Derbyshire VCI Passport Training Dates Set

Almost exactly a month ago, we announced that we would be running a series of free accredited training session for volunteers who work with children or young people. This accreditation is known as the VCI Passport.

We are delighted to announce that we now have a series of dates booked for this training at the Swadlincote Learning Centre.

  • Thursday 14th July 09:00 – 4:30.
  • Wednesday 20th July 09:00– 4:30.
  • Thursday 21st July 09:00 – 1:00.

This is a county-wide accredited training programme that has been developed by the County Council and the voluntary sector to address the initial training needs of organisations and volunteers in this sector.

The course consists of five 3-hour modules covering:

  • Equality and Diversity
  • Safeguarding
  • Health and Safety
  • First Aid
  • Consulting Children and Young People

Each of these sessions will be delivered by approved trainers provided by Derbyshire County Council. At least two of the session will be led by Chris Harris, who you may already know as the Operations Director here at South Derbyshire CVS.

If you’ve already contacted us about a place on this training, we will contact you direct in the next couple of days, however, we still have places available, so if you are interested, please download the VCI Passport South Derbyshire Interest Form and return it completed to for each volunteer.

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New Events Page Added

A while ago, we had an events page here on the blog, but we were not able to keep it up to date due to pressures of time and resources. However, it is now possible to include a Google Docs Calendar here, so we are going to try again. With this, you will be able to add your own events to the calendar.

If you are a volunteer-involving organisation and would like to include your own events here, please contact us here at the Volunteer Centre and we’ll send you instructions about how to add to this calendar.

Meanwhile, please take a look at the Events Page

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Newlands House Fete 2011

Saturday 11th June

Leonard Cheshire Disability will be holding the Annual Fete at

Newlands House,
Main St
DE12 8DA

on Saturday 11th June 2011

The day will feature:

RAF Lancaster Bomber Flypast from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

As well as  stalls, barbecue, ice cream, outdoor café, archery, fire engine, live music & entertainment, children’s amusements, displays & exhibits: birds of prey, model boats, martial arts, fun dog show + lots more

You can download a flyer from here.

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City and Guilds Certificate in Personal, Teamwork & Community Skills

Although our local flagship volunteering project for young people, vinvolved, has closed, there is still much that young people can do, both as “traditional” volunteers as well as innovative full-time and short-term opportunities.

We’ve had news of an opportunity that is nothing like traditional volunteering, but could well appeal to young people with a taste for adventure.

The Princes Trust are running a 12 week programme that includes team challenges and community work – volunteering by any other name!

You can find more details in this PDF document – Course Details Prince’s Trust.

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Freelance Youth Work With Endeavour

If your volunteers are looking for work or work experience and have suitable qualifications or experience in working with young people, these freelance jobs may be of interest to them.

Due to the variety in our programmes, we frequently require the support of specialist freelancers.

We create effective personal and social development programmes; bespoke courses for young people, providing outdoor and challenging personalised learning delivered by youth workers for local youth organisations, schools, colleges, young people’s statutory services etc. 

Our model of personal social development motivates ‘at risk’ young people to move on to positive destinations.

Our programmes are intensive, applying Endeavour’s 50 years expertise in experiential learning in combination with ICT, team building, outdoor and challenging activity and volunteering.

Are you?
  • interested and motivated to work with young people who can be challenging and may    require encouragement to engage in outdoor activities.
  • keen to provide stimulating and rewarding educational sessions
  • a qualified teacher or youth worker interested in sessional or short-term work.
  • qualified in 3 adventurous activities NGBs with more than 1 years experience  e.g. Mountain Leader, SPA, BCU Canoe or Kayak, GNAS, MTB, CWS, LCMLA
  • D1 driving licence / MIDAS minibus driving experience preferable
  • qualified in one or more of the following: music, dance, drama, art, ICT or basic skills tuition.
We have opportunities for freelancers in;

East Midlands: Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Northants, Leicestershire

Lincolnshire: Boston and East and West Lindsey

Robust systems and procedures, for your benefit and ours.

If you wish to apply to join our bank of freelancers;

Please send your CV to

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Volunteers Week Countdown

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks here in the Volunteer Centre and we’ve rather neglected the blog. So it’s time to get back into information sharing mode.

First of all, I hope you’ve got Volunteers Week highlighted in your diary. As usual, it runs from 1st – 7th June. This year we’ve got two events on the starting blocks. Look out for more details of them in the next few days.

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Volunteer Application Forms – Good Practice, A Barrier or a Complete Waste of Time?

The accepted wisdom on volunteer management says that we should all be using application forms as part of our selection procedure. That’s what we do here at South Derbyshire CVS. But some volunteer managers are starting to question this flagship of good practice. They are coming round to the view that an application form could present an almost insurmountable barrier for some potential volunteers.

When I started out in volunteer management, I read the books, attended the training courses and I used application forms because I thought that’s what a good volunteer manager did.

Now I’m not so sure.

If we look at application forms through the eyes of potential volunteers, do we really need them? For every opportunity?

Why  do we use them? For paid jobs, the answer is simple; we use application forms to shortlist candidates because we don’t have the time to interview everyone who expresses an interest in the job.

But volunteering is different. I suppose that there could be some lucky (or brilliant) volunteer managers who have so many people wanting to volunteer for them that they have to ruthlessly select.

However, very few of us will in the enviable position of having a pool of potential volunteers to choose from. Quite the opposite. I talk to many volunteer coordinators on the edge of panic because no-one is applying.

Then there is the recognition that volunteering is very different from employment. If we are able to recruit for a job, there will normally be only that job on offer, with no scope for variation or flexibility at the recruitment stage. But the majority of volunteer roles are inherently adaptable to suit the volunteer’s skills and interests. Even if our volunteer roles are not particularly adaptable, we can often come up with an alternative role, a referral to another organisation or back to us at the Volunteer Centre.

So if we are going to meet with all potential volunteers, why don’t we just ask them the questions on the application form when they come in. After all, it’s much easier to put people at their ease, ask questions in a non-intimidating way and offer prompts of they seem to be struggling.

Would scrapping the application form als remove a barrier to involvement by people with mental health problems, learning disabilities, asylum seekers and refugees, young people, ex-offenders and homeless people?

All of these groups are under-represented as volunteers and in my own experience, many people from these groups struggle to fill and forms. It’s not always about their command of English, but about confidence and self-esteem.

If I was faced with a form with a huge blank box asking “What can you offer us as a volunteer”, any of us could start to feel that we aren’t good enough.

Anyway, how much does a form filled in by a support worker tell you?

Certainly we need procedures to safeguard our clients, the organisation and the volunteers themselves, but does this have to be an application form?

I know that some volunteer managers have taken the logical step and scrapped application forms. I’m still struggling with this issue.

What do you think?

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