Tel: 0131 657 5680 or Text: 077 9856 8218

Reg. Scottish Charity SC 034826 Reg. Company SC 257126

 
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INVESTING IN VOLUNTEERS REPORT

INVESTING IN VOLUNTEERS
FINAL REPORT
2009

ORGANISATION

Community Foundation for Planetary Healing

IiV HOST ORGANISATION

□ VOLUNTEERING ENGLAND
   VOLUNTEER DEVELOPMENT SCOTLAND
□ WCVA
□ VOLUNTEER DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (N Ireland)

ASSESSOR

Sheena Hales

NAME OF LEAD ASSESSOR

Anne Hislop

ASSESSMENT DATE(S)

18th August 2009

1ST ASSESSMENT/RENEWAL

 

ASSESSMENT OUTCOME

MET

CONDITIONS IF ANY

 

DATE CONDITIONS MET

 

FINAL ASSESSMENT DECISION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ORGANISATION SUMMARY

Community Foundation for Planetary Healing provides access to a holistic approach to health and wellbeing supporting planetary healing within communities. They believe that by bringing balance and well-being into one's life naturally brings balance and wellbeing to one's relationship with our living Planet.

The Foundation is based in Edinburgh and run a number of projects:

A team of professional qualified therapists volunteer for the Community Health Project providing a range of services including Holistic massage, bio energy, homoeopathy, Indian head massage, hot stone massage, crystal therapy, hopi ear candle therapy, herbal medicine, shamanic healing, emotional freedom techniques, soul retrieval, journey therapy, energy work and reiki.  This project ensures that not only those that can afford it but all members of the community have access to the complementary therapies. This is run on a voluntary basis Monday to Thursday 10-2.30pm.

Youth Vision is a programme for young people aged 14 to 18 yrs old, providing support and learning to develop the inner awareness and self-esteem necessary to make a healthy transition into adulthood. It is targeted at those with complex issues. They use practical wilderness exercises with therapeutic purposes, survival skills, fire making, shelter building, cooking over open fires, African drumming, great outdoors activities, earth awareness exercises and retreat in nature on a farm just outside Balerno. It runs April to November on Saturdays 10am to 4pm in 6 week blocks.
The Community Initiative offers a range of classes, groups, workshop and training created and offered by members of the local community. They are tools to help release stress, depression, and anxiety and build confidence and self-esteem. These include classes in yoga, experimental course in shamanism, guided meditation. Workshops in voice movement therapy. Training in reiki and Mask and Mime Theatre.
Charitable Healing Fairs. are run every three months. The therapists donate their work free and the monies raised go to designated charities.
Integrated Therapists. A team of 20 qualified self employed therapists rent their premises hourly. They provide complementary therapy services to the community.
Library. This consists of books donated and used by the community. They have over 250 regular users.
Mostly treatments are paid for by donations or on a sliding scale (low £5, medium £8 and high income £10). The costs of a private session ranges from £25 to £70 depending on the therapy and training is varies.  They work largely without grants, relying mostly on volunteers. To cover their core costs they rely on donations and on the small income they are able to generate with their charitable activities.

The therapists are self-employed, qualified, insured, disclosed through the Foundation and use their premises for their work. Although they are not employed directly by the Foundation, the Foundation are confident that the services they provide are of high quality and reflect the Foundation's vision.

The Foundation is run totally on a voluntary basis without paid employees. At the moment they have 17 volunteers supporting the Foundation. This includes 5 Therapists, 1 Book Keeper, 1 Transcriber, 1 Receptionist (4 others also perform other voluntary roles), 1 Volunteer Coordinator, 1 Volunteer Manager, 1 Library Coordinator and 6 Trustees.

 

SUMMARY OF HOW CONDITIONS MET  (if applicable)

 

 

SAMPLING RATIONALE

Volunteers were selected from a range of volunteering roles, mixture of gender, age and length of time in the role.

Staff were interviewed.

Interviews were held face-to-face on a one–to-one basis and some interviews were also conducted by telephone.

 

NUMBER OF SITES, BRANCHES, LOCATIONS: 

1

NUMBER  INCLUDED IN INTERVIEW SAMPLE:

1

 

NUMBER OF VOLUNTEERS:

12

NUMBER INTERVIEWED:

9

NUMBER AS % OF TOTAL:

75%

 

NUMBER OF VOLUNTEER ROLES:

7

NUMBER OF ROLES SAMPLED BY INTERVIEW:

7

NUMBER AS % OF TOTAL:

100%

 

NUMBER OF STAFF:

0

NUMBER INTERVIEWED:

0

 

WERE TRUSTEES INTERVIEWED?   YES 5 of which 2 were interviewed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WRITTEN EVIDENCE

Code of Conduct, Induction Training and Agreement

INDICATOR 1

There is an expressed commitment to the involvement of volunteers, and recognition throughout the organisation that volunteering is a two-way process which benefits volunteers and the organisation.

