Maddy talks about her experiences with the Vision for Volunteering

OK. Hi. Um, would you like to just start by introducing yourself? Yes. Hello? Uh, I'm Maddie

Um, and I run Family Volunteering Club, which is a charity, Um, that we started a few years ago, which is all about getting young Children engaged with volunteering. Awesome. Thanks

Um, can you tell me then about how you first started to get involved with the vision for volunteering? Yeah. So family Volunteering Club's been running since 2019, but it really, um, due to the sort of demand for the project, it sort of started to really ramp up in, um 2020 2022 2023. And so I heard about the vision for volunteering from several of the vision for volunteering partners

So M, CV EO and volunteering matters in particular. Um, and they suggested that we come along, get involved because there was a lot of, um, opportunities to sort of share what we were doing and be part of that network and learn from other people and just really, I guess, um, sort of contribute and, uh, also benefit from being part of what was happening with the vision. So we Yeah

So we came along to, uh, So I had a couple like I said, a couple of meetings with the individual partners and then came along to a workshop in person last spring, the end of the spring, early summer, which was really wonderful in London and met lots of other organisations who were doing cool stuff in volunteering in the voluntary sector. Uh, and it's Yeah, that's sort of our main way. We got involved

Great. So what? What was it that kind of drew you towards division? What is it that you like about division? Um there's a few things, actually. I think First of all, I think the fact that it's a longer term strategy is really appealing and exciting

I think a lot of the voluntary sector and, well, a lot of, um, sectors full stop. They sort of work in shorter cycles and often linked with sort of, um, sort of government and political kind of cycles. So to have something that said we're going to be looking for something for 10 years is really exciting

I think, um, I think the fact it's run by a consortium of brilliant organisations with a wealth of expertise and, um sort of that represent lots of different types of organisations in the sector is really interesting as well. So it's not got one agenda. It was a very presented as a very open, um, and accessible programme to be involved with, um that was very much kind of wanting to be shaped and moulded in collaboration with the sector rather than something that was being enforced on the sector

Um, so it felt like a really nice uh, yeah. Nice approach. Great

Thanks. Um and how have you kind of used the the concept of the vision or the themes of the vision in your work with the family Volunteering club? Yeah. So for family volunteering club, we're, you know, we're all about making it easy and accessible for families and for Children and young Children in particular to get involved with volunteering

And we're on a sort of journey to expand our reach to hopefully become a national project. So it's been really nice to sort of, um, use parts of the vision and be part of that network to help shape our thinking as we develop that it sort of feels like it's a, um you know, we've We're at a time where we're developing a lot of our strategy as well. So it's been a nice opportunity to kind of, um, get the vision has been challenging our thinking and getting us, um, thinking in different ways and having new ideas

So I think particularly around some of the themes, uh, you know, the theme we had. I remember we had a great conversation about appreciation around volunteers at the workshop. And so thinking about Well, how can we make sure that our volunteers feel really valued and that the contribution is even for our volunteers that they they may be regular May may come regularly to our sessions, but they also make them for one off

So how do we work with, um, volunteers that are gonna drop in and out? Um, and ones that are also gonna be regular, for example. So just, um, thinking around appreciation. Um, I think around sort of volunteer, uh, family Volunteering club has been something that has developed quite organically over the last few years and is, you know, a very, um is is is being very warmly received by lots of people

Um, so it's been a bit of an experimental project, and we So the theme of experimentation within the vision has been really interesting for us and just kind of rein forced. Why? It's important for there to be experimentation for there to be kind of risk taking for there to be failure. You know that you learn from, um so I think having that as a sort of framework and help the vision for volunteering and helping to advocate for the importance of experimentation has been really great as well

Um, and also just, you know, our project's all about opening up, um, accessibility of volunteering for, um a really, um big, um, proportion of our community who at the moment don't can't easily access volunteering, but would really like to. And there's lots of benefits for the grownups and for the Children. So in terms of thinking about sort of access, um, uh, that's been really interesting as well

So, um, so they I think the themes have helped influence for sure. Um, but one of the really lovely things has been the the sort of network to be part of, um, you know, at the workshop just meeting peers in other organisations who are also trying to just, um you know who are really committed to the voluntary sector and are trying to think about innovation and particularly post covid how volunteering patterns have changed or are changing And, um, just sort of, I guess, be part of that sort of innovation and be surrounded by people that are also starting to think in more creative ways around what volunteering could be, um, and how important it is for the sector. And actually for the economy and and for society generally

Great stuff. Um, that's all really good to hear. So obviously, we're in the like, first year of a kind of 10 year project with the vision for volunteering

So, um, what do you think you might kind of want or need from the vision for volunteering going forward into the future? I mean, I think, um, more of the same of what you've been doing in terms of bringing the sector together to talk about these themes, you know, won't surprise me to. Won't surprise you to hear me say funding. You know, the organi

You know, when we're asking the, um, the sector to do things in new ways that needs sourcing. Um, we all know how important the, uh, voluntary sector is, but it is, um, under increasing pressure. Um, but I also think on the flip side, we've never had more evidence to show how important it is and how valuable it is

So, you know, I think we can all work collaboratively on that. So thinking about, um, the sort of network and the resourcing, I think the practical workshops are brilliant as well. And just having space for people to come outside of the bubble of their organisation and be challenged and influenced and share is is just so, um, rich and valuable and then the the The other thing that springs to mind, like I say is is the sort of the advocacy and the lobbying so sort of

If vision for volunteering can help support the sector with, you know, for example, take experiment. Why, it's important that we experiment, that we create space for experimentation and how we can convey that to more funders. There's some fantastic funders out there who totally get it

But there's also a lot of funders who, um, uh are still working in kind of more traditional ways. um, And there isn't often space written into, uh, funding applications, budgets, that sort of thing for people to do things in new ways. And so I think, for the vision to help, um, the sector evidence and, um uh, uh, all all all that kind of side of things would be amazing as well

Brilliant. Ok, Thank you so much for your time, Maddie. No problem


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