Volunteer Policy– Lisburn Outlook
We are an organisation set up to promote social, cultural and recreational activities amongst blind and partially sighted people in the Lisburn area.
We were established in 2012 by people who felt there was a need for such a body, run and controlled by blind and partially sighted people themselves. We are self-sustaining and receive no regular external funding. We are registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, NIC 103202.
As well as arranging activities, we seek to influence the organisers of events and the public, retail, catering and entertainment sectors to make their facilities open and welcoming.
We run a walking and a tandem cycling group. Other activities include audio described theatre and cinema trips, tailored visits to places of interest and classes in recreational activities. We hold regular coffee mornings and “pub evenings”, which offer peer support and serve as informal advice and information meetings, encouraging those still learning to cope with sight loss to be more confident and assertive.
Purpose of our Volunteer Policy
Our volunteer policy has been created to show our volunteers and potential volunteers that we have spent time and care in planning how volunteers will be welcomed by Lisburn Outlook. It also outlines that all volunteers will be treated in a fair and consistent way. It should also help our volunteers understand what support is available to them and what they can expect from us.
Our Vision and Mission for Volunteering
Volunteering is a great way to share your enthusiasm, skills and ideas whilst having fun and meeting like-minded people. By volunteering for Lisburn Outlook you will be making a positive contribution to community development in our area. Volunteers are vital to our work.
Attracting Volunteers and Volunteer Agreement
We have different opportunities for volunteers to get involved in. The main ones are Tandem Pilot and Sighted Guide.
On our web site, you can read through our volunteer role profiles. Then all you need to do is contact us and enquire about becoming a volunteer. Your help will be greatly appreciated and really will make a difference.
Access NI Checks
All our volunteer roles will require an enhanced Access Ni check to inform Outlook of any criminal convictions that a person wishing to volunteer may have. Lisburn Outlook will cover any charges for these checks.
We expect you to undertake necessary training, keep us informed of your availability and adhere to our policies and principles.
You are entitled to expect from us adequate training and support, a clear explanation of your role and adequate information.
Induction and Training
As well as briefing you about Lisburn Outlook and about the commitment we are looking for, we will arrange visual awareness training for new volunteers. We will also arrange more specific training, such as tandem piloting, where required.
You will be added to our general mailing list and be welcome to attend all our activities, including those for which your services as a volunteer may not be specifically required.
You will be considered as a member, and not “just a volunteer”.
You will be assigned a “volunteer co-ordinator”. Different activities may have different co-ordinators. Your co-ordinator will offer support and will remain your key contact throughout your volunteering with us., You should feel free to discuss any concerns or training needs with the co-ordinator, so as to ensure that we do all we can to make your volunteering experience an enjoyable and meaningful one.
We value our volunteers and want to ensure that there are no barriers to volunteer involvement. All reasonable out of pocket expenses will be reimbursed, such as travel, subsistence or mileage.
In order to claim expenses, an Expenses Form must be completed and submitted to your volunteer co-ordinator. Claims should be accompanied by receipts.
Our volunteers are expected to respect our members’ confidentiality. No personal information such as age, contact details or personal history should be disclosed to others in any medium, including social media, except with the member’s express consent.
2.14 Signs that may indicate that discriminatory abuse is taking place:
- Unequal treatment.
- Inappropriate use of language.
- Deliberate exclusion.
- Verbal abuse.
3 Taking action to safeguard and promote the well being of all vulnerable adults
3.1 You may during the course of your volunteering with Lisburn Outlook witness, suspect or be told about something which you feel amounts to abuse of a vulnerable adult or which makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy.
3.2 Lisburn Outlook has a level of internal reporting which enables all members/volunteers to share their concerns and ensure that action is taken.
3.3 It is not your responsibility to decide if abuse has occurred or not, this is the role of the statutory services but it is important that you raise your concerns as soon as possible.
3.4 It is very important to remember that any allegations concerning abuse of vulnerable adults can result in criminal proceedings and as such you should only ask questions to clarify essential basic information. Do not probe for more information or ask other questions or disclose details of the allegation to anyone else – even if the allegations involve them. Do not talk to the person you think is responsible for the harm as this might put you at risk and give them the opportunity to hide evidence.
3.5 Reassure the person that they are right to raise the issue and that they are in no way to blame. Explain what you are going to do with the information and reassure them that their concerns will be taken seriously and will be dealt with promptly. Do not promise ‘not to tell anyone’ or say ‘you’ll keep it a secret’
3.6 Complete a written record of what you have seen/heard ensuring that you make a clear distinction between what is fact and opinion. It is important to try and include as much detail as possible particularly about the vulnerable adult such as, full name, date of birth (if known), address, language of the person and remember to include parent/carers details if you know them, then sign and date the record.
3.7 Your written record must then be shared as soon as practically possible with a member of the committee. There are strict boundaries of confidentiality regarding the sharing of information therefore you should ensure that this record is locked away securely and you should not discuss the contents with anyone other than those designated above, unless it is to co-operate with an external official from Social Services or the Police in the course of their investigations.
3.8 If there is any possibility that a vulnerable adult may be in immediate danger you must act without delay. If a committee member is not contactable, you must call the Police or Social Services, who can respond on an emergency basis outside normal office hours.
3.10 If for any reason you are unable to raise your concerns following the procedures outlined above (for example if your concerns relate to a Committee Member within Lisburn Outlook) you should seek external support from the agencies listed below:
- Local Social Services Department
- Local Police
This policy refers to vulnerable adults. Minors do not generally take part in Lisburn Outlook activities. Where they do, it is with the close collaboration of a parent or someone nominated by the parent and known to the event organiser.
This policy will be reviewed annually.
Last review – December 2017
Lisburn Outlook, registered with the Charity commission for Northern Ireland, Registration No. NIC 103202.