Giving up time in service of others is a core pillar of thriving communities. Schools, families and societies are strengthened thanks to the time and skills of volunteers and Berkshire reading charity ABC to Read have recently achieved the Investing in Volunteers Quality Standard, recognising the excellent work they do with volunteers.
ABC to Read was assessed against a range of best practice standards and proved to excel in all aspects of working with its volunteers. Like many grassroots charities, it has limited resources with only a handful of part-time paid staff. The only reason it can support the children in Berkshire struggling most with their reading is thanks to its 120 strong band of volunteers who train to become mentors.
Marcia Rowlinson, ABC to Read Chief Operating and Development Officer, said: “Our schools and the families of the children we work with are eternally grateful for our volunteers. The value of the time and energy they invest in local youngsters cannot be measured and I’m thrilled that this award recognises how much we appreciate their efforts.”
ABC to Read volunteers themselves spoke of the pride they felt in being involved with the charity and how much they gained from the experience:
“It’s very rewarding to see a child’s self-esteem boom.”
“I really enjoy it – the best bits of teaching without all the paperwork, plus it keeps me active and involved now I’m retired.”
“My children are good readers and I’m fortunate I have the time to read with them. Other parents aren’t so lucky so I’m pleased I can help, plus I’m thinking about becoming a Teaching Assistant”.
Investing in Volunteers is unique in that it is the only standard that focuses on volunteers. It is based on four areas of volunteer management; planning for volunteer involvement, recruiting volunteers, selecting and matching volunteers and supporting and retaining volunteers.
Investing in Volunteers is the UK quality standard for all organisations involving volunteers. It aims to improve the quality of the volunteering experience for all volunteers and for organisations to acknowledge the enormous contribution made by volunteers. Investing in Volunteers is managed by the UK Volunteering Forum and delivered by NCVO, Volunteer Scotland, Volunteer Now in Northern Ireland and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.