Stirling District Citizens Advice Bureau Ltd unveils its award of the prestigious Investing in Volunteers accreditation. This accolade recognises the professionalism of the systems and structures that support the volunteers within Stirling CAB who help provide the vital advice service to the citizens of Stirling District.
Katy Penman, Investing in Volunteers Assessor said, “I am pleased to congratulate Stirling District Citizens Advice Bureau Ltd on their achievement of the Investing in Volunteers award for the second time. Achieving this award acknowledges your commitment to your volunteers, by committing to improving and developing your volunteer programme. Stirling CAB has demonstrated this through evidencing the good practice they carry out in relation to volunteer management, meeting all nine indicators and 46 practices.
The most important part of the IiV process is hearing about the volunteers experience and ensuring the volunteers voice is heard, volunteers spoke positively about their volunteer experience with Stirling CAB; "volunteering here is its own reward", “I’ve used the service previously and wanted to give something back, with full and comprehensive training I was able to do so” and "volunteering here gives you transferable skills, especially for law students who gain a rich experience".
Throughout the process, Stirling CAB was given feedback on how to continue to develop and improve their practice over the coming three years, especially facing the challenges of the current circumstances, and we understand that they are already taking significant steps to do so”.
Craig Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of Stirling CAB said – “ We are delighted to have been successful on our external Volunteer Scotland audit which confirms that Stirling CAB is fully compliant with current best practice in relation to how we develop, support and manage our most vital resource, the CAB volunteer. It is very refreshing to have such a positive objective audit result and to have achieved such a high standard in volunteer management. My thanks go to each and every CAB volunteer, the CAB voluntary Board of trustees, and the CAB staff for helping Stirling CAB achieve such a prestigious award”.
Chairman Jim Roche said – “We have been through a very difficult year, as COVID has forced us to change our procedures from face-to-face advice to phone and online. Our Volunteers have been hugely supportive and flexible and they are now dealing with many more people who find themselves in difficult situations.
I am proud that we are the only CAB in Scotland to achieve this accolade and I’m sure that our wartime founders would be both impressed by our Volunteers and amazed by our technology”!
Extracts of the final Volunteer Scotland report stated:
All the volunteers feel appreciated for the time that they give to the organisation. They experience a very welcoming atmosphere when they arrive each day and are thanked by staff members every day, at the end of their shift. A volunteer stated, “Everyone always welcomes you in the morning with a happy good morning atmosphere and they always say thank you at the end of the day”.
Volunteers have the opportunity to grow in their roles or move into other roles, where appropriate. Examples include Reception volunteers becoming Advisers, volunteers becoming Board Trustees, and volunteers moving into paid employment.
Every day, there is a ten to ten meeting with all staff and volunteers. This meeting is very useful and covers any updates and changes to the organisation, legislation, projects and volunteering. All volunteers stated that they regularly received emails about relevant information and any upcoming training opportunities. One Adviser said, “I can’t fault CAB, the support is excellent".
Volunteers are formally thanked at AGMs and their work is highlighted in the Annual Report. One volunteer stated, “volunteer contribution is noted equally as much as the staff involvement, on the website, annual reports and marketing material”.
When Adviser volunteers complete the next stage of their training process, they receive a certificate. This is sometimes presented at the 10 to 10 meeting and volunteers are congratulated by the other volunteers.
In relation to diversity one volunteer stated, "We attract a large age range and provide specialist support, so there is diversity of experience and background, as different aspects of what we do appeal to different people".
A Volunteer adviser said, “We receive lots of information about the role prior to, and at, the training. The training is 3 months, generally a Friday from 9am – 2pm, and then there is shadowing and ongoing training”.
Another Volunteer adviser said, “The 12-week training programme was impressive, inclusive, non-threatening, challenging, very professional and supportive. The shadowing was very person-centred”. This Adviser said that volunteers could take as long to shadow as they needed to feel comfortable, before undertaking a solo advice session.
One volunteer stated, “I was interested in volunteering with CAB because I have used their service before and they helped me. I have experience of their service and wanted to help others like me; it’s good to give back”; another said, “I am retired and found the role interesting; it keeps your brain going with all the varied situations”; and a third commented, “I was looking for experience for my degree; CAB has given me this opportunity”.
All the volunteers interviewed mentioned that they had numerous opportunities for further training, after completing the induction training. They heard about this training via email, at volunteers’ meetings, or on the office notice board.
Last year Stirling CAB provided free, impartial and confidential advice to 7754 citizens on 11,746 different topics throughout Stirling District and generated £1.6 million of income to some of the most vulnerable people in the district, a return of £20.77 for every pound of local authority investment.
Stirling District Citizens Advice Bureau Ltd is your local charity which is here for you in your time of need, whenever that may be. However, to be able to run the service, we need financial support to allow us continue to help others. By making a donation, you help us to keep our doors open.
All donations of any size make a real difference so please help us now by donating at: www.stirlingcab.org.uk.
You can also support us every time you shop online by registering with easyfunding.org.uk and selecting Stirling District Citizens Advice Bureau Ltd as your chosen cause. It won’t cost you a penny but we will receive a donation when you shop online.
Stirling CAB is currently recruiting for its Spring 2021 remote adviser training programme. If you are interested, please contact Craig Anderson, CEO on 464773 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application form.
About Volunteer Scotland
Volunteer Scotland is the national centre for volunteering and receives funded support from the Scottish Government and others to:
• Research, demonstrate and measure the impact made by volunteers
• Support paid staff and volunteers to develop skills and improve practice through accessing standards, training and easy to use volunteer development tools
• Offer a one stop digital gateway to everyone in Scotland who might want to find volunteer opportunities
• Provide an expert disclosure service for voluntary organisations
• Help organisations and people who can influence volunteering such as funders, Government, and policy makers
• Work with partners to support projects, innovation and creativity in volunteering.
Investing in Volunteers (IiV)
Investing in Volunteers is the UK quality standard for all organisations involving volunteers. It aims to improve the quality of the volunteering experience for all volunteers and for organisations to acknowledge the enormous contribution made by volunteers. Investing in Volunteers Award demonstrates best practice in volunteer management. The nine indicators include, planning for volunteer involvement, recruitment, selection and matching techniques, supporting and developing volunteers and recognition. Investing in Volunteers is managed by Volunteer Scotland for Scotland; however, this is a UK Award.