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P35 Volunteer line management training and support
  1. Louise McCartney
  1. Douglas Macmillan Hospice, Stoke on Trent, England


Introduction “Volunteers are vital to the future of Hospice care”, as are those who manage volunteers.

The management of volunteers and acceptance of responsibilities was inconsistent across our Hospice: limited allocated line mangers; fear of managing situations and volunteers “wrong”. It was essential to develop a line manager programme, training and support as volunteer numbers increased and to effectively support our community of 900 + volunteers. The aims:

  • Delegate responsibility of volunteers to departments e.g. training

  • Engage volunteers at departmental level

  • Develop skills to manage volunteers effectively

  • Adherence to policies and procedures

Methods Multi-step approach ensured the programme was manageable:

  1. Redesign and create policies and procedures, e.g. resolving difficulties, through consulting with staff and volunteers

    • Outlining responsibilities of line managers, volunteers and Voluntary Services (VS)

    • Provide clear structure to address and manage problems

  2. Establish role descriptions allocating volunteer line management departmentally

  3. Line manager training

    • External trainer

    • VS led sessions

  4. Accessible information

    • Departmental folders

    • VS intranet page

  5. Bi-monthly line manager meetings: maintain volunteer data, discuss initiatives and problems

  6. Annual line managers training/updates

  7. New staff inductions

Conclusion Successes:

  • Clear management within agreed procedures and responsibilities

  • Departmental volunteer line managers allocated

  • Volunteer training and development of roles has increased due to increased knowledge and confidence of line managers working with volunteers

  • Volunteer engagement and commitment has been fostered through good people management and treating volunteers fairly, resulting in increased volunteer numbers and higher retention rates

  • Volunteer line managers seek advice on how to address problems and manage volunteers as opposed to expecting VS to deal with all volunteer requirements

  • Reduced dependence on VS enabling focus to be on data maintenance and strategy

  • Created a peer support network amongst line managers

Due to the successes and learning from the experience we are undertaking the process for remote retail managers.

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