This is the next stage in our review exploring how to enable more people aged 50 and over to contribute their skills, time and knowledge to their communities, with a focus on how to increase participation among underrepresented groups, including people on lower incomes and those in poor health/living with long term health conditions. The review covers all forms of volunteering and community activity – including informal volunteering, everyday acts of neighbourliness etc.
Since its launch in October the review has been exploring what prevents people aged 50 and above from taking part, and seeking to identify ways to tackle these barriers, especially for under-represented groups. We have identified a number of key areas for action, and have heard some inspiring suggestions and ideas.
We now want to find examples of people and organisations putting these ideas into practice.
We are looking for examples of:
- Collaboration among organisations to create shared infrastructure to support volunteering - for example:
- Shared ‘back office’ support for volunteer-involving organisations / volunteers
- Systems which enable volunteers to move more easily between organisations, such as ‘passports’ and shared training
- Shared systems for volunteer management / onboarding
- Partnerships between more formal / established volunteer-involving organisations and organisations which can host volunteers and / or help to recruit them
- Practice which supports volunteers to find the right opportunities for them - for example:
- Pooling information on volunteering opportunities across organisations
- Outreach programmes, especially targeting under-represented groups
- Volunteer ‘taster sessions’
- Flexible volunteering opportunities, including
- Remote volunteering
- ‘Job-share’ volunteering opportunities
- Technology-enabled volunteering
- Initiatives to reduce barriers to volunteering - for example:
- Offering lower risk volunteering opportunities to potential volunteers in advance of DBS checking
- Tech-enabled volunteer registration and / or matching
- Up-front support with costs of volunteering
- Practice which support the inclusion of people with disabilities / long-term conditions
- New ways of describing opportunities to contribute - which break down barriers and misperceptions about ‘volunteering’
- Programmes to build confidence among potential volunteers
- ‘Volunteer journeys’ through which people are supported to move from casual helping out to more formal roles
- Blurring the boundaries between ‘helpers’ and ‘the helped’
- Practical support to enable informal forms of volunteering such as helping out / neighbourliness - for example:
- Local authorities / larger charities providing infrastructure / support for informal associations / community groups
- Schemes which provide human resource to fill capacity gaps identified within communities (e.g. Treasurers)
- Larger statutory / voluntary sector bodies taking care of paperwork on behalf of local associations
- Schemes to offer accreditation and recognition for informal helping out
- Formal / established organisations working in partnership with community groups / faith groups / other places where people help out.