Children 1st values the contribution of volunteers in making a positive difference in the lives of children, young people and families.
To ensure that we can offer a positive experience to our volunteers while providing the necessary support and development for delivering high quality services, we make the following commitments:
Children 1st will:
- explore the potential involvement of volunteers thoroughly when making plans
- engage volunteers who embrace and reflect our values
- ensure volunteers possess the appropriate knowledge and skills
- provide volunteers with the necessary support and resources
- treat our volunteers with respect and acknowledge their contribution
- review and develop the involvement of volunteers in the organisation.
In recognition of our commitment to best practice, Children 1st has achieved the Investing in Volunteers award and is a member of the Scottish Volunteering Forum.
Investing in Volunteers
We currently hold the Investing in Volunteers award, the quality standard for volunteer management in the UK. The award lasts for three years, after which renewal is required. Children 1st initially achieved the award in January 2007 and it was renewed in 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2020.
Launched in October 2004, Investing in Volunteers (IIV) aims to recognise excellence in volunteer management. IIV is the UK quality standard for volunteer management and helps us to make the best use of this valuable people resource.
Investing in Volunteers is managed by the UK Volunteering Forum and delivered by Volunteer Development Scotland, Volunteering England, Volunteer Development Agency in Northern Ireland and Wales Council for Voluntary Action. It is the only quality standard that has independent external validation with a UK Quality Assurance Panel that makes recommendations to the UK Volunteering Forum, the awarding body.
The standard comprises of nine indicators of volunteer management best practice, based on four key areas of volunteer management:
- planning for volunteer involvement
- recruiting volunteers
- selecting and matching volunteers
- supporting and retaining volunteers
You can find out more about volunteering here.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, it won’t. We believe that volunteers should never be out of pocket for volunteering. Volunteers can claim back reasonable travel and subsistence expenses, as agreed with their volunteer line manager.
No, not usually. We provide comprehensive training, which is often certificated and externally approved by relevant bodies, for the majority of our roles. We occasionally look for volunteers with particular skills or experience, but this will be clearly stated in the role advert.
Yes, you can. Volunteering is recognised by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as a great way to gain experience for work, and studies have shown that it can be good for your health too! We always recommend that you inform your contact at the DWP of your intention to volunteer before starting.
For most of our roles, yes. Don’t worry though! This won’t cost you anything and we will guide you through the process once you have applied. A number of our roles are with children or vulnerable adults, so volunteers are required to become members of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. For the majority of other roles we will require you to complete a Basic Disclosure.
This varies depending on the role. For most of our roles working with children or families we ask for a weekly commitment of 3-4 hours. We also ask that volunteers in these roles are able to volunteer for at least a year after completing training. For fundraising roles, your time commitment can vary and often depends on how much time you have to offer! We are obviously flexible about this and recognise that you will want to take time off for various reasons.
The benefits of volunteering are endless! A document published by the Scottish Volunteering Forum in 2015 reported that volunteering decreases loneliness and isolation, makes you more employable and improves health and wellbeing.
As a volunteer with Children 1st you could benefit from training recognised by COSCA or credit rated by Edinburgh Napier University, as well as meeting new people and gaining fantastic experience. We give lots of support to volunteers, and will provide an employment reference for you if you have volunteered with us for over 6 months or 50 hours.
Most of the time, yes. We recognise the value of having volunteers who have first hand experience of some of the difficulties faced by our service users, and we know that it often adds to your enthusiasm and commitment when volunteering.
In some instances we may ask you to take a break before starting your volunteering just to ensure that you are emotionally ready to support other children or families, but we will support you to find other volunteering opportunities if this is the case.