T.E.D. has some wonderful volunteers and the team is always developing and evolving as the programme itself develops. Recently, we have been looking at the challenges of recruiting volunteers for specific roles in an area as large and diverse as East Lindsey. The challenge is that we may have, for example, plenty of trained Age Friendly Business volunteers in Skegness but the demand by businesses wanting to join the scheme may be in Horncastle. The other side of this challenge is that we may have trained volunteers with nothing to do at the present time which could lead to us losing volunteers.
We have come up with an idea that we feel will iron out these barriers and keep us all happy; we are not going to recruit people to specific roles any longer, e.g. Age Friendly Business Volunteers, etc. Instead, we are recruiting just a single role of Community Volunteers and asking people to multi-task and cross over between roles, as the developing programme requirements demand.
We started to try this out last month and it has been well received so far and we are confident that it will lead to a richer volunteering experience. If we are told of a volunteering opportunity we can now contact the volunteers in the specific area who are trained for that task and they can chose if they want to get involved, or not. This is working especially well in situations where we are asked to take part in ‘one-off’ events etc. and it is giving our volunteers opportunities to try out new situations, meet new people and gain new skills – a win/win situation.
The T.E.D. volunteers have been busy recently with many and varied tasks, all of which give invaluable support to the programme, the communities and the staff. The recent changes to the way the volunteers work within the T.E.D. project have already had a positive impact, with volunteers telling us that they enjoy the feeling of getting involved with the varied opportunities they are being offered.
Christine from Alford who initially applied to be a Befriending Volunteer has been helping to stage an evaluation event. “I have really enjoyed being out and about in the area talking with people about T.E.D. I love meeting new people and hearing about the services on offer in their communities. People are so friendly.”
This is a snap-shot of what the T.E.D volunteers have been doing in the last month or so:
- Steve, Sue and Peter who are all Age Friendly Business volunteers, were at Peter Dyer Court in Mablethorpe to help the residents there get started with using computers, smart phones, tablets, etc. at the ‘High Tea and I.T.’ event. This was a taster session for the residents and was so successful that it is now running on a monthly basis.
- Sheila and Christine were delivering leaflets to households in the community at Willoughby and Welton le Marsh areas in preparation for Evaluation events. They attended the events and were able to talk with the residents who attended about T.E.D. and encouraged them to give their opinions about their local service provision, what they liked about their village, definitions of loneliness and isolation and the potential part that T.E.D. could play in the area. There was plenty of coffee and cake of course!
- Rob is helping out at the weekly Luncheon Club in Mablethorpe.
- Volunteers hold a ‘Coffee, Cake and Conversation’ at the Storehouse in Skegness. (This is a weekly event for people over 50 and is free to attend with a £1.50 cover charge for refreshments, with your T.E.D. membership card.)
- Volunteers host a Tea with T.E.D. at Elizabeth Court in Louth.
- Lynda and Julie were planning and promoting the launch of a Friendship Club in Horncastle which is being supported by T.E.D. This weekly group is meeting every Wednesday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm at the Youth Centre, it is a free event and open to everyone over 50.
- Volunteers in Louth are forming a Friendship Group – more details to follow.
You can see that the volunteers are contributing a huge amount to their communities – we are really proud of them and their dedication and generosity. Some of these volunteers are amongst the first of our multi-tasking team – they have risen to the challenge that being a T.E.D. volunteer offers and are making a real, genuine difference to others.
If you would like to know more about volunteering with T.E.D. please contact Lynda on 01529 301970 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about the T.E.D. programme visit their website at http://tedineastlindsey.co.uk/