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Investing in Volunteers Award Posted on Thursday, 6 July 2023

Investing in Volunteers

VASL is a charity that relies on volunteers to deliver all its projects. Volunteers for transport drive people to medical/social appointments whilst befriending volunteers provide company to isolated carers and people living alone.  Other volunteers help people with mental health challenges to improve their well-being . Yet other volunteers  with strategic skills help VASL as Trustees, ensuring that VASL is meeting charity law requirements and has a sustainable future.

VASL has just been awarded Investing in Volunteers, a quality accreditation for the third time. VASL had to provide evidence to an independent assessor about its vision for volunteering, how it makes volunteering inclusive for people from diverse backgrounds, how volunteers are supported in their roles and given opportunities to develop. The assessor also met with nineteen per cent of current volunteers across projects, and a section of staff to test if the volunteer policies are working in practice.

Her report said that VASL had passed the assessment process with flying colours!  

The assessor reported that volunteers felt listened to and their needs are taken into account. Communication is rated very highly. One volunteer summed this up “The way that they talk to us, treat us, communicate with us, always feels very warm, welcoming and friendly. The communication is always excellent…Information covers everything you need to know…it makes the job so simple”.  Another volunteer described “the customer interaction as exemplary”.

The feedback between volunteers and staff members about clients is very effective. Volunteers commented “Through feedback, they support me in helping the person or they take the issue on board themselves” and “They follow up at regular intervals about how things are going with the client. That it’s working out for both of you. They want to know how things are going”. 

When volunteers were asked to identify the strengths of the volunteering programme at VASL, the strongest response related to the quality of the support they receive, from staff across all projects. Volunteers’ comments included – “The support is excellent…It’s very professionally done- the information on the job, the special assistance you get and the way they keep in touch”, “The patience and understanding of staff on the telephone is notable. They are unflappable and courteous at all times” and “The support is excellent – you can’t fault it. You get all the support you need. It’s tailored and it’s there when you need it”.

VASL is described as a caring and compassionate organisation, where tailored support is given to clients and volunteers alike. Careful thought and attention are given to people’s individual needs. This is encapsulated by a volunteers’ comments “The support is fantastic. I retired medically. I’m not always in the best of health and they are really understanding and adaptable. It makes me feel really useful. They are so supportive. If I can’t do something – they accept me as I am now” and “Their attitude towards us is really caring. It’s a really caring organisation that treats and cares about us as a real person”.

Maureen O’Malley, Charity Manager stated “I am so proud of the VASL family – volunteers and staff make a massive difference to improving local communities”

Investing in Volunteers is the UK quality standard for all organisations involving volunteers. Investing in Volunteers aims to improve the quality of the volunteering experience for all volunteers and demonstrates that organisations value the enormous contribution made by their volunteers.