As summers here and you have been thinking about ways to engage young people in interesting, fun and purposeful activities. Many young people who want to volunteer their time are turned away due to bureaucracy and lack of innovative thinking.
The Mayor of London has funded training and resources to help charities involve more young volunteers. These were shared with groups during May’s Volunteer Co-ordinator’s Forum.
– Insurance can easily be changed to include younger volunteers – talk to your insurance providers about the roles they will be doing and how they will be supported, it shouldn’t increase costs.
– Creating short, flexible roles makes it easier for young people to get involved and it maybe easier and fun for you to manage a short term project.
– What damage are we doing by turning people away when they are young – it’s up to us to find ways to remove the barriers.
Frequently asked questions:
True or False
- By law, a young person under 16 cannot volunteer for more than 5 hours per day
False – there’s no time limits on volunteering, but it’s good practice to follow guidelines on employment which on a non-school day is up to 5 hours.
- Organisations do not need to get parental consent for volunteers who are over the age of 16
False. Parental responsibility extends to the age of 18. However, for a 16-17 year old, you do not need consent if they are married or living independently.
- Staff who work with 16-17 year old volunteers do not need a DBS check
True – For the purpose of DBS checks, 16 and 17 year olds who are volunteers or employees are not considered vulnerable, and therefore staff or volunteers working with them are not eligible for checks.
- Under health and safety legislation, risk assessments specific to the individual must be carried out before someone under 18 can volunteer
False. This legislation does not specify this for young volunteers but it is always good practice to carry out regular, comprehensive risk assessments when working with volunteers and you may want to identify any particular risks for young volunteers such lack of maturity when dealing with customers or the need for more regular breaks.
Four Great Reasons for Involving Young Volunteers:
- Young people want to volunteer to improve their skills and to support other people – we should give them the chance.
- Younger volunteers can bring new ideas and knowledge.
- Helping young people understand the work of your charity can encourage them to support the cause for life or to become professionally involved in the future.
- Volunteering gives young people the confidence to become active members of our society and helps build positive connections in our community.