Skilled Volunteering Update
Posted: 3 September 2020
SKC’s Skilled Volunteering Service
Working hard to find Kent charities skilled volunteers
We’ve been busy during lockdown, promoting skilled volunteering opportunities with Kent employers and with national schemes such as Furlonteer as well as encouraging Kent voluntary and community groups to let us know about their volunteering needs. Georgie MacFarlan, who coordinates the service, tells us what’s been happening…
Where are we now?
We have over 30 volunteering tasks and roles underway right now and more completed, with very positive feedback from charities and volunteers, including Wye Community Farm, who commented on their social media volunteer:
“She was great. A whole load of input and suggestions after doing a huge amount of research for us.”
While Emma, who volunteered at Dartford Healthy Living Centre, said:
“I’ve found it really rewarding, both for the charity and for myself – I really wanted to help during furlough and Sharon at HLC has made me feel so welcome!”
What have we been up to in lockdown?
It has been a very busy few months for SKC’s Skilled Volunteering Service.
During the past three years, there has been a gradual move away from unskilled group volunteering, with a growing realisation that skilled volunteering, although smaller in numbers of volunteers, tends to have bigger impact for the organisation and volunteer.
Then, with the advent of COVID, all group volunteering had to cease and skilled volunteering came even more to the fore – with its ability to be carried out remotely and flexibly in many instances.
We are delighted to report that we have connected with nearly 100 Kent charities and other not for profit groups, working out their skilled volunteering needs and sharing over 150 volunteering opportunities with potential volunteers, with the aim of matching them with a suitable role.
Charities and groups currently benefiting from skilled volunteers include Arts in Ramsgate, Aspens, Child’s Vision, Communigrow, Dads Unlimited, Dover SmART, Leas Pavilion Archive, Relate Kent, Rewrite Your Story, Sevenoaks Samaritans, Sheerness East Youth Football Club, Spirit of Care and wHoo Peninsula Cares.
A number of charities have been matched with more than one skilled volunteer, offering a more rounded service to meet their needs. For example, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support Services have been matched with a virtual facilitator, video editor and garden designer. And Sevenoaks Samaritans have been matched with ongoing finance and IT volunteers.
We have had an influx of volunteers – some from local employers and many who were furloughed or simply looking to do something meaningful and interesting during lock down.
The good news is that the volunteers are still getting in touch and wanting to find out how they can use their skills; we currently have nearly 80 volunteers either volunteering or considering volunteering opportunities. Volunteers range from HR, IT, legal and finance professionals to those with digital marketing, business development and admin skills. Some volunteers are experienced trainers, who are offering virtual training sessions for Kent charities to access.
A rewarding role
It is great to see the difference these skilled volunteers make and the satisfaction they get from helping out.
They are using skills, they might take for granted, that are extremely useful to organisations either short of time or lacking that particular skill.
This service enables highly skilled people to volunteer, who might not have the time for traditional ongoing volunteering roles.
It is great seeing charities and community groups thinking about what small skilled tasks they have, as well as ongoing roles, that perhaps someone else could do for them, freeing them up to do other things.
It is a shift in thinking about what volunteering looks like, and it’s one that makes volunteering more accessible to skilled professionals.
Get in touch
So, if you are an organisation in need of skilled volunteers or someone with skills who would like to volunteer with a Kent charity, then please do get in touch.