Action for Children recently commissioned the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and the Office of Public Management (OPM) to explore the impact that volunteers in its children’s centres have on children and families, children’s centre staff and the local community. The researchers have found that volunteers make a huge difference, with a number of important outcomes for all concerned.
Key findings include:
- For parents and children: volunteers bring extra capacity and provide an informal reassuring presence for families using children’s centres. They act as role models to the local community, and contribute unique skills and experience as well as bringing practical support and providing a pastoral role to families.
- For children’s centres and staff: volunteers enhance the children’s centre environment, whether it is the result of supporting staff to work with more parents or in strengthening links with the local community.
- For the local community: volunteers increase use of and reach of children’s centres and provide positive role models for the community. They help to break down any stigma of using the children’s centre, widen participation and become a community resource by creating new relationships between people.
- For volunteers themselves: volunteering brings a range of benefits including an increase in confidence and feelings of self-worth, as well as a route to employment, education or training.
Furthermore, economic analysis shows that:
- The total value per year to Action for Children of volunteer involvement aggregated across all its children’s centres is over £1m.
The research concludes with key messages for all involved to maximise the benefits of volunteering.
Click here to download the final report and executive summary.