Around 40 delegates from a wide range of locally active organisations got together on Friday 19 September for RVA’s 2nd annual Volunteering Conference.
As well as hearing about the increasingly proactive and visible approach RVA has been developing to promote and support volunteering and volunteering organisations, participants were treated to an inspiring presentation by Mireille Havilland from Christian Community Action, with help from CCA volunteers Rose and Nathaniel, about how helping volunteers to access accredited training has been a win:win for their organisation. Delegate Sarah Finch from Age UK Berkshire commented in her event feedback: “Especially enjoyed hearing from the volunteers at CCA – very inspirational.”
Having shown a thought provoking short film by a team from the National Citizen Service’s summer programme, our own Steve Hendry facilitated a workshop around young people volunteering. You can click the picture link below to watch the 4 minute film for yoruself. Workshop participants, both volunteers and staff, young and older, discussed ways to improve access to volunteering for young people locally and how we might help organisations to reap the rewards of their time and talents.
Lucy Drake of RBC, who is the lead on the work of children’s centres across Reading in supporting the families of offenders, spoke with passionate determination about her experiences of using the Family Matters resource programme with clients. Delegates were both moved and energised by the presentation and keen to discuss how their organisations might tap into support for their service users. The provision of a Family Matters resource pack for each participating organisation was a great start, given that these are evidently ‘like gold dust’ to get hold of. However, seeing the opportunity that this engagement represents and the practical relevance of the packs to frontline VCS organisations working with children and families, RBC have already identified a small budget pot to purchase more packs and for some of these to be placed with RVA to lend out to organisations. Through our ongoing work with the Think Family Partnership Forum we will be aiming to build on this and to promote the contribution that local VCS organisations can make.
Other sessions included an opportunity for volunteers and volunteer coordinators and managers to get together in their own peer group to network and share insights from their various roles, plus an up-date on RVA’s Team Challenges Scheme from Simon Scaddan, our volunteer who coordinates the scheme.
All the information gained through the different elements of the conference will be used to guide the way we focus our resources and develop our services and our collaborations for the future.