Tees Valley Volunteering Charter launched as Volunteers’ Week 2022 comes to a close

Tees Valley Volunteering Charter launched

Volunteers across Tees Valley can be assured that they will have a great experience, as a new Volunteering Charter is launched.

Tens of thousands of people take on voluntary roles across Tees Valley every year, making a huge contribution to the welfare of their communities, whilst having an enjoyable and rewarding time. The Tees Valley Volunteering Charter can be adopted by organisations which deploy volunteers, and demonstrates their commitment to ensuring that volunteers are safe, valued, and that they undertake meaningful tasks which make a real difference to their communities.

The Charter has been developed  by the Tees Valley Infrastructure Partnership (TVIP), a group of voluntary sector bodies which provide advice, support and a voice for the thousands of voluntary community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations in the region.

Jon Carling, Chief Executive of Catalyst, which supports the VCSE sector in Stockton-on-Tees, said ‘The aim of the Charter is to enable our partner organisations to demonstrate to volunteers that they will have a safe, enjoyable and rewarding experience’.

Mark Davis, Chief Executive of Middlesbrough Voluntary Development Agency, added ‘volunteers tell us all the time how much they enjoy volunteering. They make such a difference to the lives of local people, and add a lot of value to the economy too. Organisations which sign up to the Charter will be showing a real commitment to supporting our volunteers’.

Developed by the Tees Valley Infrastructure Partnership (TVIP) the Charter gives volunteers across the Tees Valley assurance that their volunteering experience will be as positive and worthwhile as possible.

The Charter does not provide set criteria for how organisations ensure the quality of their volunteering offer, but provides a list of statements, which they pledge to work towards in their volunteering practice.

This gives volunteers the confidence that they are valued and supported but allows organisations the flexibility to apply the Charter statements in a way that suits them.

Organisations will be invited to sign up to the Charter from 1st July 2022, and will receive a Charter pack, including a suite of suggested examples to help develop, embed, and uphold good practice.

For the Darlington area to sign up to the Charter or for any further information please contact TVRA’s Business Development Manager, Julie Thornton at info@teesvalleyruralaction.co.uk or 01642213852.

For other areas please contact:-

Hartlepool – Hartlepower -Tracy.Harvey@hartlepool.gov.uk

Middlesbrough – MVDA – Lesley.spaven@mvdauk.org.uk

Redcar & Cleveland – RCVDA – carole.marshall@rcvda.org.uk

Stockton – Catalyst – lucy.owens@catalyststockton.org

East Cleveland Villages – We need to find some good listeners, is this you?

Lloyds Bank Foundation is  involved in long-term People and Communities work in Redcar and Cleveland (and five other communities across England and Wales). The Great Listeners approach in Redcar and Cleveland will be an essential part of the work, enabling residents to take the lead in researching local needs and views.

Supported by an independent community worker, Nick Beddow (Shared Places), the Great Listeners will be creating  a community-led research approach in Redcar and Cleveland, to find out what 600 local residents feel strongly about in their neighbourhoods: what do they currently like and wish to see continue? What do they dislike and want to see change? And what are their own ideas for making life better for all?

What difference will it make?

Consultation has become a dirty word in the past because communities can feel that they are being used by big organisations in a paper-exercise which leads to nothing changing and no further communication about what’s been discovered in the research.

The Great Listeners approach is tackling this head-on:  it is led by communities listening to each other, connecting and and learning about their different views, needs and priorities, and then using these conversations to create a long-term community voice on local issues. The Great Listeners conversations will be gathered into a report which will be available to communities and used at action-planning and decision-making events to guide everyone towards collaborating better on community priorities. The Great Listeners will be bringing together many voices from many backgrounds and perspectives.

These 600 conversations will be a starting point for learning what’s important to communities; we will be listening to people who often aren’t being heard.

In March 2022 the findings will be shared with communities, service providers and funders, to help them consider future actions to meet local people’s needs. We are ‘learning as we go’ and trying to evolve an approach to community engagement which will continue and be built on further. We hope that the learning from the Great Listeners work will inspire new approaches to how we involve communities in helping to shape local services and influence decision-making.

How it will work:

These conversations will be happening in three areas of Redcar & Cleveland: Grangetown, Redcar and neighbourhoods in the East Cleveland area. These sites were chosen because they offer different environments and we want to see if that creates different priorities for people who live there.

The research will be undertaken by ten residents who will be chatting to others in their neighbourhood from January to March 2022. We will be recruiting the residents from the three areas during November and December, and paying them in shopping vouchers for a couple of hours work each week, over three months. This ensures that people who are receiving benefit payments can be involved, as we will be keeping to a maximum of £20 payment each week in the form of vouchers. Anyone over 16 can be considered. The only qualifications required are that they are good listeners and care deeply about their communities.

How Can Residents Apply?

We will be sending our recruitment poster to communities throughout November and early December to invite people to express their interest in becoming our “Great Listeners” or “Community Explorers” (we’ll ask the recruited residents to decide on their own name).

The first step is for interested residents to contact Nick Beddow by phone or text (07985 570168) or email (nicksharedplaces@gmail.com).

Nick will contact each person to explain the project in more detail, and ask about their interests and social background – where they live, age, involvement in their community, etc.

As we have only ten places available, in mid December we will choose ten people who give us a good mix of backgrounds (where they live, and a mix of all social factors such as ages, gender, ethnicity, mobility, etc).

Everyone who applied will be contacted by Nick before Xmas: those chosen for the ten places will be asked if they still wish to go ahead, and everyone else will be asked if they are willing to be kept on a list of reserve places if any of the ten Great Listeners can’t continue.

In mid-January the ten Great Listeners will meet Nick in a local venue to train together as a team; a three hour meeting will look at their views on the issues locally and begin to use the chatting tools on each other. We will be deciding together the best ways to begin the local chats. Each Great Listener can decide when to use their own time each week (usually two hours to complete ten chats each week), and will be paid by Nick fortnightly at update meetings (usually one hour).  They will also be paid for the training and meetings.

Loan Shark Training – Extra Date Added

Tees Valley Rural Action and Denise Meek, North East Region Liaise Officer from the Illegal Money Lending Team are inviting you to take part in Loan Shark Training via an On line zoom training session which aims to briefly explain what a loan shark is and the support that Illegal Money Lending Team can offer partners and victims.

This training is aimed at new members of staff, new volunteers or staff who want a quick refresher.  This training is also open to any members of our community who may find this useful.

Training session

Tuesday 20th October at 2pm

Thursday 22nd October at 7pm

This training will include a presentation concludes with Questions & Answers.

To secure you’re place please email: info@teesvalleyruralaction.co.uk by Monday 19th October please

For more information from the Stop Loan Shark Team 

Tuesday 20th Loan Shark TrainingStop Loan Shark Training