What is a Volunteer?
The Woodcraft Folk is an organisation made up of volunteers who give freely of their time because they are committed to the aims and principles of the organisation and enjoy working with children and youth in the informal education context.
The Woodcraft is made up of many different types of Volunteers some of which are members, others supporters and others parents or young people wanting to do something to promote the development of the aims and principles of the organisation.
Volunteers come to us in various ways but clearly share these common objectives.
As a Woodcraft member you may not recognise this volunteering aspect to your membership, however it is increasingly evident in today’s world that we need to understand some fundamental principles of volunteering and recognise, value and celebrate our volunteers.
Volunteer roles include:
- Group Leaders and helpers
- Young adult members
- Parents on the rota at group
- Minibus drivers for camps and outings
- Retired supporters who help with a project for our members
- Parents or others who fundraise to support our work, locally and nationally.
- Millennium Volunteers and Playout volunteers who help us reach some of our goals in the wider community
- Adults who help with administration and finance in some way.
Statement of Values
The Woodcraft Folk is an educational movement for children and young people. It is designed to help develop their self-confidence and activity in society, with the aim of helping to build a world based on equality, friendship, peace and co-operation. We seek to develop in our members a critical awareness of the world and shall help to develop the knowledge, attitudes, values and skills which are necessary for them to secure their equal participation in the democratic process, thus enabling them to bring about the changes that they feel are necessary to create a more equal and caring world.
The Woodcraft Folk recognises the important contribution that volunteers make to our organisation. We believe that we should invest in our volunteers. To this end, we shall provide regular and on-going support, supervision and training, to enable volunteers to develop their skills, both in order to enhance their volunteering work with us and to help them contribute to the wider community.
All volunteers in the Ealing and Hammersmith Woodcraft Folk have rights and responsibilities. This will include involvement in a variety of decision-making bodies and access to grievance procedures.
The Rights of Volunteers
All Woodcraft Folk volunteers are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of gender, race, colour, disability, religion, age or sexual orientation.
Volunteers have a right to:
- Accurate information on the organisation and its policies;
- A clear description of the tasks that they expected to undertake and the skills needed to undertake those tasks effectively;
- Opportunities for self-development, through training and support;
- Have a safe working environment;
- Negotiate a choice of roles and tasks;
- A named person they can go to for advice, training, support and peer mentoring;
- Protection from exploitation by other volunteers and service users;
- Say ‘no’ without feeling guilty;
- Have their contribution valued by all sections of the organisation;
- Receive constructive feedback on their contribution;
- Be covered by appropriate insurance;
- A clear understanding of accountability.
The Responsibilities of Volunteers
- To treat everyone associated with the organisation – children and adults - with courtesy and respect;
- To be reliable, particularly with agreed arrangements;
- To co-operate with other volunteers.
- To undertake relevant training when necessary;
- To exchange information and feedback;
- To ask for support when and where it is needed;
- To carry out agreed roles and tasks;
- To respect the confidentiality of members, visitors and the organisation;
- To be reliable and communicate the agreed level of commitment;
- To notify the appropriate person if you are unavailable or unable to fulfil your volunteer duty.
- To be aware of national policies and procedures;
- To follow our Safeguarding policy.
Recruitment and Selection of Volunteers
The majority of volunteers will start as parents of children attending District group nights.
All prospective volunteers who want do not have an existing relationship with the District will be:
- Provided with information on the aims and principles of the Woodcraft Folk;
- Invited to an informal interview with the District Leader and a named Volunteer Co-ordinator to establish their reasons for wanting to volunteer and the skills and experience they could contribute;
- Offered confirmation when they have been accepted as a volunteer;
- Provided with clear information on what is expected of them and what training and support will be offered to them;
- Offered a trial period of up to 6 months, after which they will be confirmed as an established Woodcraft volunteer.
- Confirmed as an established volunteer after a meeting with the Volunteer Co-ordinator, where the trial period will be reviewed and any issues that have arisen discussed and agreed.
- All volunteers are expected to provide two references which provide assurance that the individual is reliable and suitable to work with children (if the role requires);
- All volunteers are required to undergo a DBS check if working with children on a regular basis;
These references and checks are important in order to give assurance to service users and the general public; they also offer volunteers a degree of credibility and reassure other volunteers and parents.
Districts will consult with volunteer members about their training needs, and will offer volunteers training and support to maintain their interest and job satisfaction.
Volunteer support will be provided through a variety of means including:
- Formal training opportunities via the National Woodcraft Folk
- Informal advice & information sharing;
- Having work reviewed from time to time;
- Participation in discussions at District Meetings;
- One to one supervision where needed;
- Peer mentoring;
Every Volunteer has Public Liability cover when taking part in agreed Woodcraft activities, such as group activities and camps.
