Time to Spare
Blog

Weeknotes 17th April

More organisations are seeing the value we can add

Having taken time to consider the best volunteer management approach, local infrastructure organisations are increasingly recognising the flexibility of Time to Spare to deliver support in a targeted way. Their feedback included wanting to make the most of self formed Mutual Aid groups and managing the delivery of support.

They acknowledged that the Time to Spare platform can provide a more streamlined coordinated effort: the volunteers are in one place, each has a comprehensive volunteer profile with an easily accessible vetting status, and community partners can best place them, so all parties are kept in the loop.

🚨💥New feature alert💥🚨

We’d heard from a number of CVSs and umbrella organisations about the value of a live updated map of food banks to link up discharged patients with their nearest location for effective distribution of food packages. (This aligned with previous comments about the frustration caused by out of date directories). It was handy that this was already a work in progress, and just needed a bit of final tweaking!

As we know people love a good map, we have made this easy to embed in local authority and charity websites to highlight both collection points and where donations are most needed.

Furlough Go is well underway with over 50 charities able to draw from the volunteer pool

Having to rely on social media outlets as their primary channel of communication, volunteers with communications and marketing backgrounds have been on hand to deliver remote support, allowing organisations to keep shouting about what they are doing and engaging with beneficiaries.

We’ve seen that charities are re-directing their priorities towards website development, online fundraising projects and grant applications, meaning those with the corresponding skills can provide their service from their own homes and ensure vital operational work continues.

We received feedback about successful matches for Beyond Food who are recruiting listening volunteers for their Covid-19 support line to check in with apprentices who would normally be engaged in their cookery and development programmes. The extra support means continued outreach out to all those suffering the effects of loneliness during self isolation.

Over 150 volunteers have now signed up and are waiting to be contacted.

We’ve even made it a bit more official and it now has its own website: furloughgo.com to direct volunteers straight to the sign up page.

Other progress-vetting and volunteer passports

We were told this week that it would be cool to have a “volunteer passport”. Apparently it’s been an idea that’s been floating around for over a decade.

Well, it now exists in Camden.

With the new kanban layout, the vetting progress is much more transparent both internally, and across organisations. Camden Council, or other charities, can screen and check a volunteer’s details, and then highlight that to every organisation in the area, by simply dragging and dropping the volunteer into the right column.


This has helped everything to slot into place within Camden council. A dedicated vetting team has been set up to allocate roles according to the level of screening required and where changing demand is identified. The vetting team can then make suggestions to organisations where they have identified support needs. If the volunteer is declined, they can then be returned to the pool and be allocated elsewhere, ensuring they don’t disappear from the system once they have been recommended.

This ties in with the completed document upload function. Individuals can attach their ID and relevant DBS documentation, which supports a safe and accelerated vetting process for each organisation.

We have learnt this is extremely useful for council partners and charities who are running at reduced capacity as they can directly deploy volunteers where needed, freeing up valuable time.

What’s coming next-other uses for Furlough Go

Meetings with new CVSs featured really useful and productive talks about the use of Time to Spare across multiple networks. This covered:

  • Volunteer skills sharing in a more transparent way across the community sector
  • Interest in using the volunteer platform to support discharged hospital patients that still need to self isolate
  • Discussions about volunteers being deployed to fill link worker roles to reduce pressure across primary care networks
  • Planning around more constructive referrals from NHS agencies to community based support providers

More from Time to Spare