Volunteering

Promoting voluntary action is central to all we do at SVS. As Southampton’s Volunteer Centre, our work on volunteering is organised on two fronts. Firstly, connecting the public to the city’s volunteering opportunities with a host of different organisations. And secondly, supporting organisations and Volunteer Managers in best practice on all aspects of volunteer involvement. Alongside this we also raise the profile of volunteering across the city with volunteer celebration events, volunteer fairs and attendance at other exhibitions and events to discuss the benefits of volunteering to the public.

Major achievements of the year have included the development of an in-house online volunteer brokerage system.  This is enabling us to accurately track volunteer enquiries, subsequent placement outcomes and equalities monitoring data in a far more sophisticated way, which is in turn enabling us to better target our efforts.  As well as increasing our effectiveness, the system is also driving efficiency and saving time.

We are also delighted to have been re-awarded the NCVO Volunteer Centre Quality Accreditation, highlighting our commitment to nationally recognised best practice standards.  SVS is currently the only volunteer centre in Hampshire to hold this accreditation, which is a great achievement for our organisation.

Why Volunteer?

People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. For some, it is the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of others, or to give something back to their community.  Other people choose to volunteer to get new experiences and gain new skills, or to use their existing skills and knowledge in a meaningful way.

Becoming a volunteer also provides people with the opportunity to:

  • Build Confidence
  • Do Something Positive with your Spare Time
  • Gain Work Experience/Improve your CV
  • Give back to the community
  • Improve the environment around you
  • Help other people
  • Learn or try new things
  • Meet new people/make new friends
  • Use your Skills
  • Get to know your local community

Supported Volunteering

At Southampton Voluntary Services we recognise that some individuals require support, either in their volunteering opportunity or in finding an opportunity which meets their needs. We aim to provide these individuals with support to assist them in identifying volunteering opportunities which meet their skills, availability and their needs, to remove any barriers into volunteering. If you would like to speak to a member of the team, we can provide you details of when you can come in for a one-to-one appointment to look at volunteering opportunities.

It can also be an opportunity to look at; accessibility of volunteering spaces, any reasonable adjustments which may need to be in place, more flexible options to volunteering. We work on a one-to-one basis to negotiate a suitable volunteer placement and can offer guidance around barriers such as; problems with drugs or alcohol or a criminal history.

Volunteering will enhance skills to find employment and references, build networks and create a routine as a model for employment. Learning needs, childcare, health and low morale can all be assisted by volunteering and there is often a chance to gain training.

To find out when our next drop-in service for one-to-one appointments is, please contact the Volunteering Team on (02380) 216002

Supporting someone into volunteering?

If you are supporting someone and think that volunteering would be beneficial to them then we can help you look at the options. However before embarking on a volunteering journey there are a few things that need to be considered. You can use our Volunteer Charter as a talking point to help start considering some practical elements when it comes to volunteering. Click here to view our Supporting Someone resource.

Employer Supported Volunteering

All over England people volunteer with the help of their employer. Some employers run formal employer supported volunteering programmes, others free up time for employees to do their own volunteering. Whatever form it takes, employer supported volunteering (ESV) is on the up and up, because volunteering by employees makes a big difference – both to the organisations where they volunteer, and to the organisations that employ them.

CSR Days
CSR Days (or Corporate Social Responsibility Days) are a day when a team from a company go out to work on a project for a day for a charity or community group. Before committing your team to a CSR day there are some important points to think about, the Volunteer Team at Southampton Voluntary Services can help match you up with an organisation so that everybody benefits from the experience.

  • Does the whole team want to take part? For some people the idea of a large outdoor project is the last thing they want to do, they may have health conditions that would stop them from taking part. If they feel that they are forced to take part (or excluded from the event) may cause a negative impact. It is important to talk to the whole team and give them a confidential way to express their feelings about the day - look into alternatives for those who do not want to take part.
  • Do any of your team currently volunteer? They may wish to use their day to support an organisation they are already supporting.
  • What are your skills? Some group opportunities may not require any specific skills - for example clearing an area of land. But before deciding to build/mend/fix something know that you are to do this safely & competently with minimal supervision.
  • Think long term. Although a CSR day has benefits all round can you extend this by building a long term relationship with an organisation – a lot of groups will need long term support and as well as your CSR day, could they be your charity of the year? With fundraising and support throughout the year. This is not only a great way to build morale with staff but will have a long lasting effect on your local community.

Is a full day out of the office the way to go? Looking at the top three questions, it may be worth looking at alternative ways of using the CSR hours given to you by your employer. It may be that you could use your skills to help an organisation from your office.

  • Could your team provide administrative support from their own desks for an hour a week?
  • Could you let staff make a befriending phone call on a Friday afternoon?
  • Are you a marketing, finance or strategic team that could provide specialist support & work on a project for an organisation?

If you would like to look into the options of CSR days – please have a look at our group page to see what groups are currently looking for teams to get involved.

Hold a Volunteer Fair
We can also help you get your staff involved, if you have the space to invite different charities to come into your offices you could hold a volunteer fair! Employees can come down on their lunch break and look at different ways they can get involved. As your local Volunteer Centre we can put you in touch with local organisations and help you with logistics for the day.

Need More Information
You can contact the Volunteer Team at Southampton Voluntary Services by email – Volunteer@southamptonvs.org.uk or calling us on 02380 216 002 and we can help discuss your options. Southampton is also currently receiving support from Business in the Community and has a dedicated A Business Connector who is seconded out of business for a period of 12 months to help form links and ongoing relationships between local business and the voluntary sector. Our previous Business Connector has just returned to his post and we are awaiting details of our next Connector. Check back here for updated details or contact us and we will let the next connector know that you would like to discuss this option with them when they are available.

Information for Voluntary and Community Groups

Before taking on Employer Supported Volunteering you should consider what you would like the Business to do for your organisation, what will the role involve? Not only this but consider the capacity of your organisation and whether it is able to take such a project on.

Volunteering England has some useful information on Employee Supported Volunteering including case studies and best practice guides. To access this Click here.

If you would like to form an ongoing relationship with a business, or you have a project you would like us to advertise, please contact the volunteer team either via phone or email.

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