Volunteers need to ensure that any vehicle used for transporting children or adults is covered for this purpose.
Volunteers are important to us. It is important that you as volunteers enjoy your experience as a volunteer and that your needs and expectations are met. If you have questions, concerns or if you are unhappy about anything, please talk with your volunteer co-ordinator. Many problems can be sorted out through discussion.
Ealing and Hammersmith District Woodcraft Folk Volunteer Policy
I have read the information in this policy and would like to discuss ways of volunteering with the Woodcraft Folk.
Job Descriptions For Key Volunteering Positions in Ealing and Hammersmith Woodcraft Folk
The following are job descriptions with a concise list of tasks for Woodcraft Folk Groups and Districts to function at what is currently considered best practice.
The roles are not prescriptive and, if required, can be combined or altered to suit local conditions. For further guidance on his issue please refer to the Woodcraft Folk's Volunteering Policy and Code of Good Practice.
At the present time all volunteering roles within the Woodcraft Folk in England, Wales and Scotland require a Standard Enclosure by the DBS.
In any of the roles outlined in the following pages where contact with children or young people is involved then all volunteers should remember that the safety and well being of the children attending any Woodcraft activity is their prime responsibility.
Group Helper Undisclosed: While waiting for their disclosure they must continually be in presence of two other disclosed volunteers and not be given any child care responsibilities
Where working with young people is involved all volunteers should be encouraged to become a registered member of the Woodcraft Folk and ideally an “acknowledged” Woodcraft Folk Leader by a mixture of experience through participation in group nights and other events, and attending specific training events as suggested by District members.
Group Helper: must be over 14. – Standard Disclosure when over 16
- Take an active role as agreed with the Leader(s).
- Encourage and help the children to participate fully in the activities.
- Are aware of Woodcraft Aims and Principles, Code of Conduct, Safeguarding Policy and Safety Guidelines.
- Fully supported and supervised by the Group Leader or other assigned responsible person.
Group Leader: must be over 18 – Enhanced Disclosure
- An experienced Woodcraft Member – with an accepted minimum standard of experience (what we mean by “minimum” is still under discussion)
- Ensures group is run according to the aims and principles and program of the Woodcraft Folk
- In co-operation with others (including young people) plans and co-ordinates the activities of the group
- Where necessary supervises and empowers helpers to lead activities and be involved.
- Attend District meetings
- Collect subs
- Keeps a list of all group members and contact details of parents
- Manages waiting list for group
- Keep the health forms for the group and ensure they are up to date
- Liaises with other group leaders on group progression of young people
Ealing and Hammersmith District Woodcraft Folk - Keeper Roles
Keeper of the Keepers
- Is the official District Co-ordinator
- Provides the interface between District & Regional/ National Folk
- Ensures that groups are registered with Folk House
- Organises and manages District Meetings
- Supports and co-ordinates the other Keepers
- Encourages greater parental engagement
Keeper of the Admin
- Is the official District Secretary
- Receives and acts upon official communications, enquiries and correspondence
- Maintains district distribution list (with Keeper of Membership)
- Ensures everyone is kept informed of changes to policies & procedures
- Ensures all policies and procedures are reviewed and updated where necessary
- Maintains and co-ordinates their Working Group – to include Membership.
Keeper of the Dosh
- Is the official District Treasurer
- Maintains District bank account and ensures there are sufficient signatories
- Maintains District accounts and ensures they are audited each year
- Ensures that insurance has been paid
- Completes Woodcraft Annual Financial Return and sends to Folk House
- Proposes annual budget and monitors expenditure
- Maintains and co-ordinates their Working Group
Keeper of Membership
- Is the official District Membership Secretary
- Liaises with Folk House on all membership issues
- Encourages all DFs, adults and parents/carers to become Members
- Follows up references for new Members
- Maintains an up to date list of Members and ensures DBSs are renewed up to date
- Keeps all health forms
Keeper of Safeguarding
- Is the official District Safeguarding Office
- Maintains up to date Safeguarding Policy
- Ensures everyone is aware of safeguarding good practice
- Is the point of contact for all Safeguarding issues
Keeper of the Programme
- Develops annual skeleton programme to cover camps and group nights
(Group Leaders and Folk Marshals will develop and build upon this)
- Ensures Programme is diverse, inclusive and current
- Develops and delivers on-going training programme for parents/carers in conjunction with other Keepers (Introduction to Woodcraft, Food Hygiene, Safeguarding etc )
- Maintains and looks after Folk Marshall supplies (ideally not in garage!)
- Maintains and co-ordinates their Working Group.
Keeper of the Equipment
- Is responsible for the sourcing, purchase and maintenance of all equipment
- Keeps a log of all equipment including damaged items (e.g. tents with holes etc.)
