Managing volunteers at your community growing project

This month Tyfu Pobl teamed up with Swansea Community Farm‘s Volunteer and Training Officer Kate Gibbs to deliver a day of volunteer management training. Kate works with other 260 volunteers who provide more than 8,000 hours of their time each year to keep the farm running smoothly. Volunteers are a key component of the farm; without them the farm literally wouldn’t exist. They’re heavily involved in day to day operations and help to promote the farm as an educational resource. The farm has a diverse volunteer base from a variety of backgrounds, ages and abilities. These volunteers need careful managing to ensure that kitchen work, gardening, animal care, grounds maintenance and admin is completed successfully. A balance is needed to make sure that all volunteers are happy with their roles and feel valued.

During the course Kate shared some of the secrets of SCF’s Volunteer Management success. Topics covered included leadership styles where we identified what sort of leaders we were, hosting a healthy environment and how to incentivise volunteers.

We talked in depth about what we thought volunteering is, memorable achievements as well as challenges we faced as Volunteer Managers. We also explored what we felt we needed to improve upon as volunteer managers. Kate then went onto talk about some of the procedures needed for effective volunteer management including devising a ‘Volunteer Behaviour Agreement’ and ‘Volunteer Personal Development Plan’. The training was a great opportunity for us to share experiences of what works well in terms of volunteer management and how to improve.

For more information about Swansea Community Farm and their great work please check out their website: http://www.swanseacommunityfarm.org.uk/

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