Monday 7th November, 2011, Heartlands Hospital
This well attended event was put together in response to the growing use of volunteers in delivering a range of arts and health work, both directly delivering creative workshops and in planning, support etc. It was attended by a wide cross section of independent artists and staff from arts, health and social care organisations involved in delivering arts in health.
Presentations were as follows:
Advinder Gill, Volunteer Manager, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust
Practical considerations on the recruitment and management of volunteers, including how to make the experience mutually useful.
Download the presentation here
Sarah McGrory, Arts Co-ordinator, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust
Examples of the different roles that volunteers carry out across the trust. Sarah’s presentation can be downloaded here and the additional talk given by Liam, a volunteer on the Heartlands Hospital Art Cart scheme can be downloaded here
Ruth Harvey-Regan, Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Ruth was unable to attend due to illness but her presentation on different models of working with volunteers can be downloaded here
A lively discussion followed the presentations covering a range of issues:
- Does using volunteers to carry out arts work devalue the work of artists and their contribution to health care or is it a means to ensure that creative activities are still taking place in a time of budget cuts?
- Artists can gain experience by volunteering and it can lead to paid work. Volunteering can be a way for artists to get to know people and to try out different settings and approaches to see if it’s the kind of work they want to focus on.
- Volunteering can be a bridge for service users into paid work.
- There can be issues with working with younger volunteers or people with little work experience who don’t know what’s expected of them, leading to additional time being spent managing the volunteer.
- It’s important to find the right role for each individual.
- As budgets become tighter, good volunteers could become a scarce commodity. It’s important to value and appreciate good volunteers and not to exploit their goodwill.
Ten top tips for working with volunteers, as nominated by the attendees:
- There are no legal restrictions on volunteers aged 16 – 18
- Offer clear expectations from both sides
- Volunteers contributions can be costed and used as “in kind” support in funding applications
- Volunteers are cost effective, not cost free
- Establish a clear application process
- Use newsletters as a way of helping volunteers to feel informed and involved in your wider work
- Appraisals and feedback can be casual and ongoing
- Word of mouth is the best form of publicity
- Establish a proper induction process
- Art packs/art cart as a method of engaging service users