We were pleased to welcome more than 90 people to this timely conference in the European Year of Volunteering 2011 – volunteers and Friends as well as volunteer managers, co-ordinators and consultants. Speakers from gardens and heritage and volunteer organisations stimulated much discussion. There were talks from gardens and arboreta on developing a volunteer strategy, attracting and retaining a diverse range of volunteers, developing professional gardeners from a volunteer scheme, managing change through volunteers, volunteers giving guided tours, working with students, employer-supported volunteering, and more.
Consultants gave much useful advice and information on volunteers and the law, the Volunteer Rights Enquiry and Charter for Strengthening Relations between Paid Staff and Volunteers, volunteer programmes and policy and monitoring and evaluating a volunteer programme. The importance of having a clear strategy, policy and programme for volunteers, with proper management and training for both volunteers and paid staff was stressed.
On a visit to Westonbirt National Arboretum, we heard about some of the help given by their many volunteers and discussed management, training and diversity of volunteers. Our thanks to Cheryl Pearson and Hugh Angus at Westonbirt for help in organising the conference.
Working in partnership with garden staff, volunteers can bring enthusiasm, unexpected skills and different perspectives. To quote Amanda Le Poer Trench (Volunteer Co-ordinator at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew): ‘Our volunteers are priceless’.
David Rae, PlantNetwork Hon. President
Director of Horticulture, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Pam Smith, Historic and Botanic Garden Training and Development Advisor to Lantra
Kelly Baker, student in botanical horticulture
Cheryl Pearson, Volunteer Manager, Westonbirt – The National Arboretum
Amanda le Poer Trench, Volunteer Co-ordinator, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Mike Calnan, Head of Gardens, National Trust
held at 5.30pm Tuesday 12 July 2011, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY
Chaired by Dr David Rae, PlantNetwork Hon. President
Jan Hoyland, Curator, Castle Howard Arboretum Trust
Gill Gribbin, Volunteer Co-ordinator, Castle Howard Arboretum Trust
Ed Ikin, Garden & Countryside Manager, Nymans, National Trust
Mark Restall, Trainer and Consultant
Nick Wray, Curator, University of Bristol Botanic Garden
Kevin Reid, Director, Ness Botanic Gardens, University of Liverpool
Simon Toomer, Director, Westonbirt – The National Arboretum
Discussion groups and tours of Westonbirt Arboretum
Rob Jackson, Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd
Sarah Moore, Policy, Research & Information Manager, GreenSpace
Mark Wallington, Horticulture and Countryside, Bridgwater College
Mike Elliott, National Volunteering Manager, National Trust
Carola Vorlop, Trainer and Consultant
Kate Davies, Head of Volunteering, English Heritage
Link to Volunteering England web site page listing volunteering brokering organisations
Link to the first edition of the Volunteer Focus magazine highlighting the role of English Heritage volunteers.
Link to the PDF report on the performance of the English Heritage education volunteering programme.
Link to the summary and full report PDFs on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation web site
Link to the Charter for Strengthening Relations Between Paid Staff and Volunteers: Volunteering England and the TUC PDF
Link to the Volunteer Rights Inquiry Recommendations and call to action March 2011 PDF from Volunteering England
Link to the interim Volunteer Rights Inquiry report PDF from Volunteering England
Link to Volunteering England and the 3R Promise developed from the Volunteering Rights Inquiry
Link to a Volunteering England PDF guide to legal issues for volunteer managers.
Volunteers and the Law covers all the main areas of concern including: Expenses, Benefits, Criminal record checks, Health and safety, Data protection, Avoiding creating employment contracts.
Link to Business in the Community (a group of not-for-profit organisations) Cares web site page.
Cares is a network of more than 350 partner companies that address social issues in communities by volunteering their employees’ skills and time during business hours.
Link to download The Volunteer Investment and Value Audit, a guide for managers published by the Institute for Volunteering Research
Link to Horticulture Week blog by Philip Turvil summarising the PlantNetwork Volunteers in Gardens and Arboreta Conference
Link to Horticulture Week article by Gavin McEwan who picks out and details five tips for successfully managing volunteers in gardens from the Volunteers in Gardens and Arboreta conference:
- Understand the legal context
- Appoint a volunteer co-ordinator
- Consider giving volunteers higher-value work
- Train volunteers to be your public face
- Monitor and evaluate volunteers’ contribution
Subscription or registration (for limited access) required.
(Microsoft Word document)