We’re incredibly excited to announce that, during lockdown, we received the Investing in Volunteers award.

Investing in Volunteers is the quality standard for any organisation that works with volunteers.

To achieve this means that our volunteer management adheres to good practice. At Baytree we have a strong structure to prepare volunteers, which includes interviewing, safeguarding, training and providing ongoing support for anyone volunteering with us.

In the report our volunteers noted how useful the training sessions are. One volunteer said: “We did scenarios and role plays. It was really good to hear how other people might handle things differently.”

We’re proud that, at Baytree, we engage with our volunteers to make it a warm and friendly working environment, and that a lot of what we do is volunteer-led. This means that our volunteers are able to shape their role and contribute their own ideas on how we run things. They are able to voice their opinions and work on their ideas through termly questionnaires, taking part in planning sessions, and leading clubs and groups.

The Volunteer Service is one of the three core services that we provide, alongside our Women’s Service and Youth Service, so this recognition is a huge achievement for the centre.

Our Volunteer Service Manager, Angela said: “Volunteers play a huge role in the successful delivery of our services, and achieving this means we can continue to strengthen and develop the service. Finding new ways to support volunteers who want to make a difference in the community is something we are passionate about, and we want people to have the best volunteering experience whilst at Baytree.”

The report highlighted that volunteering at Baytree is two-fold. Volunteers are fundamental to our work and enhance what we can offer, but 82% of volunteers feel that their personal skill sets have improved whilst here too.

“It is an honour to be able to help change people’s lives, I feel honoured to be able to volunteer with Baytree,” a volunteer said.

Before lockdown around 150 people were volunteering including, admin staff, interns and mentors. Although this has reduced to around 90, due to the centre’s closure in March, we are slowly working our way back up.

The pandemic has meant that we have had to adapt quickly to how we work with volunteers and to how volunteers work with us. Our remote learning mentoring is now a fully online service, and we have updated our training methods and delivery in line with government guidance so that we can best serve the needs of the women and girls at the centre.

Thank you to all of our dedicated volunteers for your hard work and for helping us to reach this goal, without you we wouldn’t be able to support and empower as many women and girls in our community as we do.