Thank you so much for your patience over the last few months, I hope you are all well.
We have been working on a Roadmap to bring back volunteering which we can now share the initial details of after further government updates this week.
Bringing back volunteer roles across the UK will take a phased approach. Phase one will be to bring more of the roles that local and national managers consider to be essential volunteering roles that support either our core mission or specific projects.
Apart from volunteers in Northern Ireland (see below*) Volunteer Managers will be in touch with the volunteers whose roles are being reactivated in this phase over the next few weeks. The dates for this currently vary for instance in England it will be from the 29th of March. We may find different local tier variations may also return also. If you are in doubt, please contact your Volunteer Manager or Woodland Working Group Leader to check if this applies to your role.
Some volunteer groups will be brought back during this phase. The same precautions that were adopted when we last eased a lockdown in 2020 will need to be observed. In England this will mean abiding by the rule of 6 and currently in Scotland and Wales this will mean only groups of 4 from no more than two households. Initially returning groups will only be taking part in low-risk activities.
Phase two will involve reintroducing all other volunteer roles, where restrictions allow, we do not envisage this being before the end of May at the earliest. This phase is very much dependent on the data and the different governmental decisions, so we do not feel it would be appropriate to put a firm date on this at this stage. Further details will be shared nearer the time.
The recruitment of volunteers was put on hold during this lockdown, as it was with the initial lockdown. Staff are now returning from furlough and over the last few weeks a cross departmental team has been working on creating an internal secure system of recruitment that we hope to have available to us at sometime in April. We are very keen to start recruiting volunteer roles and do have some pending applications to also deal with that have been on hold or have come in during the last couple of months.
We will be approaching recruitment in a phased approach also, in the first instance we will prioritise applications that have been on hold, followed by roles that are considered essential roles and then eventually recruiting for the wider and broader organisational needs. We will confirm recruitment is live again as soon as the final checks and balances have been completed, hopefully in April.
As before please do not feel you have to return to a role if you do not wish to or if you are shielding. The previously issued Covid Risk Assessments are still in force and all precautionary procedures should be taken. The final decision on which phase volunteer roles return will be with your Volunteer Manager, whether that is your Site Manager or Volunteer Network Manager.
If you have any questions, please email email@example.com
*Northern Ireland Volunteers – please note that all Northern Ireland volunteer roles (excluding relief wardens) are currently on hold and will remain as such until we have more information on the easing of Covid restrictions by the NI government. If you have any queries regarding your volunteer role, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org