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P-251  A tailored approach to volunteer learning and development
  1. Morven MacLean
  1. Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), Edinburgh, UK


Having a well-informed, skilled and motivated volunteer force enables us to deliver the best possible service to children, young people and their families. Like most hospices, our organisation requires staff and volunteers to undertake statutory/mandatory training in order to ensure the safety of its’ people and the quality of services delivered to children, young people and their families.

We have adopted a tailored and inclusive approach to volunteer learning and development. Volunteers receive relevant content, appropriate to their role, and it is delivered in a format that is cost-effective, accessible and scalable. The development of a core learning matrix and e-learning platform unique to volunteers was developed by the Voluntary Services Team in conjunction with volunteers.

This provided a solution to the volunteer statutory/mandatory learning dilemma – balancing legislative requirements with a volunteer engagement and inclusion agenda. Volunteers complete a short learning package that is accessible, tailored and proportional to the level of risk attached to their role. Statutory/mandatory training has been rebranded as volunteer core learning and assessments that had in the past provoked anxiety have been removed.

A communications plan shared with staff ensured consistent positive messaging to volunteers and volunteer communications clearly sold the benefits of the new system to volunteers. The matrix and e-learning platform were launched with volunteers in April 2016 and feedback to date has been excellent. Our organisation now has an approach to volunteer core learning that complements the direction of travel in volunteer engagement. Lack of time and too much bureaucracy are well-documented barriers to volunteering. Both these barriers have been addressed by this project.

Our organisation has received a lot of interest from other hospices in our volunteer core learning matrix which is why we are keen to share this piece of work more widely at the Hospice UK conference.

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