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Hi Matthew,
I am part of an Our Place team looking at our community as a whole and how we can become a more self reliant neighbourhood, I will be looking to recruit lots of volunteers into our projects and understand the difficulties in finding great volunteers and then retaining them.

I have been running our Job Club for 18 months and have an amazing team of 10 volunteers, we hold meetings every 4 months (as you say it is tricky to get everyone together) I usually hold them straight after a job club session and I provide lunch as an incentive to stay on, maybe you could provide tea after the after school club?

I also quickly assessed the strengths in the volunteer team and have quietly given people extra responsibilities, eg we have a Head volunteer, ensuring they have someone to go and discuss issues with if I am not there, we have a volunteer who makes sure all the administration is done, photocopying, updating our boards etc, an ex policeman looks at our security and I always ask him to have a read through new forms and data sharing documents, a youth volunteers that all the young people really gel with and I turn to him for ideas of new ways of working, a networker – the volunteer I can rely on to tell people we exist. Anyway you get the idea. I ask them to contribute at the meetings if there is anything they feel needs to be addressed – therefore giving a sense of ownership of the project.

Once weekly, and every time we have a success I send around an email to the team updating them on what’s happened that week, I am lucky all my volunteers are really IT friendly, however you could look at a one sheet update every few weeks.

For the new projects, I am putting together (nearly there now – yeah) a volunteer handbook and half day training to cover all about the projects in Martock, volunteering opportunities, safeguarding, boundaries, who to go to for support etc, we felt this would start everyone off with the same training and then they can go off to individual projects for specific role training. Following on from this there will be a volunteer peer support type group on the last Friday of every month. Tea and cake and a chance to talk to other volunteers.

Sorry I have gone on a bit – but hope some of that is helpful.
Good Luck with your projects