotland has their Volunteering Action Plan both these are about how we can get more people to volunteer more time, and this has to be about the opportunities matching the volunteers as well as persuading more people to volunteer.

What others are saying

Lot’s have been written about some of the above that will give you more information and background on what is happening.

What are our key points

We have pulled out some of the key points and given them a local slant.

1. The pain you are feeling is real.

We have heard from many local groups that volunteer recruitment, and retention is an issue, and this is reflected in the findings we have from our research (full report to come soon). But a sneak peek shows that 73% of respondents have issues recruiting volunteers, slightly up from 2019. One comment included

“People who have returned to work post-pandemic are time-poor, reducing the amount of time they are able to spend volunteering or caring for their elderly relatives. This impacts the group who are fewer in number whilst being asked to help more frequently.”

The Community Life Survey results show that volunteering levels have decreased since records began.

The issues are not impacting all organisations the same way, but there is no doubt that who and how the pandemic has impacted people’s volunteer.

2. It really is about local.

The Time Well Spent results show that people want to volunteer locally. Again we are seeing this locally.

We have to ensure that funders and policymakers recognise the local focus at all levels and that big national schemes actually make things worse in many ways, so less involvement in expanding the volunteer schemes from RVS, and less Big Volunteering things and more local support and support for local campaigns.

3. We have to be aware of the reasons that people don’t volunteer

A lot of the Time Well Spent survey looks at why volunteers might not continue or why non-volunteers don’t volunteer. We ignore these findings at our peril!

4. What do you mean you don’t pay expenses?

So only 55% of volunteers say that they will have expenses reimbursed. This has to change, and more importantly, all volunteers should be ‘made’ to claim even if they don’t need or want to so that it does not seem as a stigma to claim expenses. If paid people don’t want them, they can donate them back to the organisation (and add gift aid if they are eligible). Organisations should also ensure that the definition of what expenses they offer is as wide as possible so that as many people can volunteer as possible.

Money is a barrier to volunteering, and organisations must do all they can to remove it and ensure that claiming expenses is visibly seen as the norm.

5. Volunteering is a whole organisation issue.

Senior leaders in larger organisations and trustees need to engage with this.

I am sure that none of the findings in these surveys will be news to those who work closely to recruit and retain volunteers. I am also sure that many of those in these roles recognise that we as a sector need to offer something different to attract new volunteers. But too often, we hear that those in charge do not see this as a priority or that they are not able to see how new ways of working work.

If the decision-makers in organisations don’t change their views and ensure that volunteering becomes fit for purpose, they will see their volunteers leaving and new ones failing to sign on. Given how vital volunteers are to many charities, we have to see fundamental changes in the near future.

The Time Well Spent report was clear about the importance of flexibility in how volunteers are used.

6. Volunteering is unequal

This has many facets, and we need to start to unpack and address them and to cover all the issues we will write a separate blog. But for now, we know that local people volunteer less in Fenland as fewer organisations offer opportunities. We have to find ways to ensure that the opportunity to volunteer is there for everyone interested and that there are various opportunities to let people pursue their passion.

We also see from the Time Well Spent Survey that ‘Satisfaction continues to be lower among volunteers who are…’

  • Younger vs older
  • Public sector vs civil society organisations
  • Disabled vs non-disabled
  • Volunteers from ethnic minority communities vs white

And that 67% of recent volunteers agree those volunteering alongside them come from various backgrounds. – This figure has fallen from 73% in 2019.

NCVO plan to release a more detailed report looking at who volunteers but we need to find ways to attract people regardless of their age, race, where they live, or background. Not addressing these issues means that a wealth of possible talent is being lost to the sector.

We can help

The Support Cambridgeshire partners can help you to look at your organisation’s volunteering and help you connect with others who may be able to help or share good practices.