SUMMARY OF PRACTICE
They have a Volunteer Agreement that explains about volunteers rights regarding claiming expenses, being supported and offered training, it gives information on procedures such as taking up references, conducting disclosure scotland checks, volunteer insurance cover, making sure volunteers stay safe in the building, dealing with sensitive issues, managing the relationship with a client, confidentiality, time keeping, absence and complaints and grievance.

They have a code of conduct that volunteers must sign that looks at what volunteers should, should not and must never do whilst volunteering. 

They have recently developed a set of procedures for recruitment.

They have an equal opportunities procedure, data protection, whistle blowing and a disciplinary policy. The policies and procedures have all been reviewed.  They are introducing a review schedule.

Staff at all levels of the organisations were very clear that without the huge effort and commitment of volunteers they would not be able to provide such a valuable service.

"Our volunteers bring a wonderful sense of Community to the Foundation and they really get involved in all aspects of our organisation. Their engagement, participation and passion is what brings lasting positive outcomes for the users of our services" says the Co-founder and Volunteers Manager. And also “Yesterday I thanked the Volunteer Coordinator as without her help running the entire centre on a Monday I would not have been able to focus on all the development work we have achieved recently”.

Volunteer said, “I couldn’t rave more about the Foundation. It is wonderful. I get so much form meeting a bunch of like minded people, have developed many skills and enriched my life through the friendships and community I am now part of”. Another said, “Volunteering at the Foundation gives me the opportunity to mix with the seeing community and educate people about how we manage”, whilst another volunteer said, “As a self employed therapist most of my work is on an isolated basis but volunteering gives me the chance to be part of a team” and finally the fourth volunteers shared that “I lacked confidence but volunteering and feeling valuable has given me self esteem and self belief”.

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INDICATOR 2

he organisation commits appropriate resources to working with volunteers, such as money, management, staff time and materials.

SUMMARY OF PRACTICE
The organisation has designated responsibility for recruiting, selecting and supporting volunteers and protecting their interests to the Volunteer Manager.  A Volunteer Coordinator supports her. These are both voluntary posts.

The role responsibilities are detailed in the role profile.

An item in the trustees’ agenda is always to discuss volunteer issues and the volunteering objectives are supported in the Strategic Plan.

Volunteer are reimbursed for agreed expenses such as travel and lunch. They are looking at more funding to support the volunteer programme.

One Trustee described how they make themselves continuously available for volunteer, “We treat our volunteers like our brother or sister. We respect, honour and support them as much as possible. This is really appreciated. There is a flip side to this type of support that sometime volunteers call us in the middle of the night and need help. We have helped volunteers on a personal level getting accommodation, lent them money and listened when they are in need”. 

 

INDICATOR 3

he organisation is open to involving volunteers who reflect the diversity of the local community, in accordance with the organisation’s stated aims, and operates procedures to facilitate this.

SUMMARY OF PRACTICE
Information about the organisation is displayed on the website, recruitment fair stalls, signs on the window and when delivering their programmes to the community.

Volunteers have often come forward and offered their skills and expertise after attending courses at the centre, loaning books at the library or purchasing goods in the shop.

They have analysed the diversity of their current volunteers in graphic images and starting to compare it to the diversity of their local community.

They have an equal opportunities policy and they monitor all new volunteers.

They seek to ensure equality for treatment for everyone regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status and disability.

The images and descriptions of the organisation reflect the diversity of the local organisation.

 

INDICATOR 4
The organisation develops appropriate roles for volunteers in line with its aims and objectives, and which are of value to the volunteers and create an environment where they can develop.

SUMMARY OF PRACTICE
The Foundation has different volunteering roles – Receptionist, Volunteer Therapist, Volunteer Coordinator, Volunteer Manger, Transcriber, Book Keeper, Library Coordinator and Trustees.
The roles have role descriptions, which detail the main tasks to be completed.

The Volunteer Coordinator with guidance from the Volunteer Manager plans to start to offer supervision and support for volunteers from the Autumn 2009 onwards. This will be conducted during a weekly drop in service. The Coordinator will seek supervision with a Trustee.

The volunteer policy outlines what volunteers can expect from The Foundation.

Volunteers past experience and qualifications are discussed at their interview and within their application form and suitable volunteer roles will be negotiated with the Coordinator based on this and the volunteer’s needs and interests.

Frequently volunteers on request have moved onto or created new volunteering roles within the organisation for example the Receptionist moved on to becoming the Volunteer Coordinator.

Volunteers stated that, “I was at a turn point and thought about giving up my business of running therapy following a difficult experience with a client, but volunteering with the Foundation has made me recognise that I still have a huge amount to offer and has inspired me to continue”. Another commented, “I used credit gained from volunteering towards a course in Indian Head Massage”.

