Hastings Volunteers Hub will act as a ‘one-stop shop’ offering a free service to match volunteers with organisations who are looking for helpers.
It is being run by G&T Associates, in partnership with Orbit and The Manzi Foundation, which is now looking for feedback from would-be volunteers and organisations to understand what both sides want in order to provide the best service possible. It also wants to hear from those who cannot volunteer or who have no interest in volunteering, to find out why that is and understand any barriers which may be preventing people from offering their time.
Orbit has funded Hastings Volunteer Hub as part of its Better Days programme, which supports thousands of people to find a job, improve their digital skills, increase their money and improve their overall well-being. In 2019, Orbit supported over 3,000 of its customers to have a better day in this way.
Placemaking and Partnerships Manager for Orbit in Hastings, Gary Storer, explained: “Volunteering provides opportunity, experience and purpose to so many people but not everyone knows where to start. We are following the recruitment agency model but applying it to the volunteer sector, so the Hastings Volunteers Hub will match people and organisations together to get the best fit possible.
“Volunteering has become increasingly popular since the pandemic for various reasons. Some people have felt they want to put something back into their local community and donating their time to help has been a way for them to do that; others want to retrain in a new career while there are those who have been furloughed and want to do something to fill their time. Whatever reason people have for volunteering, this new hub will assess their skills and interests and pair them up with the right organisation for them.”
George Chapman, from G&T Associates, added: “We will talk to every volunteer and find out what their skills are, what their interests are and what they hope to achieve out of their volunteering. Everyone is different and we appreciate that; people come at volunteering from different places, so it is important to find out what their strengths are. Everything from their experience, their hobbies and their self-esteem is talked about so that we can match them to the positions available as accurately as possible.
“We are really keen for would-be volunteers to get in touch with us with their ideas to help us shape a programme that will meet their needs and we also want to hear from organisations to find out more about what they want. This is a free service and all volunteers and organisations will be fully supported through their journey to ensure the placement is the right one for them. We’d also like to hear from people who aren’t interested in volunteering, to understand the reasons why.”
The Manzi Foundation has offered window space in Robertson Street, Hastings, for volunteering opportunities and as a place to collect and leave information.
Anyone wishing to participate can follow the group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/volunteeringhubproject During the pandemic, all interviews and discussions will take place either through calls, email or online to ensure everyone is covid-safe.