Today’s focus for volunteer’s week is young people’s volunteering.
Back in February it was National Student Volunteer’s week, and a blog post was written by a former student who started their volunteering journey at the age of 14. The blog post highlights the lasting impact volunteering has had for them demonstrating the importance of offering young people opportunities to volunteer. You can find out more about their story here.
Young people’s volunteering stats over recent years have shown that increasingly more young people are interested in volunteering.
From 2010/11 to 2014/15 there was 52% real terms increase in the number of young people volunteering. There are various programmes that have been credited with this increase, such as National Citizen Service and Step Up to Serve. So how can organisation at local level encourage more younger people to volunteer with them?
As with any volunteer role, it needs to be appealing to the potential volunteer you are looking for, so it is worth looking over your volunteer role profiles to see if they are attractive to young volunteers.
At what age can young people volunteer?
In terms of practicalities there is no legal reason why young people cannot volunteer. However, as people under the age of 18 (or under 16 if employed) fall within the classification of a ‘vulnerable group’ voluntary organisations should ensure they take steps to protect them. Steps such as;
- Carrying out risk assessments to decide whether placing a young person in a volunteer role would put them, or the people they work with, at risk.
- You should also seek to get parental/guardian consent for volunteers under 18. So as a parent/guardian can consent, they also should be given information about the volunteer role they will be undertaking, tasks that they will be doing, information about where and when they will be volunteering and any other relevant information about your organisation.
- Organisations should also check with their insurance provider to check that under 18’s are covered to undertake volunteering. Organisations should also be aware that insurance cover (public or employer liability) does not automatically cover people under 16, so it is important to check that there is no lower age limit in your policy.
The next steps
It is also important to ensure that you have the relevant policies in place in terms of health and safety and safeguarding. If you would like to know more about involving young volunteers with your organisation and want some further help and support, please feel free to get in touch with the Volunteer Centre at One Walsall.