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INDICATOR 5

The organisation is committed to ensuring that, as far as possible, volunteers are protected from physical, financial and emotional harm arising from volunteering.

SUMMARY OF PRACTICE
They carry out a risk assessment on each volunteer role. This identifies any hazards, who are at risk and what control measures are in place to minimise risk.

A ‘volunteers working in safety policy’ was introduced in 2009. This ensures that volunteers are never left in the premises alone; they always have access to a mobile, have contact numbers in an emergency and there should always be a colleague available to support.

They have introduced a code of conduct which outlines what volunteers should, should not and must never do.

They have a strict fire safety policy at the Centre where everyone must sign in on entry. All volunteers need to read and sign the document managing fire safety, which provides basic instructions on what to do in the case of a fire and also for everyone to be aware of their rights and responsibilities. Items such as candles or incenses should not be left unattended.

They have two people trained in first aid first in case of emergencies.

All stairwells are clearly marked; they have notices up about the safe use of candles and incense sticks; all electrical equipment is professionally checked and replaced when faulty and so on.

All volunteers can claim their expenses by providing a receipt, completing the claim form and taking the cash from the petty cash tin.

All volunteers are fully covered by the Foundation insurance policy while they are on-site. They have full public and employee liability insurance. Therapists need to provide their own professional indemnity insurance and copies of their certificates.

Information such as addresses and telephone numbers at the Foundation are confidential and placed in a locked filing cabinet. Only those who are Enhanced Disclosure Officers have access to the keys.

The same applies to sensitive information either heard in conversation or read on paper and the database of the users is confidential and cannot be used for any other purpose or by any other person but the Foundation.

 

INDICATOR 6

The organisation is committed to using fair, efficient and consistent recruitment procedures for all potential volunteers.

SUMMARY OF PRACTICE
They have a standardised selection process for volunteers with a agreed timescale in which volunteers should expect to hear from them.

Volunteers are informed that there are different volunteering roles to suit their skills, ability or interests.

They need to complete an application form.  The application form is available on the website or can be emailed out on request. This includes a request for two references, it asks them a bit what appeals about volunteering at the Foundation, what relevant experience and skills they could bring as a volunteer, if they have any needs, preferred role and their time availability.

They are invited to chat to the Volunteer Coordinator/Manager. They are shown around and introduced to others.

Potential Volunteers are given role descriptions, which include details about the type of work is available, application and selection process and that there is compulsory induction training.

If they are provided therapy sessions they must bring copies of their qualification certificates, and they must have their own professional indemnity insurance.

Their references are taken up and volunteers giving therapy to the community are required to go through an Enhanced Disclosure Scotland Check. 

If mutually agreed, volunteers are invited to induction training with all the other volunteers or one to one.

Volunteers must sign the volunteer policy and code of conduct.

Whilst this has never happened before, they have a procedure in place to provide a letter and offer a follow up meeting to volunteers explaining their reason for turning down any applications.

Volunteers are offered a trial period in any role before committing themselves; this is outlined in the role description.

One volunteer said, “So far I have been impressed. I called and left and answer machine message after seeing a poster about the centre and asked if they might like a volunteer. The next day I was telephone back and chatted with the Volunteer Manager. I found out a bit more about the organisation, what was expected of volunteers and what roles could be available. I was sent an application form and when completed asked for an interview with the Volunteer Coordinator. I found out more and was delighted to receive a call inviting me to be a volunteer. I quickly organised my references and I am excited to be starting tomorrow”.

 

INDICATOR 7

The organisation takes a considered approach to taking up references and official checks which is consistent and equitable for all volunteers, bearing in mind the nature of the work.

SUMMARY OF PRACTICE
Following an initial informal meeting with a member of staff and completion of an application form, two character references are requested.

References are not considered essential for reception work but essential for working with vulnerable people on a one to one basis.

There is a clear standardised process in place for considering types of convictions/disciplinary actions that may, or may not, be relevant. Volunteers giving therapeutic sessions are required to go through an Enhanced Disclosure Scotland Check. 

They have disciplinary procedures, which clearly states what action will be taken if there are continuing serious concerns about a volunteers conduct or if there has been a breach of the Code of Conduct. 

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INDICATOR 8

Clear procedures are put into action for introducing new volunteers to the organisation, its work, policies, practices and relevant personnel.

SUMMARY OF PRACTICE
The Induction Pack explains what is takes to be on board, organisational history, their values, tells volunteers who the founders and trustees are, who assesses their services, the support offered, the key projects at the Foundation, payment for private therapy treatments and the policies and procedures.

The Volunteer Coordinator is being trained to deliver the induction, which is currently delivered by the Volunteer Manager.

All policies and procedures are also made available in a central folder in the office and given out at the induction.

The boundary of the role is clearly defined in the Code of Conduct and the Volunteer Agreement. This also addresses what will happen if a volunteer discriminates against a colleague or client.