  1. We are developing a website allowing volunteers and organisations to register and find one another across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
  2. We can offer training and support on aspects of managing volunteers, check out the website to find out what is coming up from CCVS or from Hunts Forum
  3. Join our Volunteer Managers Network and meet others who manage volunteers. This group meets quarterly to discuss different issues and to share their experience. More info from the Support Cambridgeshire website


We have to be happy that volunteers are giving some positive responses – 92% very or fairly satisfied with their volunteering. This is true for traditional in person volunteering and for those doing remote volunteering. But this has dropped from 96% in 2019.

We can’t simply hope things will improve again when the crisis ends. We have to find ways to get more people to volunteer, look at how we embed volunteering as the ‘normal’ thing to do, and wake up to the fact that more than half the problem is us in the voluntary sector.


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.

DCMS invited to join Vision for Volunteering

For those who attended the Vision for a Volunteering event, which was part of the Connecting Communities Conference 2022, you might be interested to see the report which was featured in the latest DCMS email bulletin where it stated:

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Charities and Volunteering

On 14 June, Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society, Nigel Huddleston, was invited to speak at the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Charities and Volunteering on the launch of the Vision for Volunteering, a sector-led initiative setting an ambitious direction for volunteering for the next ten years.

Minister Huddleston thanked the lead organisations, highlighting the role of volunteering, and talked about how crucial volunteers are to many sectors.

The Minister was delighted to accept the invitation for DCMS to join the formal Vision for Volunteering governance structure and DCMS look forward to continuing to provide support in realising this vision.

Feedback from the Connecting Communities Conference 2022

In June 2022, the Connecting Communities Conference took place, an annual volunteering event which aims to upskill and broaden the conversation around volunteering and volunteer management. This year it took place over three days, with one day hosting two face-to-face workshops in Huntingdon and March. The other two event formats were similar, with speakers being brought in to discuss their topic, followed by questions. Tuesday’s event focused on the Vision for Volunteering, a national concept developed by a collective of national bodies. Then on Thursday, we welcomed a speaker from Bates and Wells. They talked about Volunteering and the Law.

All events were well received, with polls at the end of Tuesday’s event showing that out of the twenty-seven who completed the poll, 81% were either satisfied or very satisfied. With the poll launched on Thursday, 100% stated they had enjoyed the event and learnt something new in that session.

Following the events, a general feedback form was sent out to all who attended one or more events. Thank you to all those who attended and completed the feedback form. Below you can see an infographic of some of the feedback received.

Moving to 2023, it is clear that a format which includes face-to-face and online presentations is required. Some highlighted more time to network, and one person wanted us to include success stories of organisations. Others stated they wanted more of the same or to ensure we continued to bring in speakers with specialities. All feedback will be taken into consideration for the next event.

If you have any topics, you would like us to cover next , please do get in contact with us via info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk


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.

Managing Volunteers – a package of support

Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) is dedicated to supporting innovation in patient care at the Addenbrooke’s and Rosie hospitals. We are the only registered charity dedicated to supporting innovation in patient care across Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.


Thanks to the immensely generous support of our donors, Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals can provide a level of patient care beyond that which can be delivered by NHS funding alone and make projects happen sooner or to a greater degree than might have otherwise been possible.

ACT have a team of dedicated volunteers who often give their time to say thank you for the care they experienced at our hospitals. Their roles include, Fundraising Volunteers, who help to raise awareness of ACT, in their communities and/or the hospital as well as Office Volunteers, who support us with administration tasks.

This case study has been written by the new Volunteer Coordinator.

The need

My role as Volunteer Coordinator is new for ACT. I joined a year and a half ago and got in touch with the CCVS for support in re-envisioning how ACT involve volunteers and to put in place a formal volunteer programme.
The ACT volunteer team at the Chariots of Fire race 2019

What was done

The CCVS have supported ACT in developing its volunteer programme through the Volunteer Management forums, training and 1-on-1 advice. The Volunteer Manager Forums have provided a welcoming environment to talk to others in similar roles to myself as well as giving a valuable opportunity to learn from how they work with their volunteers. In addition, I have attended training sessions, in-person and online, on topics such as volunteer recruitment, supervision skills and legal issues. This has helped to build my knowledge base and develop a reference library of good practice guidance, that I can
share with colleagues and use on a regular basis. Finally, and importantly, being able to ask for expert advice from the CCVS on a 1-on-1 basis, is extremely helpful. The team have always provided informed and considered feedback quickly and professionally and this has been invaluable when working on bigger projects, such as putting in place the charity’s first Volunteer Policy.

