Volunteer Recruitment Policy
The Friendship Project for Children exists to provide a one to one befriending service to Warwickshire Children and Young People in need of support. We recruit volunteers to become Older Friends (befrienders) for children and young people and recruit Group Supporters to help our staff provide support to Older Friends. Volunteers are essential to The Project’s work and are valued within The Project for the hugely important role they play in making a difference to a Child or Young Person’s life. The Project: its staff and Trustees work hard to ensure that volunteers’ efforts are recognised and that they are supported and given opportunities to develop their skills and experience.
The purpose of this policy is to set out our approach to recruitment and selection of volunteers. The function of the policy is to ensure:
• A standard approach is adopted for the recruitment to all volunteer roles.
• Volunteer roles are filled with the applicants who have the skills, experience and commitment needed.
• All selections are fair and equitable/based on merit and satisfactory checks.
• Recruitment and selection processes adhere to the Equal Opportunity Policy.
• We demonstrate our commitment to equality, diversity, and fairness.
The Project has an Equal Opportunities Policy. This applies to volunteers as much as to paid staff, both in the way which The Project treats volunteers and their responsibilities when dealing with volunteers, staff and users of The Project.
We welcome volunteer applications from all areas of the community. People volunteer with The Project for many reasons, bringing with them their experience, skills and commitment and receive the training and support they require to carry out their roles effectively.
The Friendship Project for Children aims to have a reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationships with our volunteers; they provide One to One befriending to local children and young people in need of support or as Group Supporters provide support to the Older Friends and we provide training, support and advise for them in their role.
We recruit volunteers through advertising and promotion using a variety of means including social media, website, newspapers, newsletters, volunteering and community events and community advertising. Marketing and Communications plans are made yearly and are completed and reviewed by the Operations Team and Trustees.
Volunteers to be Older Friends must be over 18, have a 2-3 hours free time to spend with a child or young person on a regular basis and have a car and be able to drive. Volunteers ideally should live in Coventry or Warwickshire, or within a short travelling distance. These aspects are carefully considered before acceptance or rejection of the volunteer. We provide guidance, support and cover certain expenses.
We have a duty of care to do what is best for all parties, in particular to safeguard the children in order for the partnership to be a success. We undertake rigorous checks on all applicants, and reserve the right to refuse applications on any number of grounds, at any stage, if we feel there is a justified reason to do so. This will be communicated to you by the Line Manager at the earliest opportunity. We ask that you be respectful to our staff at all times during the process and understand that we have a duty of care to protect our staff and the children within our care at all times. If you are advised that your application will not be taken forward and wish to appeal this decision, please contact our Chair of Trustees who will investigate the matter accordingly (contact details can be found on our website).
Recruitment Process and Support
On expressing an interest, prospective volunteers will receive an application form together with an information sheet about the history of The Project and what being an Older Friend involves. The application form, besides giving relevant personal information, requires two character references and agreement to let The Project complete an Enhanced DBS check. As the checks may take some time, the prospective volunteer will receive an acknowledgement to confirm that the application has been accepted and checks are in process.
Upon receipt of the application form and satisfactory references, volunteers will then be given a Briefing by an Area Coordinator and/or DBS Officer that lasts about 2 hours usually in the volunteer’s home. This is designed to provide the volunteer with further information about The Project and guidance on the operation of a friendship, including problems that might arise, and to enable The Project and the volunteer to get to know one another. Identification for a DBS check is also viewed. For their roles Older Friends have an Enhanced DBS check, Group Supporters have a Standard DBS check. All volunteers are provided with a copy of The Project Guidelines.
A second interview is completed with Prospective Older Friends to discuss Safeguarding procedures, The Projects Safeguarding Agreement, matching and any other issues the Prospective Older Friend and interviewers wish to discuss.
The interview process involves meeting with two members of the Friendship Project before being accepted.
If the Project decides not to take someone on as a volunteer, it will explain how its decision was reached and, if appropriate, give the person information about other volunteering opportunities which may be available to them.
As part of the interview process volunteers will have an induction to their volunteering which will involve an overview of the relevant policies and procedures and a copy of these are available in The Projects Guidelines. Volunteers need to sign to agree they have read and will work to these Guidelines.
We arrange for each volunteer an individual friendship with a child of 6 to 16 years of age, whose family does not, or cannot, provide the support the child needs for full development. We work closely with the Children’s Services and professionals within the Early Help Teams who refer most of the Children and Young People to The Project.
The Project expects volunteers to comply with existing policies and procedures. Following Induction, volunteers will have regular support and supervision with their Area Coordinator or Group Supporter and a record of these discussions will be held as part of the individual volunteer’s records.
All volunteers are covered under The Friendship Project for Children’s Public Liability Insurance.
Volunteers will be able to claim reasonable expenses for their volunteering in line with the Expenses Guidelines for Older Friends and Group Supporters.
Where a concern is highlighted – either by a volunteer or about a volunteer, this will be dealt with using The Project’s Disciplinary, Grievance and Dismissal Policy.
Responsibility Overall responsibility for the implementations, monitoring and review of this policy and procedures lies with the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for The Project Implementation and adherence to this policy is the responsibility of all staff and volunteers within the organisation.
Dated: 17 August 2023
Next review date: 16 August 2024