Volunteer Centre Merton
March 2011
European Year of Volunteering 2011
In this issue: The Future of Volunteering | Adult social care | Supported volunteering training | Youth Action | Volunteer co-ordinators' forum | Library volunteers | Good practice | Olympics volunteering | European Year of Volunteering | Budding vets | v Involved | Intergenerational volunteering | Supported youth volunteering project | CRB checks
The Future of Volunteering in Merton

14th April 2011, 9.15am to 1pm, followed by lunch and networking
The Vestry Hall, London Road, Mitcham, CR4 3UD
 Google Map

Have your say in shaping the Merton Partnership Strategy on Volunteering

The conference will include presentations by:
  • Councillor Linda Kirby, London Borough of Merton’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health.
  • Alan Strickland, Senior Policy and Information Manager, Volunteering England
  • Simon Williams, LBM Director of Community and Housing, who leads on volunteering strategy
  • Andy Norrell, Chief Executive, Volunteer Centre Merton.
These will be followed by two discussion workshops.

A plenary session with questions for the panel will be followed by lunch and networking.

Please reserve your place for this free conference by email or 'phone as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Telephone: 020 8640 7355

If your group/organisation would like to have a small display at this event please let us know so we can book you a space.

Adult social care - volunteering for the over 50s

We have received funding from LBM to recruit more volunteers aged over 50.  We shall develop more volunteering opportunities in the area of adult social care and recruit more volunteers into adult social care opportunities. The project is designed to reduce isolation and improve the wellbeing and health of the over-50s.   It will add value to the work being done by adult social care organisations and support organisations by involving volunteers in their work. This promises to be an exciting and challenging project, with the Recruitment and Good Practice Teams working closely together.   For more information contact Sarah at or call 020 8640 7355.

Supported volunteering training

Free training on involving people with support needs in your group or organisation

29th March 2011 The Vestry Hall, London Road, Mitcham
9.30am - 12.30pm
  • How can you enable people from traditionally excluded groups to make a contribution?
  • How can you make your organisation or group fully inclusive?
  • How do you identify what adjustments can be made to make the most out of volunteers, within existing resources?
  • What are some myths and realities about people with 'disabilities'?
Local organisations and community groups, big or small, new or established, are invited to attend our Supported Volunteering Team training to discuss these questions.

Contact Ana on 020 8640 7355 or email: to register or find out more.


Thank you event for
Intergenerational volunteers
at the Acacia Centre
Monday 4th April
11am - 1pm

RSVP to Ellie:
020 8640 7355, email
Youth Action

Tying in nicely with the European Year of Volunteering's focus on Children & Young People we are hosting an event on 4th April to celebrate those who volunteer in Intergenerational opportunities in Merton. If you are currently volunteering in one of Merton’s Children’s Centres or the Intergenerational Centre and would like to come to the event and receive your volunteering Thank You certificate then please check the invite in the panel.

We plan to run an increased number of drop in sessions for young people across the borough and would like your input! If you would like us to run a volunteering drop in session in your area/organisation/group then please let us know.

Volunteer co-ordinators’ forum

Next Volunteer Co-ordinators' Forum, 5 May 2011, 10.00 - 12.30pm at The Vestry Hall, London Road, Mitcham. 
Book by email: or call us on 020 8640 7355
We organised the first Volunteer Coordinator’s Forum on the 17th February 2011.

There was a great turnout and a spread of representatives from diverse organisations ranging from large national organisations to small voluntary run groups.

While having a tasty lunch and biscuits we discussed volunteering in Merton and the volunteer co-ordinator’s role and training. We also talked about the current consultation on the GIVING green paper that outlines the Government’s thinking about the future of volunteering in England.

You can still influence the shape of volunteering locally by attending our conference on the future of volunteering in Merton.

Celebration for library volunteers

We held a celebration with Merton Libraries to thank volunteers in the libraries, Home Visits Library Service and the Heritage Centre. Ingrid Lackajis, Head of Merton Libraries and Heritage Service emphasised the importance of volunteers to the Library Service. She also informed us that each branch of the library would be signing the Greater London Volunteering Standards in Volunteer Management Charter, which shows commitment to the involvement and support of volunteers within the organisation.

Andy Norrell, our chief executive, thanked the volunteers, who ranged in age from 16 to 89.  Special mention was made of the Home Visits Library Service, which now has 50 volunteers visiting nearly 200 clients.