The Impact/change 

The CCVS has helped ACT put in place a supportive supervision structure for our volunteers, introduce a Volunteer Policy and has given me greater confidence in championing the need for a considered approach to volunteer recruitment and management. ACT is now able to grow and extend the reach of the volunteer team whilst having a structure in place that ensures existing volunteers are valued and provided with development opportunities.


“The support and quality of training provided by the CCVS, whilst developing and delivering ACT’s volunteer programme, has been exceptionally helpful and of great support. It’s wonderful to feel part of a wider team through the Volunteer Manager Forums and the training has enabled me to make informed recommendations to colleagues and implement positive change. I am also extremely grateful for the additional support offered since the Covid-19 pandemic. This has helped me in my approach to communicating with our volunteer team, whilst physically dispersed, as well as reminding me to maintain an awareness of my own wellbeing when working under difficult circumstances.
Thank you CCVS!”


September 2020

To download this case study click here

ACT volunteer management support sc logo

Volunteers needed for Vaccination Programme

The CCG continue to recruit volunteer staff to support the biggest and fastest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS. They have asked that the VCS share the below information with their communities.


There is an urgent need for volunteer stewards (RVS) and volunteer unregistered vaccinators (St Johns Ambulance) locally to support the vaccine programme.


Stewards help and guide people at vaccination sites – this could be at a GP Vaccination Hub, a Large Scale Vaccination Centre, or at Pharmacy vaccination sites.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the steward role is asked to sign up via the Royal Voluntary Service website.  Volunteers are asked to commit to at least 2 shifts at a vaccination site each month. Shifts are up to 4 hours long.

Once registered (takes approx. 48 hours) volunteers will be notified of available shifts via text and email alerts.  Volunteers are then able to confirm which shifts they are able to do.

All vaccination sites (GP hubs, Vaccination Centres and Pharmacies) will advertise their available shifts through the Royal Voluntary Service website.

A DBS is not required for this role, although volunteers will be asked to declare any unspent convictions as part of the application process.

Unregistered vaccinators

Anyone interested in volunteering for the unregistered vaccinators is asked to complete the ‘expression of interest’ on the St Johns Ambulance website.  Unregistered vaccinators administer vaccines under clinical supervision – these roles require training and assessment.

Volunteers can sign up for both options if they choose to do so.

Connecting Communities 2021

It’s that time again for the annual Connecting Communities conference, a time to bring a range of good practices and thoughts together to talk about volunteering across the county.

This year’s theme is Volunteer Management and how the voluntary and community sector can move forwards from the past year. The event is hosted online, and as with last year’s conference, each day we will be taking on a different format and theme.

Redesigning Recruitment

Tuesday 8 June // 10:00 – 11:30 am // Zoom Webinar

The first day will revolve around Redesigning Recruitment, looking at how organisations have taken the traditional format and mixed it up a little. We have speakers from The British Red Cross, Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and FoodCycle Cambridge.

To Book: connectingcommunities2021day1.eventbrite.co.uk

Reviewing Retention

Wednesday 9 June // 10:00 – 11:30 am // Zoom Meeting

On Wednesday, we will be welcoming Rob Jackson, a well respected expert on volunteer management, to talk to us about Reviewing Retention in our organisation. This event will be a presentation followed by breakout rooms with questions and reflections from Rob.

To Book: connectingcommunities2021day2.eventbrite.co.uk

Re-examining Volunteering

Thursday 10 June // 1:00- 2:30 pm // Zoom Webinar

Finally, we end the conference on Thursday with a general panel hot topic discussion. We welcome Laura Hamilton, a Volunteer Management Consultant, who will chair a panel of local voluntary and third sector speakers, discussing the topic, Can we make volunteering a realistic option for everyone?

To Book: connectingcommunities2021day3.eventbrite.co.uk

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