Volunteering Update – July 2022
We’ve had loads going on recently, so here’s an update from a recent volunteers meeting, news about some of volunteer-led services, and information about some of the volunteer roles we’re currently looking to fill.
July Update – Kushinga, Volunteer & Drop In Coordinator
Monday Drop In
The drop-in is held in the RISC main hall every Monday from 10:30-1pm and is going from strength to strength. We have seen an increase in the number of new clients, particularly from hotels. The Monday drop-in is a welcoming and warm environment where clients can socialise, meet new people, and access information on local services, i.e., libraries, charities, GPs, English classes and activities.
We currently have five volunteers who assist with meeting and greeting clients and teaching informal English lessons. Last year the Reading Rotary Club donated four laptops to use in the drop-in and they have proved to be extremely useful. Clients use them to stay connected with family and friends, research ESOL courses and job searching.
On Monday 11th July we had a special drop-in to celebrate Eid Ul Adha. A staff member kindly provided food and decorations and the occasion was enjoyed by all. There was a great atmosphere.
Wednesday Drop In
In-person Wednesday drop-ins resumed at the Quakers Meeting House on Church Street in June. These drop-ins are specifically for informal English classes and run from 10:30-12:30pm. The aim of these sessions is to help clients improve their English skills and give them confidence to integrate into their communities. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, and clients can socialise while improving their language skills.
We are currently looking for volunteers for the Wednesday drop-in and need someone with experience of teaching ESOL classes and/or working with marginalised communities.
Drop In Volunteer Meeting Summary
In June we held a volunteer meeting to discuss ways to improve the Drop Ins and wider volunteer issues. The topics discussed were:
- the role of volunteers within RSG
- the nature of the Drop In
- how volunteers contribute to the Drop In
- how volunteers can help to plan the Drop In
- how RSG can attract, engage and retain volunteers
The agreed actions were:
- Update volunteer role descriptions clarifying the responsibilities and boundaries of each role, and where to handover to staff
- Look at the possibility of re-instating Casework volunteers
- Establish a regular forum for volunteers and Casework staff to improve the communication flow between the roles
- Produce a Volunteer Rota and agree a suitable format for sharing it with team
- Sharing RSG Policy and Procedure review timetable with volunteers, so they can provide input
- Improve communications with volunteers, providing more updates beyond RSG’s current, public-facing communications (eg website, newsletter, social media)
We’re in the process of updating our volunteer role descriptions and are working to find a link between Drop In volunteers and the Casework team. We are also including volunteer updates in our Supporter Newsletter and looking to introduce a volunteer update section to the website.