Hopefully your volunteers will gain many benefits from being part of your volunteering scheme: new skills, new friends and work experience being just a few.
It's important to remember though that your young volunteers are working for nothing so it's your responsibility to make sure they feel that their contribution is valued. You can show appreciation for the work of your volunteers in a number of ways, both formal and informal.
Formal recognition could include:
- Accreditation via a recognised body (linking in with local schemes such as Duke of Edinburgh's Award,Youth Achievement Award or Arts Award).
- Special SRC volunteers' certificate, downloadable from www.readingagency.org.uk from April.
- Presentation and celebration events. You can give certificates out at the same celebration event as for the children taking part in the Challenge; this means the children can thank the volunteers for all their support and help, as well as staff.
Ways to give informal recognition include:
- Say 'thank you' for the work that the volunteer has done
- Make sure you greet young people as they arrive on duty
- Give young people positive feedback about their work and their personal qualities
- Praise them in front of their peers
- Allow them to represent the library service in public meetings
- Enlist them in training new volunteers and staff
Some kind of regular opportunity for socialising with other volunteers is likely to be one way of keeping your young people happy but there may be numerous other things that they would like. If you're not sure what would make your young volunteers feel most valued the best thing to do is to ask them.
The following accreditation schemes are available, providing a range options to suit young people's interests and motivation.
Duke of Edinburgh's Award
Youth Achievement Award
Welsh Bacc/International Bacc
Arts Award and the Summer Reading Challenge
Young people volunteering during the Summer Reading Challenge develop valuable skills and knowledge that can help them with future employment opportunities. Volunteers can also use their experiences towards achieving an Arts Award. Use the below guide to help map volunteer asks against the Bronze Arts Award.
Download guide to how volunteers can help with Discover
Download guide to young volunteers completing Arts Award
Duke of Edinburgh and the Summer Reading Challenge
The Reading Agency are officially a Volunteering Approved Activity Provider for The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, Summer Reading Challenge volunteering is now nationally recognised towards the DofE Award (particularly relevant for bronze). In order for Summer Reading Challenge volunteering hours to count, young people need to have their contribution validated by a member of library staff who acts as their 'assessor', which can get agreed when the volunteer signs-up to the opportunity.
If you would like further information, please contact Nici West.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out more resources on Summer Reading Challenge volunteering
Read more about the benefits of involving volunteers.