How did you begin your career in volunteer management?
It all started at Abbeyfield. I have many personal experiences of the benefits that volunteering can bring to organisations and individuals. I knew a member of Abbeyfield staff as I lived in St Albans and, when the opportunity arose to work for Abbeyfield and the volunteering team, I was delighted to be able to help with the recruitment and management of our volunteers.
What is a typical day like for you?
My priority is to deal with new applications. We receive a number of expressions of interest from potential volunteers on a daily basis and I know from experience how important it is to send a prompt reply and to establish what type of role they would like to perform. Other daily tasks might involve arranging training for new volunteers, dealing with enquiries about volunteer induction such as DBS checks and placing advertisements for new volunteers.
What is the best part of your job?
Receiving positive feedback from house and care home managers about new volunteers. It’s always great to hear about the wonderful contributions they are making.
What are some of the biggest challenges that you face?
Without doubt, the biggest challenge has been getting back on track following the lockdown periods. Covid has had a big impact on volunteering and we are currently in a recovery phase as we strive to increase our volunteer numbers.
For those looking to advertise, what makes a good volunteering role?
No role is off the books. If there is a need for the role to be performed then volunteers can be great assets and will bring passion, energy and sometimes unexpected talents and community connections to your team.
What has been your favourite part of working for Abbeyfield so far?
It would have to be working with my colleagues in the marketing team. We all get on well and support each other. However, the best bits have been our volunteering days. We have formed a gardening team and it has been great fun getting out and about helping to improve some of Abbeyfield’s gardens. It’s also a wonderful teambuilding exercise. I would recommend that other teams plan a volunteering day and I would be happy to help with any arrangements!
What’s new with volunteering at Abbeyfield?
There have been a couple of developments that are looking really interesting. I have registered us for The Big Help Out, a volunteering initiative in support of the King’s Coronation, and have recruited some volunteers to help with our celebrations. I hope that some of them will decide to help out on a long-term basis. I have also recently been in discussion with a company that arranges volunteering opportunities for corporate clients. They are seeking volunteers for projects throughout the UK and I hope to include Abbeyfield in their plans for the future.