Barnet Council is introducing a new scheme designed to benefit local charities and volunteering organisations for years to come.
Similar to many schemes which exist for central Government departments, the ‘Ready 2 Volunteer’ scheme allows over 1,800 council staff the flexibility to volunteer in the community, in priority areas such as adult social care or supporting the homeless.
The new non-compulsory scheme covers all permanent and part time staff at the council and gives them up to two days per annum (or pro rata for part time staff) of paid leave to use for volunteering within the borough.
This means staff members can choose a wide variety of places to volunteer in Barnet, from Barnet Mencap, an organisation that supports people with learning disabilities to Nutmeg Community, a charity that works with young people to promote cohesive and sustainable communities.
This scheme is part of the council’s plans to promote volunteering opportunities within the borough. In its Corporate Plan, the council sets out an ambitious vision where it hopes to see over 35% of residents volunteering each month by the end of the decade and wants to ensure its own work force – many of whom live in the borough - contribute.
The council is working with Volunteering Barnet to identify opportunities within Barnet where staff can contribute to the community by volunteering.
Phoebe McHale from Nutmeg Community said: “Volunteers are essential to the work that we do, we're excited to hear that the council are looking to support their staff into giving back to the community and look forward to being able to work with volunteers supported through this fantastic initiative.”
Ben Richardson, the Volunteering Development Manager for Groundwork London, said: "At Volunteering Barnet we believe that local volunteering should bring together all parts of the community through actions that lead to a positive change. This new initiative will serve as an opportunity for council staff to offer their skills and expertise to the local volunteering sector whilst also allowing them the chance to experience how projects are delivered on the ground. There are a variety of volunteering opportunities available in Barnet for groups and individuals, so everyone is bound to find something that they feel passionate about."
Councillor David Longstaff, Chairman of the Community Leadership Committee, said: “I’m delighted the council has introduced this initiative to encourage staff to become more involved in the local communities they serve. We have over 1,800 staff and this has the potential to create a significant benefit for local voluntary groups. As a council, we’re encouraging more residents to volunteer and it’s important that we play our part in helping to move this forward.”