Community groups invited to take advantage of volunteers forum event in Gainsborough this month

Heather Arnatt, area co-ordinator for Voluntary Services Centre in West Lindsey
Heather Arnatt, area co-ordinator for Voluntary Services Centre in West Lindsey

Finding volunteers to support your organisation is becoming more difficult than ever, with changing priorities, less time available from local people, and a shift towards flexible activities that fit around the lifestyles of the community, writes Heather Arnatt, area co-ordinator at Voluntary Centre Services West Lindsey.

The challenge is even greater where volunteers need a little more time or support to find the right thing.

For voluntary organisations that are already stretched for capacity, creating the time to offer the right support to volunteers can be even more of a challenge.

One of the ways to develop new skills and abilities to support the volunteer network is by networking and building partnerships with other organisations, to share good practice and also strengthen the network of support for volunteers themselves.

Since 2008 Voluntary Centre Services (VCS) has operated the quarterly West Lindsey voluntary sector forum, offering support and advice to community organisations and volunteer managers, and brokering partnerships that have reached long beyond the two hours those involved have spent in a room together.

Topics discussed include challenges around recruiting and retaining volunteers, information about local funding opportunities, sharing of new project activities and opportunities to build partnerships and networks with others.

The next forum takes place on Wednesday, January 23 at Uphills Community Centre in Gainsborough.

The afternoon forum will run from 12.30pm to 3pm and will include a networking lunch and the opportunity to share your local project activities and meet other organisations experiencing the same challenges.

All community groups, regardless of their legal status of size are welcome at the event.

Attendance is completely free of charge but VCS does ask that you register ahead through the website at http://www.voluntarycentreservices.org.uk/ and follow the ‘upcoming events’ link on the right- hand side of the page.

VCS is always looking for new community groups and organisations that are looking for more participants for their activities, or need support to develop their projects.

VCS offers a free advice service for community groups from the simple bouncing of ideas through to support to develop new groups.

In addition, it can advertise volunteering opportunities and signpost volunteers to activities available in the local area.

VCS would love to find out more about what you do and how they and you can work together for our communities.

If you’d like support with recruiting volunteers, or would like advice about becoming a volunteer, pop in to the VCS offices at the Guildhall in Marshall’s Yard in Gainsborough call 01427 613470 or email westlindsey@voluntarycentreservices.org.uk.

Alternatively, visit the website at www.voluntarycentreservices.org.uk