Aber Food Surplus have been awarded the Investing in Volunteers quality mark for the first time. Volunteer Coordinator, Laura Cooper tells us more.
Investing in Volunteers (IiV) is the UK quality standard for all organisations involving volunteers. It is unique in that it is the only standard that focuses on volunteer management. IiV aims to improve the quality of the volunteering experience for all volunteers and demonstrates that organisations value the enormous contribution made by their volunteers.
Our volunteers are highly valued and core to our organisation, and this quality mark feels like a really important demonstration of this. This is our first time attempting to achieve the award and we are delighted.
We worked towards our IiV certification as a team. We are in the process of developing a flat organisational approach across volunteers and staff so that’s how we addressed our IiV process. Our IiV assessors were brilliant – they were supportive of our ambitions and approach throughout the process.
The experience has been tremendously valuable to our organisation and we are delighted to come away with the recognition of the quality standard at the end of it. The experience proved to be a brilliant embodiment of our flat structure approach and really rewarding for everyone involved.
INVOLVING VOLUNTEERS AT EVERY STAGE
Co-creation is really important to us, and our volunteers were involved in all aspects of the Investing in Volunteers process. Receiving the award recognises the work of the organisation, the approach we take, and the opportunities that we offer. News of the Award has come at a really fitting time, as it follows swiftly from the recent success of being awarded £439,125 in funding from The National Lottery Community Fund – securing the future of our innovative, not-for-profit social enterprise for the next three years.
WHAT WE’LL DO NEXT
Aber Food Surplus, based in Aberystwyth, is a pioneering not-for-profit organisation with a vision of an accessible, ethical and sustainable food system in which producers and customers are both active citizens with the knowledge and tools to create change.
Our immediate future plans centre around securing a new larger community space, with the capacity for people to come together for learning, action and creativity. We will facilitate cross-community and collective actions tackling the systemic issues surrounding food production, distribution, use and waste.
We will pursue funding to develop volunteer centred employment opportunities, and grow our volunteer team, thereby increasing accessibility to environmental volunteering opportunities, and investigate ways to quantify and evidence the benefits collaborating with us has on mental health and wellbeing.
We are living in increasingly challenging times, and by creating a positive space to explore and undertake environmentally focussed action we intend to build resilience in the wider food system, our community, and the individuals we interact with, especially our volunteers.
GET IN TOUCH
If you are interested in taking climate action and joining a supportive and passionate volunteer team fill in a volunteer application form on our website or pick one up from the ECO Food Sharing Hub.
Social media: @aberfoodsurplus
ECO Hub Address: 15 Chalybeate Street, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 1EJ
ABOUT INVESTING IN VOLUNTEERS
Further information about the standard can be found on WCVA’s IiV page. The standard will enhance volunteer management and is rigorous but is designed to be simple to implement and not to generate large amounts of paperwork.