If you would like to help at your local library, here are some of the volunteer roles that are available. * Shelvers * Events and Outreach Co-ordinators * Meet and Greeters * IT Support Volunteers * Children’s Activity Support Volunteer * Book Challenge Volunteer * Arts Volunteer for Adults * Arts Volunteer for Children * Marketing and Promotion Volunteer * Reading Out Loud Project Reader * Storytime Volunteer. For more information and an informal chat please contact: Sarah or Helen on: 020 8640 7355 or email at

Home Visits Library Service

We are looking for an admin volunteer for about half a day a week to based at Mitcham Library.

Duties will include, selecting and sending talking books for the blind and those who are visually impaired, discharging books that have been returned and various tasks that may occur during the week.

If you have the time to spare and would like to help to ensure that the housebound have books delivered to their door, please email or telephone: 020-8640-7355 for an
informal chat.

Good Practice in Volunteer Management, 'The Accidental Volunteer Manager'

This project, which has been running for 16 month, comes to an end on 31st March 2011.

During this time we have given one to one support, information and tailored training to:
  • over 150 individual volunteer managers
  • over 80 volunteer involving groups and organisations, 55 of which were new groups
  • over 30 volunteer managers in the public sector
We have set up the on-line Information Bank, a full resource for volunteer managers at  

We have provided three 6 week programmes of Good Practice in Volunteer Management training, open to all volunteer managers in Merton, as well as 13 tailored training workshops for individual groups of volunteer managers.

Despite the end of the project, Good Practice support will continue to be available from us.  Beau, our Good Practice Adviser, will continue to offer one to one support and training.

On a personal note, I would like to thank all the volunteer managers I have met and worked with over the past 16 months, and the staff and volunteers at VCM (especially the Good Practice team, Beau and Marzena) for making me so welcome.  It has been a real pleasure to be involved in such an exciting project.

Clare Gummett
Good Practice Outreach

Recruiting Olympics volunteers

Volunteer Centre Merton has been selected by The London Development Agency to be one of the ten London hubs to facilitate the recruitment process of the Olympic inspired London Ambassadors Volunteer Scheme.

Since the scheme was launched in July last year,  hundreds of local people have registered to become a London Ambassador, hoping to use their passion and knowledge about our great City  to inform and welcome the millions of visitors expected to visit the capital during the period of The Games.

For information about volunteering for the Olympics, or any other queries about this once in a lifetime opportunity please email Beau at or call on 020 8640 7355.

European Year of Volunteering 2011

The European Union is engaging member states to:
  1. Create an enabling and facilitating environment for volunteering in the EU
  2. Empower bolunteer organisations and inprove the quality of volunteering
  3. Reward and recognise volunteering activities
  4. Raise awareness of the value and importance of volunteering
A Europe-wide roadshow will visit each of the European capitals to highlight volunteering around the EU.

The roadsow will be in London during Volunteers' Week: 1st to 7th June 2011.

The National priorities are:
  1. To encourage and enable individuals to make a contribution within their communities and to help solve social issues by volunteering
  2. To promote good practice across all sectors in the development of effective employer supported volunteering programmes
  3. To identify and share good practice and resources relating to effective volunteer management
  4. To promote good practice in opening the door to volunteer opportunities to those traditionally less likely to volunteer
There are 5 themes:
  1. Young People and Children     March – April
  2. Environment     May – June
  3. Sport      July – August
  4. Culture and the Arts     September – October
  5. Health and Social Care     November – December
For more information contact us by email: or telephone: 020 8640 7355

Budding vets volunteer at Deen City Farm

Francesca & RobertaFrancesca Masan and Roberta Carroll both volunteer at Deen City Farm in Merton Abbey. The girls are working towards their A-Levels  and both want to become Veterinary Surgeons. They have been volunteering at the farm for about a year, helping with mucking out the animals, feeding and grooming them.

Francesca and Roberta also took part in representing the farm to Merton council, along with 6 other farm volunteers. This was for a bid to have a team building day at an Animal Park. The bid was successfully granted through the Youth Opportunities Fund and the team building day took place on Monday 21st February at Chessington Zoo.
When Francesca was asked to describe her experience, she said “I really enjoy volunteering at the Farm because it benefits the community and has a brilliant atmosphere. I’ve learnt more about larger animals and cattle which is great since I don’t live in the countryside”. Roberta also feels her experience volunteering has been really worth while.   She told us “I’ve loved every minute of it!  I’ve gained so many new skills and met so many different people. I would recommend the farm to anyone wanting to work with animals”

Both girls are looking forward to taking a gap year travelling around the world to do conservation work with animals. They then intend to go onto university to pursue a career in the veterinary field.  Francesca and Roberta, we congratulate you for all your hard work and for achieving the v50 award. We wish you all the very best for the future.  Well Done!

