June 2, 2015 at 9:57 am #10802
Today’s Volunteers’ Week chat will take place here and we’ll be chatting about volunteering in community projects.
If you’re able to join us then please log in and join in the discussion. If you’d like to leave a question in the thread if you can’t join us during the live session then please do, and we’ll include it in the chat.
We’ll be kicking off at 1pm so we’ll see you then!
GemmaJune 2, 2015 at 10:11 am #10803
Thanks for this. It would be great to see lots of parish councillors who are volunteers joining in this week’s forum chats.
Chris (NALC)June 2, 2015 at 12:59 pm #10804
Hello, and welcome to Tuesday’s Volunteers’ Week chat.
Today we’re going to be chatting to Sandra about her project and volunteering.
If anyone has any questions at any point, just send them in and we’ll do our best to answer them for you – or if you want to share your experiences, just let us know!June 2, 2015 at 1:09 pm #10805
Good to join you.June 2, 2015 at 1:10 pm #10806
Thanks very much for chatting to us today.
Just to start us off, would you be able to tell us a little bit about your project in case people aren’t aware of it?June 2, 2015 at 1:14 pm #10807
Yes I will Gemma.
Four years ago a group of four mums formed The Friends of Hopwood Park to improve our local green space which was suffering from neglect. Initially our aim was to find funds improve the play facilities for the children on the park which we achieved but things snowballed from there and we have grown from a small group of 4 to a large team of volunteers who arrange many community events and initiate projects to improve the space for the benefit of the whole community.June 2, 2015 at 1:16 pm #10808
Sounds like an amazing project, and very busy I should imagine!
How did you go about recruiting volunteers and getting people involved?June 2, 2015 at 1:22 pm #10809
It wasn’t easy at first to recruit volunteers, but as people started to see the benefits and the progress we were making they started to take an interest in what we were doing. We are really keen on involving youngsters since they are the next generation who will now take pride in what they have been involved in. We use social media to ask for help from volunteers, and we try to show the benefits of volunteering ie., a way of learning news skills or teaching skills to others, or offering something that will benefit others. We try to match our volunteers with their skills and talents in order for them to get the most out of the experience which seems to work well. This means that you have to get to know your volunteers well and make them feel appreciated.June 2, 2015 at 1:25 pm #10810
This sounds great, and really shows the different ways that people can attract volunteers and show them how valued they are.
What did you find were the main challenges to getting people involved? Did you have to change your approach to recruiting people, or did it just happen naturally once the project was up and running?June 2, 2015 at 1:29 pm #10811
Recruiting volunteers did come naturally but there is always a lull if you don’t keep up the momentum. Our regular community events always attract new visitors and keeps the interest going. We use social media an awful lot not just around event times but all the time showing reviews of what we have done and the progress we have made. We try to target new groups of people that have not necessarily been involved before and link up with other organisations and charities. We are soon to host a fashion show together with Cancer Research UK (Heywood) which will promote the work of both charities and show how working together can be good for both parties.June 2, 2015 at 1:31 pm #10812
Great ideas, and working in partnership with other charities and organisations is brilliant.
So, finally, after all your experience, what advice would you give to others wanting to recruit volunteers to help with a community project?June 2, 2015 at 1:35 pm #10813
The best advice I could give is don’t give up, promote what you are doing as best you can and you will find people of like minds who want to genuinely help and be involved. Highlight the benefits of volunteering and emphasise the benefit to the volunteer not just the cause. Use all the avenues of advertisement you can, local newspapers, social media, go and chat to local schools, nurseries, businesses, retirement homes etc. Advertising is the key!!
June 2, 2015 at 1:40 pm #10815
- This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by Sandra.
Thanks Sandra, brilliant advice and a perfect way to end today’s chat as we’re just out of time.
Thank you so much for joining us today and giving us the benefit of all your experience – and good luck with the fashion show; let us know how it goes!
If anyone wants to know more about Sandra’s project, or any aspect of volunteering then just drop us a line and we’ll get back to you asap, or join us tomorrow if you’re free for another insight into volunteering and community projects.
See you tomorrow
GemmaJune 2, 2015 at 1:41 pm #10816
It’s been great to chat and hopefully encourage others to take the plunge to volunteer which can be so rewarding!
Thanks for inviting me along.
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