NIAMH invests in volunteer managers
NIAMH had requested the training to increase the skills and confidence of those who manage volunteers.
NIAMH involve a wide range of volunteers through its Living Well Living Longer RO:COP project in the Armagh, Dungannon, Lisburn and Newtownards Council areas. The project provides help and assistance with attending hospital visits, shopping, getting out and about, home security and health concerns. Volunteer befrienders are matched with older people and visit them on a regular basis to provide friendship and practical support.
Eight staff participated in the ILM level 3 Award in management of volunteers developed and delivered as a bespoke course to NIAMH. This two day course has increased the staff’s awareness of best practice and has given them confidence as they manage and support volunteers and deal with difficult situations. As a result of the course they have developed a volunteer induction checklist which includes role descriptions, templates and processes. They have reviewed all of their role descriptions and how they attract new volunteers to the project.
In order to help motivate the volunteers and capture their impact they are gathering testimonials from service users that remind volunteers of the difference they are making. Recently Louise faced a situation where she had to speak to a volunteer about over-promising to the service user. She said that the training had helped her to prepare what she was saying in advance using the assertiveness techniques she had been taught. The benefits of this to the service users are that due to better retention of volunteers they stay longer with the project and there is more continuity for the older people. It also saves the organisation time and money in recruiting new volunteers.