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Young people in Cardiff are urged to volunteer

Young people in Cardiff are being encouraged to volunteer this summer to make an impact in their community, while building empathy, social skills, and a sense of responsibility.

A Wales-wide survey indicated that 24% of 16-to-24-year-olds took part in volunteering activities between 2022 and 2023.

Ansvar, an insurer for the charity, faith, and not-for-profit sectors, is urging charities and organisations across the region to actively encourage young people to give their time.

Martyn Fletcher, deputy managing director at Ansvar, said: “Volunteering during the summer break can be incredibly rewarding for young people, fostering empathy, social skills, and a sense of responsibility. It also allows individuals to make a meaningful impact on their communities and gain a deeper understanding of social issues.

“By offering young volunteers the chance to actively contribute to their communities, charities and organisations can enrich the lives of young volunteers and help to nurture a generation of compassionate and engaged citizens.”

While volunteering provides an excellent opportunity for community involvement, Ansvar says it is crucial for organisations to prioritise safety and wellbeing, making sure appropriate safeguards and risk management strategies are in place.

“Young volunteers have a unique perspective and energy that can bring immense value to charitable organisations,” Martyn added. “However, it is important to recognise and address the potential risks they may encounter to ensure everyone has a safe and rewarding experience.”

Ansvar offers the following advice:

Adequate supervision: Assign experienced staff or adult volunteers to supervise and guide young volunteers, ensuring they are properly supported. These supervisors should be accessible for support, provide regular feedback, and ensure the volunteers’ wellbeing and safety.

Establish clear guidelines: Create a comprehensive set of guidelines and policies that outline expectations, appropriate conduct, and safety protocols. This will help young volunteers understand their responsibilities and ensure a respectful and safe environment.

Provide appropriate training: Give young volunteers the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their tasks safely and effectively. This should cover health and safety, ethical considerations, and any specific requirements.

Age-appropriate assignments: Tailor volunteers’ opportunities to match their capabilities and maturity levels. Give them tasks that align with their skills, interests, and development stages, while keeping in mind any legal restrictions on the types of work young people can do.

Provide a safe environment: Ensure the environment is safe and secure for young volunteers. Do regular risk assessments, considering the nature of the tasks, potential risks, and implement appropriate health and safety measures.

Background checks and screening: Apply suitable screening processes, including background checks, for all volunteers who will have direct contact with vulnerable people.

Communication and consent: Establish open lines of communication with volunteers under 18 and their parents or guardians to obtain consent, clearly outlining expectations, risks, and procedures for reporting any concerns or incidents.

Insurance coverage: Ensure the charity or organisation has comprehensive insurance coverage specifically designed for the risks associated with young volunteers. Ansvar can provide expert advice on insurance solutions tailored to the charity, faith, and not-for-profit sectors.

Martyn concluded: “It’s crucial to strike a balance between encouraging young people to participate in volunteering and ensuring their safety. By taking appropriate precautions and implementing effective risk management strategies, organisations across Cardiff can create a safe and enriching environment for young people to actively engage in volunteering.”

For some ideas about volunteering in Cardiff, try the Children’s Commissioner for Wales site; Cardiff and Vale Health Board; or Cardiff Youth Services.

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