Insurance is covered in the induction, and guidelines on what to do to stay insured are also covered in the risk assessment.

They have a Health and Safety Booklet, which volunteers must read, and sign.

They have an equal opportunities policy, which is given to volunteers, the induction and code of conduct emphases their zero tolerance approach to discriminatory attitudes and outlines the whistle blowing and grievance policies. 

The reimbursement of expenses has a clear procedure and claim form.

All new inductees are introduced to staff and other volunteers they will be working with.

Volunteers are advised in the Induction pack that they must inform the Benefits Office that they are doing voluntary work, if it is relevant.

Volunteers feel that they are able to freely and openly express any concerns or issues. They feel that their views and opinions are listened to.

The Foundation have introduced a Grievance Policy and Whistle Blowing Policy and have given out direct lines of reporting should anyone feel that their concerns are not being listened to.

 

INDICATOR 9

Everybody in the organisation is aware of the need to give volunteers recognition.

SUMMARY OF PRACTICE
The Foundation gives out ‘Inspiring Volunteer Nomination Certificates’ and this year four volunteers received awards.

They have an end of session party and Christmas Party. One volunteer said, “It is a lovely experience. We bring samples of our food, play instruments, sing, recite poems and just enjoy each other’s company”.

The Volunteer Manager frequently sends text and email messages showing appreciation for work done. “I take every opportunity to say thanks and provide verbal feedback to volunteers as I think this is very important”

Volunteers are invited to Trustee Meetings to allow them to share their views and opinions on the organisation and participate in the decision making process.

One volunteer said, “I am always asked what my opinion is, how I feel about something, do I think A B or C could be improved”. Whilst another said, “It feels like a level playing field, we all have something to add or contribute and we never feel that the Volunteer Manager or Trustees are superior”. And the Volunteer Manager said “Every major decision we make we involve volunteers, they do the role and understand where the improvements are needed most, so their input is essential”.

Their website emphasises the importance of volunteers.

The Foundation provides volunteers with references upon request up to three months after a volunteer leaves. Last year 6 references were given out and 4 got the job.

They obtain feedback from volunteers leaving the organisation through a one to one meeting and are currently developing an exit form.

One volunteer said, “the management are tripping over themselves to show you how much you are appreciated, express their gratitude and say thanks”.

Another said, “I went out to dinner with the founders in the holidays, as friends, that’s how much they have grown to value me as a volunteer”.

 

INDICATOR 10

The organisation takes account of the varying support needs of volunteers.

SUMMARY OF PRACTICE
The forms of support offered to volunteers are detailed in the Induction Pack.

One Volunteer said “There is always a warm welcome, cup of tea on the go and a chat starting. I leave having done some valuable volunteering and feeling positive”.

Roles are adapted to suit volunteer’s needs. Volunteers said “I have a health problem that limits my mobility but I’ve been told that I don’t need to follow all the tasks in my role such as take clients downstairs to the treatment rooms or carry out general cleaning duties”. Another volunteer said that “As I am blind there are parts of my role I can’t perform, I am not able to check the appointment diary but I am a qualified telephonist so can take messages and deal with customers. I use a magnifying handset that helps with my hearing too. I was going to leave volunteering once but was encourage to stay, as ‘I am so valuable’”. A third volunteer said “Having suffered from chronic fatigue and given up a busy catering role, I found volunteering in this environment more supportive, positive, gentler and allowed me to take it at your own pace”.

Volunteers have details of all contacts in the case of an emergency.

They are developing training material to support volunteers working in challenging situations.

Volunteers have been able to initiate discussions and access the support they require by the informal conversation regularly engaged by the Volunteer Manager. Some therapists have regular independently funded professional supervision in accordance with their qualification whilst others rely on offloading emotions and work by chatting to friends and colleagues. Hence it has been recognised that Volunteers should all be offered one to one support and supervision sessions with the Volunteer Coordinator. This is currently being structured and planned and will be rolled out in the Autumn to all volunteers.

It is emphasised in the induction that volunteers can refuse demands, which they consider unrealistic, or beyond their scope. As the centre is so passionate about the work they do and the support they offer, there can be a tendency for volunteers to sacrifice their breaks to offer extra time, so volunteers are being encouraged to be more self disciplined and think about their needs as a priority. Some volunteers said, “I am always appreciated for the time I do offer and never made to feel guilty or asked to do more even when they are busy”, Another said “I am always encouraged to go for a walk and stretch my legs and my lunch is always organised for me”.

The Volunteer Manager has a Diploma in Management, Introduction to Counselling Skills and attended a Volunteer Support Training Programme. The Volunteer Coordinator has a Certificate in Counselling. They are currently identifying further training.

Volunteers are informed of all relevant changes in the organisation by regular internal emails.

 

 

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