A new ‘Working with Young Volunteers’ guide has been published to help voluntary and community organisations to gain confidence in working with young people and, welcoming and including them in their organisation.

Volunteering is a fantastic way for young people to learn more about, and engage with, their local community. It will also help them to gain more confidence in themselves, develop new skills, and build up experience for future work opportunities. Young people are more likely to volunteer with an organisation that has supported them in some way in the past and can bring lived experience to their role in working with others.

Locally, the Staffordshire Council of Voluntary Youth Services (SCVYS) reported that almost 1,000 young people (under 18) were volunteering within their membership in 2021/22, supporting more than 35.5 thousand children to access positive activities and support over a 12-month period.

While recruiting and working with young volunteers can sound scary, in reality, it’s not as daunting as you might think. And the benefits of having young people involved in your organisation can certainly make it worth the time and effort. Yes, you may have to think about your legal responsibilities, insurance, safeguarding, and risk assessments but, if you’re already working with volunteers, you’re halfway there. VAST can support you with creating the right policies and procedures tailored to cover young volunteers.

“The peer support that young volunteers can provide can also be invaluable.” NSPCC Learning

This new guide, developed by VAST exclusively for the voluntary sector in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire, explains what you need to know about recruiting, safeguarding, and working with young volunteers. From recruitment and induction to the practicalities and logistics, ‘VAST’s Guide to Working with Young Volunteers’ covers the essentials of what you need to do as well as guidance on how to support younger people within their role through mentoring and buddying. The guide also includes templates for support and supervision, role descriptions and a consent form.

We all know that volunteering is an excellent way to meet new people, gain new skills, and increase confidence, but for young people it can provide an opportunity to increase their aspirations and give them a feeling of self-worth, showing them what they have offer to others and to society as a whole. As for what they could bring to your organisation, you’ll get fresh ideas from a whole new perspective that can make a huge difference to the support you provide, and a new set of skills that you never knew you needed.

Read the guide here

If you have any questions or would like some more information on working with young volunteers, please email [email protected].