- Organises annual repair day
- Arranges for gas appliances to be checked at least once every 2 years
- Advises camp Equipment Officer on what gear to take
- Maintains and co-ordinates their Working Group
Keeper of the KPs
- Keeps KP folder, tea towels, wooden spoons and left over food between camps
- Briefs camp KPs on variety of meals/foods, menus, special dietary requirements
- Maintains a food hygiene policy and ensures that camp KPs are familiar with it
- Attends Basic Food Hygiene training and pass knowledge on to camp KPs
- Ensures that cooking equipment is maintained and replaced as necessary
Keeper of IT & Media
- Develops and maintains website (incl. secure Members area) and other digital media
- Develops an IT & Media policy and keeps up to date on technological developments
- Maintains up to date copies of forms and policies
- Is responsible for District digital equipment and
- Delivers training on how to use digital equipment
- Assists K. of Admin and K of Membership to maintain up-to-date communication list
Keeper of Folk Supplies
- Acts as the link to Folk Supply and takes orders from members
- Orders items as requested and deals with payment
- Encourages all children to have a folk shirt
- Keeps a collection of Woodcraft items
- Keeps a collection of second hand items (e.g. folk shirts, walking boots)
- Attends Group Nights at least once a term to take orders and show the range of items available to children and parents
Keeper of Health & Safety
- Maintains an up-to-date H&S policy
- Will develop a risk assessment pro forma to cover group nights and camps
- Ensures there are sufficient ratios of adults to children for all activities
- Ensures that accident and incident books are kept
- Maintains first aid kits
- Ensures sufficient numbers of up to date trained first aiders within the District Maintains a list of trained first aiders
- Maintains and co-ordinates their Working Group.
Keeper of Hammersmith
- Develops groups in Hammersmith and is first point of contact for enquiries
- Ensures all leaders are CRB checked and Health Forms completed
- Maintains Hammersmith’s accounts and updated the Keeper of the Dosh
- Supplies details of membership to the Keeper of the Keepers for the Annual Woodcraft Registration process
- Co-ordinates Hammersmith Leaders and Parents meetings
- Keeps Keeper of the Admin up to date with member’s contact details
- Ensures Meeter and Greeter role happens
The chair can be rotated around Keepers and Group Leaders at each District Meeting.
All the volunteers described above will need a disclosure if they are at any time, in a childcare position.
“A child care position is a position whose normal duties include caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children.”
It is clear that all volunteers, helpers or leaders that run groups nights, outings and camps will have to be disclosed.
TRAINING FOR VOLUNTEERS
In today’s world it is now accepted that training should be available for any given task to enable us to develop our skills and be both safe and competent in what we do.
The Woodcraft Folk adopted a training Policy in 2003 for its members and volunteers to establish a set way forward for the organisation to ensure that all necessary requirements were met, with respect to government guidelines and legislation. But we also want our members and volunteers to feel confident, skilled and enjoy the experience as well as being enthusiastic. This is especially important when working with children and young people, because as adults we are responsible for them and the activities that we engage in.
There is no difference whether you are a parent, a volunteer or a life member of the Folk the same rules apply as far as Safeguarding and Safeguarding are concerned, behaviour, knowledge and attitude along with policy and procedure is as important as the activity itself and training for this is a minimum expectation.
We aspire to work together co-operatively and safely within our aims and principals to be good role models encourage children and Young People to be, educated and empowered by the movement whilst having fun.
To help everyone achieve this National Woodcraft Folk have a range of in house training opportunities available
And we encourage and support external courses in
- 1st Aid
- Food Hygiene courses
- Minibus driver training
Training is available to everyone involved with us and through it we will cover
- Our History and background
- Health and Safety
- Teamwork and communication
- Programme and structure
- Other relevant topics as identified
For more info contact - Keeper of the Keepers
Some DO’S and DON’TS for volunteers
DO think about why you want to volunteer.
DON'T start volunteering until you know what is expected of you.
DO ask about the Woodcraft Folk and where you will fit in.
DON'T over commit yourself. Reliability is vital.
DO make sure you know to whom you are responsible to and to whom you can go for help and advice.
DON'T leave because you are fed-up, having problems. Discuss how you feel with others in local or national Woodcraft Folk.
DON'T ever accept money as payment from someone you have helped in the course of volunteering. Explain to them that they can make a donation to the Woodcraft Folk if they so wish.
DO keep any arrangements you have made. If you cannot make a meeting, or you are going to be late, let others know in plenty of time.
DON'T betray any confidences entrusted to you as a volunteer.
DO enjoy yourself and encourage others who may be interested in volunteering with the Woodcraft Folk.