Greener Kirkcaldy are Volunteer Charter Champions!
Greener Kirkcaldy has signed up as a Charter Champion! This means we agree to the 10 key principles of the Volunteer Charter developed by Volunteering Scotland and the Scottish Trades Union Congress.
Principles of the Volunteer Charter
- Any volunteer activity is a freely made choice of the individual. If there is any compulsion, threat of sanctions or force, then any such activity is not volunteering.
- Volunteers should receive no financial reward for their time however out of pocket expenses should be covered. No one should be prevented from volunteering due to their income. Read more here.
- Effective structures should be put in place to support, train and develop volunteers and their collaboration with paid workers.
- Volunteers and paid workers should be able to carry out their duties in safe, secure and healthy environments that are free from harassment, intimidation, bullying, violence and discrimination
- Volunteers should not carry out duties formerly carried out by paid workers, nor should they be used to disguise the effects of non-filled vacancies or cuts in services.
- Volunteers should not be used instead of paid workers or undercut their pay and conditions of service nor undertake the work of paid workers during industrial disputes.
- Volunteers should not be used to reduce contract costs nor be a replacement for paid workers in competitive tenders or procurement processes.
- Volunteers should not be used to bypass minimum wage legislation nor generate profit for owners.
- Volunteers and paid workers should be given the opportunity to contribute to the development and monitoring of volunteering policies and procedures, including the need for policies that resolve any issues or conflicts that may arise.
- Volunteer roles should be designed and negotiated around the needs and interests of volunteers, involving organisations and wider stakeholders. Finding legitimacy and avoiding exploitation through consensus depends on mutual trust and respect.
What does this mean in practice for our volunteers?
A free choice to volunteer
Volunteers are at the heart of the Greener Kirkcaldy team. They support our wide range of projects across climate action, energy, food and growing, travel and community engagement and development.
People are free to choose the role within our projects that suits them best.
“Although my skills as a gardener would have been an obvious fit with the organisation’s gardening projects I was keen to learn something new. I expressed an interest in the role of cycle refurbishment volunteer.
“I enjoy cycling but had little knowledge of bike maintenance. I felt this would encourage me to cycle more and allow me to gain new skills, while doing something useful to benefit my community.
“I really appreciate that I was given the chance to choose the volunteer role that suited my needs and not cajoled into a role that could have been more obviously useful to the organisation.”
Susan Thores, Lang Toun Cycles Volunteer
“I originally responded to a request to join Greener Kirkcaldy’s Pantry team. While I was there I mentioned just how much I love cooking. Even though I was needed in the pantry the team allowed me to change roles. I’m now part of the Community Kitchen team – and I’m loving it!”
Natalia Fraser, Community Food Volunteer
Supporting our volunteers
It’s vital important to us to ensure our volunteers have a safe, secure and healthy environment in which to carry out their role. We have sound policies in place and we review these every year. We are happy to pay volunteer expenses to allow people to participate. We fully support our volunteers on a day-to-day basis. This support comes from both our team leaders and our Volunteer Coordinator.
Each volunteer receives a handbook. This outlines expectations on both sides and how to report any concerns.
Greener Kirkcaldy is a community-led charity that brings people together and listens to what the community expects from us. Volunteers, just like everyone else in our community, can become Greener Kirkcaldy members for free. This gives them a say at our Annual General Meeting.
We invited our volunteers to give their views on our work, to help develop our new Strategic Plan. Volunteers also have regular opportunities to help steer the activities within their chosen project area.
Volunteer roles with Greener Kirkcaldy allow people to develop a range of skills and experiences. Participants tell us they benefit in many different ways.
- building confidence
- learning soft and hard skills
- gaining training certifications
- combating isolation
- feeling part of the community
- gaining a sense of worth
We don’t create volunteer roles to reduce costs or replace paid work. We provide opportunities to allow volunteers to learn and grow.
We adhere to equality and diversity guidelines. And we aim to offer opportunities that are purposeful within the community.
We recently asked our volunteers what they got out of their role with Greener Kirkcaldy. Here are some of the responses:
- unlike paid work
- feeling better about life in general
- meeting new people
- feeling less isolated
- feeling valued
- learning to reduce food waste
- doing something I enjoy and fit into,
- eating healthier as a result of cooking meals
- highlight of my week!
Training and development
Ongoing support and training to allow continual development is as important for our volunteers as it is for our staff. We have robust support processes in place. We offer inductions and training both at the team and organisation level. Both our team leads and Volunteer Coordinator organise training.
Formal training is structured and directed. We offer accredited training including:
- Velotech Bronze level training for our volunteer bike mechanics at Lang Toun Cycles.
- REHIS food hygiene and allergen awareness training for our Community Food Volunteers.
- Cycle Ride Leader training for our volunteer ride leaders.
We also have an open door policy, where volunteers can ask questions or request development at any time.
“Thank you Greener Kirkcaldy for believing that I was worth investing in. I learned loads on the mechanics course and really enjoyed it. I was able to fix an issue I had with my own bike within seconds! I’m looking forward to being able to practice and master what I learned.”
Janet Kerr, Lang Toun Cycles Volunteer
If you’d like to volunteer, take a look at our current opportunities or email our Volunteer Coordinator Caroline at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can get involved.