Upton Volunteer Group – Methods of Working

Four years ago a part of the Parish Plan Questionnaire asked parishioners if they would be prepared to carry out voluntary work that would aid other parishioners or be beneficial to the village as a whole. The response was very good and since that time a member of the Parish Council has kept up to date a list of the volunteers and has regularly called upon them to help out with projects around the village. The work undertaken which has been mainly manual has been very valuable to the village both in improving amenities and saving costs.

To date all the tasks have been organised by one person. It was agreed at the recent Annual Parish Meeting that the time had come to put the organisation on a more formal footing and to share the organisational load.

This document has been agreed by both the Parish Council and the Steering Committee as the way forward.

Steering Committee

A Steering Committee of at least 3 parishioners plus a member of the Parish Council will be nominated and agreed each year at the Parish Annual Meeting.

The Steering Committee will elect a chairman and all decisions will be taken on a vote.

The role of the steering committee will be:-

  1. To assess possible projects and activities and select those that the group should undertake.
  2. To ensure that any project or activity selected will not upset a significant number of parishioners and that it is in the best interest of the village.
  3. To assess the material requirements of each project or activity and to ensure that the necessary tools and materials are made available for the volunteers to use.
  4. To assess the financial requirements of each project or activity and to ensure that adequate funding is available before work is started.
  5. To assess the labour requirements for each project or activity and estimate the number of volunteer hours required to complete the task and the type of skills required.
  6. To assess the safety requirements of each project or activity and to ensure that a proper safety briefing is given and where necessary issue safety instructions before work is started.
  7. To nominate a Team Leader for each project or activity who will be responsible for instructing the team on what is required and ensuring that they work safely within any agreed constraints.
  8. To send out invitations to suitable volunteers for each project or activity and assemble a working party or working parties that are capable of completing the project.
  9. To compile a working rota where the activity is a repetitive task (Mowing).

Volunteers

Without a considerable number of willing volunteers no scheme or system will be workable. Many of the original volunteers are still willing plus over the last few years several others have been persuaded to allow their names to be added to the list. Initially it will be necessary to up date the list and also to encourage more volunteers to come forward.

Volunteers will be sought in the following categories :-

  1. Manual activities
  2. Litter Picking
  3. Mowing
  4. Amenity Cleaning

Other possible categories that may be added later include Driving and Administration.

A member of the Steering Committee will contact all existing volunteers to ascertain whether they are prepared to stay on the various lists.

A note will be put in the Upton News asking for any additional volunteers to contact a nominated member of the Steering Committee.

Contact with volunteers will primarily be through emails but where that is not possible, contact will be by phone.

Member of the Parish Council

The member of the Parish Council who serves on the Steering Committee will be an ordinary working member of that group with no special powers or privileges. He/she may be elected as chairman.

In addition to the routine duties the P.C. member must also :-

  1. Speak, and make decisions, on behalf of the Parish Council at Steering Committee meetings. Where he/she feels it appropriate or necessary, the member will be required to obtain prior guidance from the full council.
  2. Check that the Steering Committee have taken the necessary steps to ensure that all projects or activities undertaken are legally acceptable to the Parish Council, District Council, County Council, and to landowners and adjacent landowners.
  3. To take to the Steering Committee all projects or activities that the Parish Council would like to see undertaken.
  4. To keep other members of the Parish Council aware of any projects or activities planned.
  5. To arrange for the purchase of all materials where it is agreed that the cost of those materials will be paid for by the Parish Council.

Relationship between the Steering Committee and the Parish Council

The Volunteer Group will work independently of the Parish Council within the constraints given above but the Parish Council will have the power to veto any project or activity that it does not feel is in the best interest of the village.

Wherever possible projects and activities will be carried out for the Parish Council such that volunteers will be covered by the Parish Council insurance.

30 May 2009