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New volunteer handbook 2013

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  • 1. Volunteer Handbook A guide for volunteers at YouthNet
  • 2. Welcome “On behalf of everyone at YouthNet, welcome and thank you for volunteering with us. Your hard work is vital to making a difference to the lives of young people who come to YouthNet for support. We wouldn’t be able to reach or support as many young people, were it not for people like you, who give up their time to help others. We really want you to feel part of the team and get the most out of your time volunteering with us at YouthNet. So I’d really encourage you to ask questions, make suggestions and find out more about what everyone does here. We’d also value your feedback as well, so we can work hard to ensure everyone who volunteers with YouthNet has a positive experience.” Emma Thomas, Chief Executive In this handbook you will find… • Who we are and what we do • The essentials • Our volunteer agreement • Meet the staff and volunteers • The benefits of your volunteering
  • 3. YouthNet is the UK’s leading online charity, providing advice, information and support to young people aged 16 to 25 and was founded by Martyn Lewis CBE in 1995. We provide emotional support to young people through online advice and guidance, and help them give back by providing a fast, easy route to all types of volunteering. YouthNet is the charity behind TheSite, an online guide to life for 16-25 year olds. You can read more about Youthnet on the Volunteers network here or visit www.youthnet.org Who We Are
  • 4. TheSite.org There’s only one way to get to know what we do - visit TheSite and see it in action! The Discussion Boards are an safe moderated space where young people can talk about anything with their peers. Look at over 2000 articles, blogs, videos on everything from job seeking, housing, mental health and more. Ask a Question is TheSite’s expert answer and question service. With experts from Shelter, Brook, CAB, SANE and many more we can answer any question a young person might have. Our Live chats are open 4 times a week giving young people a space to talk about anything’s that on their mind. We run expert chats once a month, where young people can ask an expert any question on a specific subject in real time.
  • 5. Induction If you’re office based your volunteer manager will meet with you to give you an induction. If you’re a virtual volunteer, your induction will take place via email, over the phone or through the online community. You can start your induction here once you’ve signed up to the Volunteers Network. The essentials While you’re with us Training and Support We want to ensure all of our volunteers feel supported and adequately trained to carry out their role to the best of their ability. You will be supported throughout your volunteering by your volunteer manager. They will regularly check in to see how you’re getting along and if there’s anything else you’d like to do whilst volunteering with us. We offer training tailored to your role and encourage all volunteers to complete our online training Essentials Skills for Online Support. Please speak to your volunteer manager if you feel you would benefit from any other additional training. Expenses YouthNet will reimburse reasonable expenses – see our appendix for the full list.  Travel costs and lunch if you’re office based  Phone or internet costs if you’re a virtual volunteer.  You will find a copy of our expenses form on the network – your manager will help you fill it in.
  • 6. Worried? Don’t bottle it up. At YouthNet we encourage open dialogue and want to do our best to ensure you are in a role that you feel comfortable and happy with. If you encounter any difficulties whilst volunteering with us please speak to your volunteer manager. For example, if you feel the role isn’t right for you, or you don’t understand what you’ve been asked to do. If you ever feel the work your set is unrealistic or not suitable for yourself, please let your volunteer manager or someone else know. If you do not feel able to speak to your volunteer manager please approach either: Laura Owen (Volunteering Development Manager) laura.owen@youthnet.org Jade Stapleton (Central Services Director) jade.stapleton@youthnet.org References We’re happy to give references – please speak to your volunteer manager. For us to give you a reference you’ll need to have volunteered for a reasonable amount of time. The essentials While you’re with us Make the most of your time here • Always let your volunteer manager know if you can’t make your regular shift • Make sure you join the Volunteers network to get involved and stay connected with us and other volunteers • Keep a log of what you do every week- this will help heaps when you come to write CV’s or applications • Commit a regular time each week/month for your volunteering, with an amount that you can manage. • Keep in touch with your volunteer manager- what do you enjoy, what don’t you, if there’s any other ways you’d like to be involved etc. Chill out, chat, meet people! Every Friday afternoon from 4.30pm is Wine club at YouthNet’s head office near Old Street, London. If you’re in the area please do drop in to unwind for an hour with other volunteers and staff. It’s our chance to say thanks and for you to meet us. Just let us know you are coming so we can welcome you.
  • 7. Connect with your fellow volunteers All YouthNet volunteers can connect to each other and us through the Volunteer Network. You’ll be able to chat to one another and read the latest news from YouthNet HQ via our online network. The essentials While you’re with us Take a look at our “Finding your way around” discussion to get you started on the network.
