Evolution of Volunteering in Norfolk

The evolution of volunteering in Norfolk

Volunteers are crucial to the health and wellbeing of local communities. They also increase the capacity of many VCSE organisations to deliver activities and services effectively. Whilst the sector has seen many older, long-term volunteers step back over the last few years, the good news is that there are many people looking to volunteer for the first time.

In January the National Lottery Community Fund published research that showed 14% of UK adults plan to volunteer for the first time this year. Over half of 8,000 respondents across the UK said they intended to take part in formal or informal local volunteering activities this year. Overall, 64% of respondents said they were willing to work with others to improve their local community.

Recognising this shift, organisations need to consider the types of volunteering opportunities they are offering. They also need to think about how they structure these opportunities and shape them to be satisfying and rewarding. New volunteers are:

  • less likely to make a long-term commitment,
  • more likely to value flexibility,
  • may want more support from staff or a volunteer ‘buddy’.

They also appreciate being made to feel a valued member of a team.

 

Engaging potential volunteers in Norfolk

We are seeing more and more organisations registering to use Get Involved Norfolk as a recruitment platform. 50 organisations have joined since the start of 2024, and 230 new volunteering opportunities have been posted over that time. There are currently about 500 live opportunities spread across the whole of Norfolk (with fewer in the Breckland and West Norfolk areas). There are over 4,800 registered volunteers.

We know from feedback that many organisations find Get Involved Norfolk a very valuable recruitment tool. But it is only one way to get the word out. This is why we have organised Give it a Go! Volunteering Extravaganza at The Forum in Norwich on 7th June. Over 50 local organisations will be showcasing their activities and promoting their volunteering opportunities to new and ‘lapsed’ volunteers.

 

Bringing organisations together to encouraging volunteering

Alongside this Voluntary Norfolk has established a strategic steering group and a working group of representatives from VCSE organisations and statutory bodies to take forward the Norfolk Vision for Volunteering. This Vision was launched last November and sets out aspirations to ensure that:

Norfolk is a county where volunteering flourishes and is supported by vibrant communities and a resilient VCSE sector. A place where everyone volunteers at multiple points in their lifetime and where opportunities are flexible and accessible, and volunteers thrive. And a county able to realise the huge well-being benefits that residents derive from volunteering, enabling stronger more equitable communities and bringing much needed support to those in need, and local charitable and social causes.”

An action plan will be agreed over the summer to ensure that a collaborative approach, shared resources and expertise, and more joined-up initiatives will lead to real change over the coming years.

If you would like to become involved in the working group, please email us at: volunteercentre@voluntarynorfolk.org.uk

Similarly, if you want to find out more about any of Voluntary Norfolk’s work around volunteering please contact us.

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