Improving volunteer diversity for community programmes
Community projects and initiatives often require a diverse range of people and skill sets for them to operate successfully. Attracting and retaining these volunteers can be a challenge but can offer great rewards for both sides.
Tempo Time Credits can be used by organisations to engage with new groups or to encourage more active involvement from service users in the design and delivery of services. Involving service users in this way can shape services so that they better respond to needs. Organisations and providers are connected through the Time Credit network and are able to make better use of community assets.
In Wales, we have been working with hyper local grassroots groups, organisations and community partners to develop more opportunities to engage with diverse and under-represented communities.
We are proud to support this type of bottom-up volunteering. Encouraging more people from different walks of life into volunteering, developing confidence and increasing skills alongside removing barriers and building more connected and cohesive communities.
The beauty of Time Credits is their flexibility. They recognise time and contribution; they are not necessarily always about formal/traditional volunteering opportunities. They allow staff working with the most vulnerable the opportunity to recognise and reward as they see fit. Often starting small and building up over a period of time. This might be as simple as helping to wash the dishes, making a cup of coffee, or sharing an experience.
Tempo Time Credits allow people to get engaged slowly, on their terms and help to build up their confidence and self-esteem gradually, before feeling ready to take on a more formal or regular volunteering position. Then through the choice of where to use the Time Credits earned, they feel incentivised and valued to continue their volunteer journey.
The Tempo Time Credit Cymru programme works with a wide range of community groups across Wales encouraging involvement from a diverse group of volunteers and people from different backgrounds. From The Ethnic Youth Support Team (EYST) whose peer mentors earn Time Credits to support young people, to volunteers who support the Chinese Community Centre in Newport. As well as Gypsies and Travellers Wales who use Time Credits to engage young people in their employment and volunteering journey through a Tempo Social Prescribing model.
In Carmarthenshire, the Llanelli LGBTQ+ Support Group use Time Credits to recognise volunteers’ time to run support groups and peer-to-peer support. In Swansea volunteers at the African Community Centre earn Time Credits for offering practical help and support to their peers. The Zimbabwe Newport Volunteering Association have also recently joined the network to use Tempo Time Credits to improve their volunteer engagement.
In Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire, Sunflower Wales are recognising the time that Ukrainian refugees give to their local community through cooking Ukrainian food, community gardening and beach litter picking. Ukrainian families are volunteering their time to give back to the communities that are supporting them. The Time Credits earned give them the opportunity to stay well, connected and resilient through accessing a wide range of activities and experiences.
Time Credits value everyone’s time equally, whether given formally or informally and lead to changes in aspiration and confidence. This enables people to engage with systems in different ways, often for the first time, providing a tool for professionals to tap into the assets of communities. Time Credits enable concepts such as asset-based community development to become a tangible part and parcel of normal service delivery and support organisations to engage the many and find new ways of engaging people who would not normally get involved!
This diversity in volunteering can only benefit the communities they serve. If you’re looking at creating an inclusive community programme or applying for funding to support a new community initiative get in touch with our team and see how Tempo Time Credits can help you create a culture of inclusivity, acceptance and support through events and activities.