The vinvolved South London Team

The Vinvolved South London Team has been working across six boroughs: Merton, Sutton, Croydon, Bromley, Kingston and Richmond with a Youth Volunteer Advisor at each.   The project, that has been running successfully across the country for almost 3 years, comes to an end on the 31st March 2011 although the vawards will remain valid after this date. 

v is a national charity working to improve volunteering for 16-25 year olds across England. We believe in recognising the amazing things you do, so we have developed the v Awards to record, recognise and reward the positive impact you have made through your volunteering.   They show colleges, universities (recognised by UCAS as an extra-curricular activity) and potential employers the positive impact you’ve had on your community.  The awards given are: v Thank You: one-off or short term volunteering; v50: 50 hours including training and travel time; vImpact Award is for 100 hours based around one area or topic of volunteering of your choice.

Sad farewell from Azhar, our Youth Volunteer Advisor

After working on the Vinvolved project and the Supported Youth Volunteering Project (SYVP) for just over 2 years, as a volunteer and paid member of staff, I shall be leaving my paid position on 31st March 2011.

I have seen young people share their ideas and dreams, working together and turning these into successful reality projects, to benefit our community and inspire others to volunteer. For this I congratulate them.

As for all my colleagues (within and outside VCM) it has been great working with you. It has been inspiring to hear your own personal stories (at times humorous), the challenges that you faced and how you overcame them. Thank you to all for supporting me and making me part of such a great team! As my time comes to depart, I am confident that raising the profile of volunteering will go on from strength to strength, providing and supporting each individual volunteer with a suitable placement and helping them achieve their goals and dreams.

I wish each and everyone of you the very best for the future. Bye!
Azhar Khan, Youth Volunteer Advisor

Intergenerational project

This successful project ends at the end of March.   We recruited 55 volunteers for the Acacia Centre and Adventure Playground with over 400 referred to other intergenerational opportunities. Volunteer Centre Merton will be holding a Thank You Celebration on 4th April for Intergenerational volunteers at the Intergenerational Centre, Adventure Playground and children’s centres.

Supported Youth Volunteering Project

It’s been a good start to the New Year for the Supported Youth Volunteering Project, with a new community spirit, showing a keen interest in volunteering.  As Project Co-ordinator, I have been busy meeting with local organisations to find out about the types of opportunities they have to offer and have enjoyed meeting with many young  Merton residents interested in the project, who wish to volunteer, but would like additional support.

A number of young volunteers have already been placed in specially selected placements that are relevant to their chosen career path, which will provide a stepping stone towards employment.  Volunteers have registered onto the project for other reasons, such as making good use of their time, helping in the community, or building their confidence and skills. Whatever the reason to volunteer, spending time with others in a social environment is always a benefit.

I have recently had the pleasure of working with Cricket Green School, providing volunteer opportunities for the sixth form students, two of which are now volunteering at the Mencap Café in Wimbledon and are developing a flair for customer service and catering!!

Over the next few months, I am looking forward to working together with Merton disability services and other organisations such as Jobcentre Plus, providing more opportunities for local residents who are already accessing these services.
If you like to register with the Supported Youth Volunteering Project, or know of someone who would; and If you are a non profit organisation who would like to offer a volunteering opportunityplease contact me:; telephone: 020 8640 7355.

Sharon Clark
Supported Volunteering Youth Programme

Do you need CRB checks?

Volunteer Centre Merton is an Umbrella Body registered with the Criminal Records Bureau.  This means we can carry out CRB checks on your behalf.  If your staff member is paid, the CRB levies its own charges.  These are:  £36 for an Enhanced Disclosure and £31 for a Standard Disclosure.  If you are checking a volunteer member of staff, there is no charge levied by the CRB.

Additionally, the Volunteer Centre Merton makes a £15 admin charge per application, regardless of whether the person is a paid staff member or a volunteer.  There is a sliding scale according to how many people you are checking in one go.  There is no registration fee charged to use Volunteer Centre Merton’s service.  The only charges are those you see above.

If you want to talk to us further about this, please contact Helen Parmiter:, telephone: 020 8640 7355.

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Volunteer Centre Merton
Volunteer Centre Merton
The Vestry Hall
London Road
Mitcham, Surrey CR4 3UD

Tel: 020 8640 7355

Company Limited by Guarantee
Registered in England No 6679913
Registered Charity No: 1126945

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