Wessex Community Action is the council for voluntary services in Wiltshire and provides practical support for community organisations on funding, governance, planning, policy development, recruiting and leadership. This monthly volunteering column looks at all aspects of volunteering and how people can give up their time for the benefit of their communities.

The way we live and work is changing and volunteering has to change with it, that’s why a new vision for volunteering is being developed.

The national Vision for Volunteering is a ten year strategy framework, which is looking not only at how and why people volunteer, but what volunteering needs to look like, and how this will make those who give up their time feel about their roles.

The vision, which is being developed nationally by representatives of more than 300 organisations, has five themes – awareness and appreciation, power, equity and inclusion, collaboration and experimentation.

It aims to find a solution to meeting charities and volunteers’ needs so that volunteer roles are given the recognition they deserve, volunteers are able to lead on change that matters to them, where it’s easy for everyone to donate their time, where people work together because they want to and where communities aren't afraid to try new things.

Wessex Community Action helped set up Wiltshire’s Volunteer Managers Forum in 2019 and it is through this body that it is implementing Vision for Volunteering’s strategy. The forum supports managers and co-ordinators by sharing best practice and by using members’ own experiences, skills, and knowledge to develop their abilities.

“We support the forum, which has members from larger charities as well as smaller grass roots organisations from across Wiltshire,” said Wessex Community Action’s Volunteer and Community Development Worker Sarah Pickering. “That gives them opportunity to share their challenges and successes and support each other in managing volunteers in a very effective way.”

The forum, which is managed by a steering group of members, meets around once a quarter, often via Zoom, but its most recent get together was in person at the kind invitation of Dorothy House Hospice in Winsley, where the Vision for Volunteering was the main topic.

Any volunteer manager who would like to join the forum can contact Sarah at volunteerdev@wessexcommunityaction.org.uk or there is information at Wiltshire Together, a digital community platform hosted by Wessex Community Action.

It’s free to use and allows users to browse and pledge interest for the opportunities listed. Users can also set up a member profile that allows them to log their volunteer hours, which can help with CVs and employability prospects.

The site now has a new Volunteering in Wiltshire page and can be found at wiltshiretogether.org.uk

Find out more about the Vision for Volunteering at visionforvolunteering.org.uk