  • 8. Health & Safety YouthNet’s volunteers are covered by our Health & Safety policy in the same way that our staff are. Please see the appendix to read the policy in full. DBS Checks (formerly known as CRB) If your role involves directly working with young people it may be necessary for you to complete a DBS check. This is part of our safeguarding procedure and your volunteer manager will speak to you about this before or during your induction. Equality & Diversity YouthNet is firmly committed to diversity in all areas of our work, we only accept volunteers based on their suitability for the role for which they apply. Please take time to read our Equality & Diversity Policy in the appendix. The essentials Legal stuff Confidentiality YouthNet volunteers need to maintain the confidentiality of information gained through their work with YouthNet. You can take a look at the policy in the Appendix for guidance on how to do this.
  • 9. What you can expect of us…. •To agree with you, your voluntary role •To provide the information and training you need to carry out your role with confidence •To provide support and supervision and support your development in the role •To appreciate the contribution you’re making to YouthNet •To ensure that you are reimbursed for expenses, as agreed •To provide references, where requested, and support with job search skills where appropriate Volunteering Agreement What we expect of you…. •To try to perform your volunteer role as agreed and to the best of your ability •To let us know as soon as you can if you’re unable to carry out any tasks or timings for your role •To read and stick to our Confidentiality, Diversity, General Behaviour and Health & Safety policies and procedures of YouthNet
  • 10. The work we do wouldn’t be possible without our volunteers across the UK. Read below about our volunteering roles and speak to your volunteer manager if you’re interested in getting involved in any of them. Discussion Board Moderators check on posts on TheSite’s boards to enhance advice and emotional support given to users. Live Chat Moderators facilitate and encourage peer to peer support in our live chat sessions which take place four times a week. Relationship Advisors answer relationship questions from young people through our Ask a Question service. They are supported by relationships experts throughout their training. TheSite Leaders are a group of 16-25 year olds who help shape the content and direction of TheSite. Through the online Leaders network they discuss and develop ideas to help young people. Photographers Volunteers share their photos to be used throughout YouthNet’s services, with the majority of their images used on the articles on TheSite. What our volunteers do Communication Champions are a group of 16-25 year olds who provide insights into young people’s opinions on employability in the UK, through live chats, blogs and sharing their employability stories the media. Commenting Moderators pre-moderate comments that come through on over the 2000 articles we have on TheSite. They make sure it fits our commenting policy and respond to users who have questions and are in need of guidance and support.
  • 11. Meet the Staff Here are the members of staff who work directly with volunteers and may be your volunteer manager. Visit YouthNet.org to Meet our staff and our Trustees Hi I’m Clare and I support our Relationship Advisors Hi I’m Laura B and I support our Photographer volunteers I’m Sean, I work with Helen supporting TheSite’s Leaders Hi I’m Helen! I support our Live Chat Moderators and TheSite’s Leaders I’m Jo and I look after our Board Moderators Hey, I’m Emma and I support our commenting mods Hey, I’m Katy and I look after our Communication Champions My name is Laura and I oversee volunteering at YouthNet
  • 12. As a volunteer you give your time and skills to benefit YouthNet and 16-25 year olds, but volunteering also benefits you too. The vinspired awards If you’re 16-25 you can start logging your volunteering hours to work towards a v10, v50 or v100 award through signing up to vinspired.com and going to the awards page. For more information about the vInspired awards and other accreditation schemes please visit the YouthNet Volunteers network. The benefits of volunteering Including Volunteering on your CV Having volunteering on your CV is just as important as paid work and qualifications. We’re sure that through volunteering with YouthNet you will have gained a wide range of skills that will stand out to potential employees. So what could these be? • Commitment of your time • Communication (particularly for moderators) • Ability to work with different groups of people (young, professional etc) And many more! Think about: what was my role? What were my duties? Remember to a include specific examples to back up your statements, well as any training you may have been given during your volunteering. If you’d like anymore guidance on how to communicate the benefits of your volunteering, please speak to your volunteering manager. For more guidance take a look on the Volunteers Network at the Making volunteering look great on your CV discussion.
  • 13. Appendix • Volunteer policy: outlines YouthNet’s vision for volunteering, how we work and the principles which drive this. • Health & Safety policy: outlines the health and safety procedures we have in place for staff, freelancers and volunteers whilst at work. • Equality & Diversity policy: outlines how YouthNet works to ensure equality and diversity at work and to our users. • Confidentiality policy: sets out how employees, freelancers and volunteers should maintain confidentiality of any information given to them during the course of their duties with YouthNet. • Email policy: sets out the proper use of YouthNet’s email system. • Expenses form: your volunteer manager will always be able to provide you with an expenses form. Here’s a copy for those of you that would like to familiarise yourself with one now.
  • 14. Thank you