This week, 1-7 June 2021 is the UK’s National Volunteers Week.
Volunteers make a huge contribution to global health and wellbeing, by freely giving their skills, time and expertise to support individuals, local community groups, care service providers and much more. They form a vital element of the global vision for a brighter future in health and care for all.
Over the years there has been ample research and evidence which demonstrates the huge benefit volunteers provide to care organisations, senior living providers, beneficiaries and the wider community. These benefits are far reaching and go beyond physical help and support; in 2017/18, the voluntary sector as a whole contributed £18.2bn to the UK economy. This is equivalent to about 0.9% of GDP.
We’re celebrating the UK’s Volunteer’s Week 2021 by raising a round of applause for every volunteer, not just in the UK, but around the globe and through our work, we’re leading the call for setting an ambitious benchmark on quality standards in the voluntary sector. We strongly believe that every volunteer experience matters, and quality assured training and skill development for all volunteers hugely benefits every party involved within the volunteering process.
Why volunteers and quality standards are so important
Across communities and senior living services there are hundreds of different roles available to volunteers, welcoming the diversity of prospective and current volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to find a role which reflects their passions, skills, experience and availability.
Each and every role no matter how big or small makes a difference. Collectively, the help and time given by volunteers and the benefits they bring to senior living services, beneficiaries and local communities is simply huge.
In the senior living sector, volunteers form the bridge between care homes and communities. Together, they work to build cohesive communities and enable active citizenship for every person in their reach.
Volunteers are a critical component of senior living services and with the correct training can deliver much needed high-quality care, in many forms, where it’s needed most. For many senior living services across the globe, volunteers are viewed as partners with, not substitutes for, skilled staff.
Consequently, formal volunteers qualify for and deserve a standard of training and treatment. Investing in volunteers leads to excellent practice in management, more meaningful volunteer experiences and more effective delivery of voluntary care services.
Quality standards, where applicable to volunteers, demonstrate an organisation’s commitment to investment in volunteers and the continual improvement and quality assurance for those needing additional support, the public and wider organisations.
In applying these standards, organisations benefit from improving their work with volunteers, enhancing their local and national reputation and raising their profile as a deliverer of gold standard quality assured care across all aspects of care delivery.
Standards in volunteering, then, are crucial in enabling organisations to execute a benchmark of quality allowing care service providers to better attract, manage and retain a skilled voluntary workforce while simultaneously minimising risk and safety appropriately.
A big thank you to all volunteers
In the spirit of the UK’s Volunteer’s Week 2021 and every week, every year, Standards Wise International would like to say a huge thank you to all volunteers around the world for bringing communities together and for all incredible differences made to real lives.
Oscar Wilde, Irish poet and playwright once said, “the smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention” and this sentiment is embodied no better than by the continual acts of kindness and service from each and every volunteer.