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For decades, organisations working to support families have called upon the time, skills and expertise of volunteers. Volunteers often have a less formal relationship than professionals- they are not family support workers, medical professionals or experts; they are just people who want to give their time to help families and parents.
Family Lives has been working with volunteers in family support work for over thirty years and have used that experience to create this new resource. We have also undertaken desk research into the work of volunteers in children’s centres, run a short survey for volunteers working in several different organisations, run a parenting survey, run a practitioner focus group and collected examples and case studies of projects that support families.
This guide is designed to recognise and celebrate the work of volunteers in family support as well as help organisations and professionals work with volunteers in a well-managed and supportive way. Volunteers are not cost free and are not an alternative to paid staff. However, they are a way to augment existing staff time, improve reach and unlock the power of parents to support each other.
Why do people volunteer in family support work?
Thousands of people give up their time to support families.
What motivates them and what do they gain?
Why do family support services use volunteers?
Find out what volunteers bring to family support services
and why this is important.
What volunteer roles are available in family support?
What volunteers in family support do, how they support families
and what these opportunities mean.
How do you recruit volunteers to work in family support?
What to think about before you recruit and
how to go about it when you are ready to start.
What can we pay volunteers- what do we mean by expenses?
Why volunteers are not free and how to keep volunteer opportunities open to everyone,
regardless of their income.
What training do volunteers need to work with families?
Why training is important, what subjects to cover and what sort of training to give.
How can you support and supervise the work of volunteers?
How to support volunteers to achieve,
how much supervision to give and what models can be used.
How do you keep volunteers and families safe?
What are the safeguarding issues of working with volunteers and
how do you recognise and manage risks?
How do you celebrate success and motivate volunteers?
Volunteers need to be motivated to give their time and to make sure that they stay.
Find out how to do this and celebrate success.
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More resources, information and avenues of support.