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Volunteer Recruitment, Training and Support Policy

This procedure applies to all volunteers who are involved with running Songs & Smiles sessions, whether as a Group Leader or Group Welcomer.

The purpose of this procedure is:

  • to ensure that every volunteer is fully aware of their roles and responsibilities

  • to give volunteers the support and guidance they need to feel fully confident in their role and to enjoy their volunteering experience

  • to ensure The Together Project follows best industry practice

This procedure should be read alongside our policies and procedures on:

  • code of conduct

  • risk management

  • safeguarding

  • complaints and allegations

Our approach to recruitment

The Together Project’s volunteer recruitment procedure is as follows:

1.     Following an initial enquiry, the candidate fills in an application form

2.     The Together Project reviews it and invites shortlisted candidates for a face-to-face meeting (generally at a Songs & Smiles session)

3.     If The Together Project and the candidate both feel the role would be a good fit, The Together Project takes up two independent references

4.     If the references are deemed acceptable, the candidate is accepted as a volunteer

5.     The volunteer completes an online training session, as well as a Dementia Friends Information Session (if they are not already a Dementia Friend)

6.     The volunteer is given a Volunteer Handbook (digital or hard copy) containing step-by-step instructions on how to run a Songs & Smiles session together with The Together Project’s policies, and gives their written agreement to abide by its contents

7.     A Group Welcomer is given on-the-job training at at least one Songs & Smiles session prior to starting their role. They may act as a helper during this initial session but will be accompanied by an experienced staff member from The Together Project. A Group Leader attends a minimum of eight on-the-job training sessions at Songs & Smiles prior to starting their role. They will lead elements of the session during this period but will be accompanied by an experienced staff member from The Together Project.

Depending on timing, a volunteer may complete a training session before references have been received, but will not be fully accepted at that point. 

Our approach to training and induction

Every Songs & Smiles volunteer will complete an online training session. This session will include:

  • the ethos and aims of The Together Project

  • the benefits of Songs & Smiles for our service users and communities

  • dealing with situations that may occur

  • the most important points from our policies and procedures

Volunteers will also receive a Dementia Friends Information Session, either in-person or online (at the choice of the volunteer). This session will be delivered by a trained Dementia Friends Champion, who is a volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Society. The content of this session is entirely set by the Alzheimer’s Society and cannot be amended or adapted by The Together Project. It sits as a complementary element to our own training to help our volunteers better understand the challenges that some of our service users may face and how best to support them.

We collect volunteer feedback on the effectiveness of the training and use this to identify any gaps and improve future sessions.

The support we offer to volunteers

All volunteers will be assigned a Manager who will be their primary point of contact. The manager will:

  • manage the volunteer’s holiday and absence periods

  • answer questions and provide guidance

  • respond to any concerns or allegations raised

  • keep the volunteer informed of updates to policies, procedures, training opportunities etc

  • provide ongoing support as required on an individual basis

  • send a regular Volunteer Newsletter by email, updating volunteers on The Together Project’s latest news, success stories, testimonials from service users, events and so forth

We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually. This policy was last reviewed on 8th May 2019 by Louise Goulden.