Our Volunteer Leadership programme began in 2019 because we saw that with the number of new volunteers applying and completing their training, there was a need for more support in this area.
This was also an opportunity for further investment and development for our experienced volunteers who already had great knowledge and were naturally inclined to help new volunteers. With some generous support from the Department of Internal Affairs “Support for Volunteering” fund, we decided that this should be an official part of our volunteering programme to acknowledge the experience and commitment of the volunteers that did apply.
- Bart, Volunteer Leader.
The expectations we have for our Volunteer Leaders are clear before they apply, as we look for certain qualities and levels of experience. Our Volunteer Leaders are to set an excellent example for our volunteers and have the ability to encourage them.
What does the programme look like?
With the input from our experienced volunteers, we agreed to treat the application process for this role similar to a job application. They submit a CV and fill out an application form which is reviewed, and if the requirements are met they are interviewed. If they are not successful with the interview, we give feedback and encourage them to work on certain areas before they apply again. If their interview is successful then they proceed to induction with a staff member.
Since we began our program we have seen our team of Volunteer Leaders fulfill their duties with dignity and carry their role wonderfully. They are able to engage with our customers confidently, whether that be welcoming them, informing them about the programmes we offer or simply making their experience more enjoyable. Our Volunteer Leaders have proven the purpose of their position to be valuable by helping our trainee volunteers complete their training. They also help staff members with communicating to volunteers and continuing to set a great example of what a volunteer should be.
Our Volunteer Leaders are also encouraged to take an active role in making sure Imagination Station is constantly innovating and improving our services. They all attend special team meetings to learn about new projects and have their input into the running of Imagination Station.
New leaders coming through!
Our newest Volunteer Leaders, Bart and Parisa, achieved their position just before lockdown and even then though our play area was closed they actively carried responsibility during that time. This looked like answering questions for volunteers on our communication channels and catching up with our staff to see if they could prepare themselves for when our play opened again. Now that we’ve opened our play area again, they are able to lead our volunteers face to face!
This is still a learning journey for them, as it is for us, but we are excited to help them flourish and succeed in their role. We believe that as our Volunteer Leader team continues to grow, that our team as a whole will excel!