• Online Event Recap: Big Questions, Big Ideas – Volunteering

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    • Online Event Recap: Big Questions, Big Ideas – Volunteering
    • by Tim Cairns
      Director of Policy

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    From October to December, CTA is holding a series of free online events looking at important topics for the community transport sector, and what life might look like for our members over the next few months and into 2021.  Throughout lock-down, our online events, from our weekly member drop in calls to our Recovery and Restart webinar in July, have been great ways for members to connect with each other and the CTA team in what has been a challenging and uncertain time. Your feedback has been that you wanted to see more opportunities for online events looking at the important topics and issues facing the community transport sector at the moment.

    You can find our full programme of events here.

    Volunteers are the backbone of community transport. As transport services navigate circuit breakers, local tiers and lockdowns, how can community transport services protect, help and support our volunteers?

    On 26 November, we were joined by an excellent panel for our latest Big Questions, Big Ideas webinar. Our panel looked back at volunteering in 2020 and looked forward to some of the technology and new thinking on volunteering and how to make the volunteer experience better. The panel gave some interesting ideas for community transport providers to consider as they try to help volunteers thrive as well as create new and exciting volunteering opportunities.

    Denise Hayward, Chief Executive of Volunteer Now, Jamie Noble, a researcher specialising in technology and health and Emily Dougherty, Project Manager for the Asylum Seekers Community Transport Scheme at the African Community Centre, took part in the discussion.

    Denise set out the volunteering landscape of 2020. During the spring lockdown hundreds of thousands of people across the UK stepped forward to volunteer, many for the first time. Denise discussed the reasons why new volunteers stepped forward, why many of those volunteers didn’t get placed in opportunities and what we can do to offer opportunities to those volunteers. Drawing on the latest research and her experience as Chief Executive of an organisation that operates a car scheme, Denise put forward practical and real world advice on how to operate volunteering opportunities better.

    Jamie looked to the future. For many community transport providers, creating new volunteering opportunities for those in the 25-40 age group, has been problematic. Jamie set out his research on technology, focusing on app based solutions and car clubs that provide rewards, gamification and ways to make volunteering more easily accessible.

    Emily brought the perspective of CT operators, giving insight on how she recruits, retains and develops volunteers, particularly in the pandemic. Emily brought a members’ perspective on technology and how CTs can best utilise tech and keep volunteers engaged.

    Panellists were able to react to audience polls that provided members perspectives, with some surprising results which led to fascinating discussion and thoughts. During the discussion, Denise mentioned the Volunteer Now ‘Volunteer Investment to Value’ calculator tool which can be accessed here

    Get involved in volunteering technology research

    Jamie referenced a new app that he was working on for volunteer driving. The app is now in development and Jamie was hoping to get some feedback from community transport providers The app can be found here and Jamie has asked that it be accessed on a smartphone for testing.  Please note that the signup section in the app is a ‘dummy’ sign up. That means no emails will be sent or data collected. So when you get to the phone verification and SMS validation part, no SMS will be sent, just click on through. Similarly, no passport or other document needs to be uploaded, just pretend you’ve uploaded it. Once you have used the app, Jamie would like some feedback by completing a survey which can be accessed here. 

    If you’re interested in attending any of our other events, take a look at ctauk.org/online-events and if you have any questions about any of the topics covered in this event, you can get in touch with our advice service at advice@ctauk.org. You can also find our coronavirus guidance for community transport providers at ctauk.org/covid19-guidance.

    Event Recording and Slides

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