Korina Tsioni is the WCVA Quality Mark Development Officer. Here she talks to BulliesOut about their recent renewal of the Investing in Volunteers (IiV) quality mark and why other organisations should get involved.
Established in May 2006, BulliesOut are one of the UK’s most dedicated and ambitious anti-bullying charities. Their award-winning work is delivered across the UK and each year, through their work with schools, colleges, youth and community settings, they provide education, training and support to thousands of young people.
Through their innovative, interactive workshops and training programmes, they use their experience, energy and passion to focus on awareness, prevention, building empathy and positive peer relationships all of which are crucial in creating a nurturing environment in which young people and staff can thrive.
BulliesOut have successfully achieved their third renewal and are growing stronger with their team of 20 volunteers, in a wide variety of posts! I spoke to their Founder/CEO, Linda James MBE about the organisation’s IiV journey:
What have been the overall benefits of achieving Investing in Volunteers?
At BulliesOut, through mentoring, engaging workshops and training programmes, we’re on a mission to deal with bullying. Achieving the Award shows how much we value our amazing volunteers and the important part they play within the charity.
We only have one part-time employee so without our team of committed volunteers we wouldn’t be able to deliver our vital services to those affected by bullying.
How would you describe any challenges of the Investing in Volunteers journey on your organisation?
The journey to Investing in Volunteers has had a relatively low impact on the organisation, although it did take quite some time for us to be able to arrange the final assessment day.
What impact has the Investing in Volunteers journey had on your volunteers?
Our volunteers have seen that our enthusiasm to achieve this award in the first place and then to continue to achieve it, is very important to us as an organisation and we are willing to invest in them as volunteers and what it takes to achieve the award.
Our volunteers have felt part of the journey and we hope they feel more valued as a result.
In your opinion, what is the importance of the Investing in Volunteers quality standard for your sector?
The quality standard of Investing in Volunteers is really important for organisations within our sector.
It demonstrates a clear and intrinsic value placed on the contribution volunteers can make to an organisation and in many cases shows how organisations would not exist or thrive without its volunteers.
BulliesOut are driven by their vision to empower and inspire children and young people to overcome bullying and achieve their full potential. Their mission is to support individuals, schools, youth and community settings affected by bullying.
Do you have any advice for other organisations on how to make the most out of their IiV journey?
Our advice to any other organisation considering the IiV journey would be to research the quality standard beforehand to ensure that when you do decide to take the journey you have given yourself the best possible opportunity to achieve the standard.
We’d really like to showcase innovative practice between achievers. Can you share one, or more, examples of good/ innovative practice now in place as a result of your IiV journey?
Our best example of good practice is to have great dialogue with any prospective volunteer at the beginning of their journey.
This ensures that their expectations are managed and also, should they go on to join the team, that they are fully aware of what will be required of them.
You have held Investing in Volunteers for years – a fantastic achievement. What have been the driving factors behind the decision to renew your Investing in Volunteers award?
We strongly believe that having made the effort to achieve the standard in the first place, it would be a backward step to not look at continuing to achieve the standard.
We also believe re-achieving the award highlights our commitment to our fantastic team of volunteers. It also enables us to review our policies and procedures and to keep everything regularly updated.
We’d like to know about any creative initiatives involving volunteers that have had a significant impact on tackling a problem/issue in your local community?
Our most creative initiative involving volunteers is our Youth Engagement programme which provides an opportunity for young people to volunteer with the Charity.
This was developed after numerous requests from young people who wanted to get involved in the work that we do. It also provides them with an opportunity to receive skills-based training and to work towards a nationally recognised award.