So you want to volunteer?

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A short presentation regarding entering into volunteer work (was presented to a group of people with mental health dificulties)

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  • You and why you are here, have you done volunteering before??
  • Spend 5 mins thinking about the benefits of volunteering. Something new – Risk free way of trying something out, developing an existing skill or interest or simply trying out something completely new. Good introduction – If you have been out of work for a time its useful to try some volunteer work, you can usually negotiate your hours, you are not bogged down by contractual obligations and you don’t have the pressure that comes with a paid permenant job, esp if at this time you feel that paid work is a bridge too far. Good for future prospects – It’s a start in the right direction, volunteering enables you to get back on the work trail, it doesn’t mean you have to follow a route into paid work though, a lot of people are just happy volunteering, everyones reasons for volunteering will differ – My experience. Sense of satisfaction – Without a doubt one its greatest attributes is the sense of well being it can have on you, if you are working with people, helping in a way that makes a difference it can be fulfilling, more fulfilling than working in a supermarket or life on the treadmill. Confidence and self esteem – Another knock on effect, can make you feel good about yourself, could even contribute to having better mental health, if it makes you feel good, happy, purposeful etc. Meeting people – The unwritten really, its always underestimated as one of the best benefits, but if you are a bit isolated, don’t have a huge network volunteering can help in meeting new people, some people you might get on with, become friends with, go out for a drink with etc. Helping the community – A lot of voluntary work has a community focus, non profit making organisations, this links us to our next question…
  • We all have skills, sometimes we think we don’t have that much to offer, our skills might seem limited, but I would argue these are much wider and varied than you’d first think. Complete the sheet – and then if people feel comfortable they might want to share some of the skills they have. Why did we do the task? – We are in a fierce economy these days, we know employers need skill sets and people with the right experience, but employers also want transferrable skills. Take my friend, hes a lifeguard, now you might think lifeguard, well he saves people if they get in trouble or simply tells kids to stop chucking themselves in the pool dangerously, that’s right, but look deeper at that…..supervisory skills, maintaining a safe environment, first aid skills, communication skills, listening skills, need a focus and good attention skills, writing skills – accidents and incidents, people skills,
  • Again, spend another 5 mins list the types of areas and then another list with all the positions might be available Example – Working with animals Position might be ‘dog walker’ Help you identify here are some leaflets……
  • Retail assistants – working in a shop, on a till, maybe customer service. Sales, merchandising. Support worker – elderly, mh problems, learning disabilities, children and young people. Offenders, people with drug and alochol problems. Carer – Care and Support are 2 very different things, carers normally either work in a residenial setting or in the persons own home and do things they may not be able to do. Wash dishes, cook, personal care also Support workers work usually with people in supported housing and support with things like mental health, filling in forms, dealing with housing agencies, help with accommodation, advice and guidance, working towards independence. Advocate - Volunteer advocates work with people who, find it difficult to speak up and are in danger of being excluded from decision making. These are people who are facing issues or life changes and who have no one independent to support them. The advocate helps them to find information and explore options. It can involve supporting someone at meetings or helping them with phone calls or letters. Supervisor – Might involve supporting he day to day running of a service, stock taking, money handling, overseeing over volunteers. Gardener – weeding, tending to flower beds, planting, digging, maybe working on a plot, helping others to garden. Advisor – Interviewing, giving advice, asking questions, using the telephone, keeping records, using email etc . e.g CAB Treasurer – working with financial systems, book keeping, record keeping, would have to have a decent level of numeracy.
  • No - Volunteering shouldn’t affect your right to benefits, as long as the only money you receive is to cover your volunteering expenses, some people pay expenses others don’t. No limits - There are no limits on the amount of time you can volunteer for as long as you continue to meet the conditions of the benefit or tax credit you are receiving. Jobseekers Allowance - you must still be actively seeking a full-time job, able to attend job interviews at 48 hours notice and available to work at one week’s notice. Income Support – will not affect this as long as you are not receiving money other than reimbursed expenses Incapacity Benefit / ESA – People worry about any volunteer work triggering a medical review under incapacity, this seldom happens. Claimaints on ESA can volunteer, reasoanble expenses can also be claimed ( travel / meals etc ). Other - Job Centre or Benefits advice helpines can advise about other benefits. The local council (for benefits such as Council Tax and Housing Benefit ) some information says you should speak to your HB office about volunteer expenses. If you choose not be paid for any work you do this is not the same as volunteering. The wage you would normally receive could be counted as ‘notional earnings’. Can affect benefits.
  • Procedures – Obviously if things arent working out and you have a complaint then the best advice is to sort it out initially with your employer, supervisor etc, if it cannot be resolved you still can make a compliant however volunteers are not covered under the organisations greviance procedures, this is down to the fact that there will be contract of employment, however, you are covered under health and safety and data protection.
  • On line - You can search thousands of opportunities and apply online using the do-it.org database. You select the type of volunteering you are interested in and enter your postcode for a list of opportunities in your area. Volunteer Centre – Address Library – Often there are leaflets, info that will point you in the right direction.
  • So you want to volunteer?

    1. 1. So you want tovolunteer?
    2. 2. Introductions Me You
    3. 3. Objectives  Identify the reasons why you want to volunteer  Examine what skills you have  Determine the kind of jobs that might be available  Consider whether volunteering affects your welfare benefits  Identify where to look for suitable vacancies
    4. 4. Why volunteer? Chance to try something new Good introduction to getting back into work Good for future job prospects Sense of satisfaction and achievement Boosts confidence and self esteem Meeting people Helping the community
    5. 5. What skills have I got? Fill in the sheet! Why???
    6. 6. What kind of jobs might beavailable? Different volunteer ‘areas’ Different volunteer ‘positions’
    7. 7. Volunteer ‘areas’ Animals Art and Culture Working with children Youth work Working with people ( adults ) Health, hospitals, hospices Museums, heritage and Parks Conservation Sport and leisure Music Education / Adult Learning Shop work
    8. 8. Volunteer ‘positions’ Retail assistant Support worker Carer Advocate Supervisor Gardener Advisor Treasurer Administrator Designer Coach Driver Trustee Fundraiser
    9. 9. Experiences
    10. 10. Does volunteering affect your benefits? No No limits Job Seekers Allowance Income Support Incapacity Benefit / ESA Other
    11. 11. Your rights! Procedures
    12. 12. Where do I look for volunteering opportunities? On line http://www.do-it.org Volunteer Centre: Allatt House, 5 West Parade, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO12 5ED 01723 362205 Library Community projects

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