At Riverside, our commitment is to create meaningful volunteer opportunities that benefit our customers, the communities where they live and the services we provide. On International Volunteering Day, our National Volunteering Manager, Lee Bailey, looks back at the way the service has developed over the last 12 months.
In April, after months of working with staff across the country, we successfully launched a new Volunteer Involvement Process. This new, simplified system vastly reduces the amount of time spent on paperwork to get volunteers on board. The new process has also made a positive impact, as in a year the number of people volunteering their time with us has increased from 65 to 107.
Volunteers’ Month took place in June and provided an opportunity to shine a light on the great volunteering work taking place across the country and publicise the many positive outcomes for our customers. During the month we also encouraged local staff teams to use their two days of paid volunteering leave to support customers and services in their area. I was delighted with the response from staff across the group and amazed to see that more staff volunteering days were taken in June than the whole of the previous year.
Since then as part of Riverside’s 90th birthday year of celebrations, staff volunteering has continued to increase momentum with the Year of Making a Difference project. I’m thrilled to see staff from right across the Group come together to visit other parts of the business, learn about the range of services that we provide and meet customers who benefit from them.
Our Retirement Living service provides accommodation and assistive technology for tenants aged 55 and over and has seen an increase in the amount of volunteering with the introduction of the Community Buddy role. By signing up volunteers to this role, we are reaching out to our socially isolated customers and providing a friendly face to drop in for a cup of tea and a chat on a regular basis.
I’m really proud of what we have achieved over the last 12 months and it’s been extremely rewarding to see how colleagues have embraced the positive impact that volunteering brings.
I’ve also enjoyed seeing an increase in the amount of volunteering opportunities that have been created for people who have experienced sleeping rough. The Street Buddies programme has continued to go from strength to strength in Westminster, Doncaster and in Manchester where new volunteer roles are being created to actively tackle and reduce homelessness.
Looking forward, the next 12 months hold some great opportunities to further develop and improve our volunteering offer, and to increase our presence both inside and outside of Riverside.
This is an exciting time for volunteering and we’re always on the lookout for people to get involved. If you have some ideas for staff to help make a difference or would like more information on how to get involved, then email [email protected].