People Powered Conference Hits the Right Notes

48 people from across Huntingdonshire’s voluntary sector gathered at St Ives Corn Exchange on 19 April 2018 for the People Powered conference. Co-hosted by Hunts Forum and Living Sport and funded by Huntingdonshire District Council, the event was a chance for volunteer managers and community leaders to get together to explore fresh approaches to recruiting, supporting and celebrating volunteers in our communities.

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Guest speaker Shaun Delaney, Volunteering Development Manager at NCVO, kicked off proceedings with a presentation on the changing volunteering landscape: who volunteers, how, when and why? How have their demographics and their expectations changed, and what can community groups do to respond to these changes? His talk drew on the NCVO report, Getting Involved: How people make a difference, which you can read here.

Attendees were then invited to participate in workshop discussions on various aspects of volunteering. Keith Smith, Founder & Director of Ferry Project, led a workshop on recruitment and marketing, looking at the various routes people might take into volunteering roles. Mark Strivens, Director of Cambridge Street Pastors, explored what organisations can do to protect volunteers – and the organisation itself – from risks, and covered how policies, procedures and processes need to work together. Susie Willis, Chief Officer at Care Network Cambridgeshire, led a workshop on rewarding volunteers and celebrating success, and reflected on how the biggest reward is to ensure that experiences live up to volunteers’ expectations. Lucy Bird, Coordinator of Somersham and Pidley Time Bank, explained the concept of Time Banking and micro-volunteering, and examined how this model might fit into existing organisations. The conference was closed by Rebecca Evans, Relationship Manager at Living Sport who spoke about how volunteers had helped her in her youth to become a gold medallist swimmer. Follow-up notes and further reading for attendees are available here.

Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive. One commented, “Brilliant workshops with lots of ideas to use.” Another wrote, “A thoroughly enjoyable event. A great download of information and ideas in a relaxed manner. A well put together event. I went away with a spring in my step.”

Hunts Forum provides ongoing support for voluntary organisations throughout the year. Please get in touch on 01480 420601, email info@huntsforum.org.uk or visit www.huntsforum.org.uk for more information.

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