A Vision for Volunteering in the Charitable Trust Sector

Published on: November 15th 2022

NEW volunteer roles to support women feel more comfortable in a gym environment, plus Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Volunteer Champions are some of the ways a pioneering programme is supporting Charitable Trusts to develop a vision for volunteering in the 21st Century.

Active Kindness, funded by Sport England, is a project designed to build the Leisure and Culture Trusts’ capacity for volunteer management and re-energise the volunteering experience in the Charitable Trust sector.

Over the last 12 months, Community Leisure UK, along with partners at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, has been working with four pilot Trusts – The Pelican Centre, Greater Manchester; Hyndburn Leisure Trust, Lancashire; Your Trust, Greater Manchester and Active Luton, Bedfordshire.

Lisa Krockel, Active Kindness Programme Manager for Community Leisure UK, said: “Our aim is to support the sector, through this programme, to bring long-lasting benefits to Charitable Trusts, individuals and communities.

“This programme is fundamentally about re-energising the volunteering experience in our sector and creating a vision for volunteering in the 21st Century.”

Lisa added: “It’s been a joy working with our four pilot Trusts this year, witnessing their passion and dedication to volunteering, and watching them develop their volunteering programmes in unique and innovative ways.”

Highlights include: 

  • Introducing new volunteer buddy roles to support women in the gym. The volunteers are friendly faces for new members to have a chat with and make them more comfortable when they first join.
  • Recruitment of volunteers to become Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Volunteer Champions to develop and promote this work.
  • Supporting young unemployed people through a Skills for Sports programme. Young people are now regularly volunteering at Your Trust in Rochdale and managing their own sports events.
  • Linking with key partners to deliver bespoke training and guidance.
  • Embedding volunteering into company business strategies.
  • Investing in volunteer data management systems to better track, recruit and monitor volunteering activity.
  • Supporting individuals from deprived areas into volunteering and offering their training and support into employment opportunities.
  • Production of social media campaigns and new innovative website pages to attract more volunteers.

Ten new Trusts will take part in phase two of the Active Kindness rollout in 2023.

Ian Hodgson, Community Activator at Hyndburn Leisure in Lancashire, said: “You can never step into the same river twice.

“Things are constantly shifting, new water is suddenly swirling around your ankles, and the change can almost be imperceptible. It feels a little like this when making changes to the culture of an organisation – there’s no big sign – just little signs. 

“At Hyndburn Leisure Trust, this is beginning to happen as we become more focussed on welcoming and valuing volunteers. No big numbers, no big shifts, but definitely, it ‘feels better’, and this is in no small part from the encouragement and expertise given to us by Active Kindness and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.  

“By the end of the programme, we’ll have made enough little changes to count as a big one.”