We have some important news, this is a long read but it's worth it!
In March and April 2018, several United Glasgow FC members and people from external organisations made the board of trustees aware of the Volunteering Support Fund that was open through the Scottish Government's Voluntary Action Fund, encouraging United Glasgow FC to apply. The fund's purpose is:
Increasing the diversity of the third sector’s volunteer pool, especially to include people who experience disadvantage or would traditionally experience barriers to volunteering;
Improving opportunities for skills and personal development through volunteering;
Improving the third sector’s capacity to support, train and deploy volunteers; and
Enhancing the services organisations deliver to better meet the needs of the communities they serve.
United Glasgow submitted a bid to this fund and have been successful. We have been granted over £27,000 over a three year period starting in July 2018.
This funding will be allow the club to develop a comprehensive volunteer recruitment, development and retention programme within United Glasgow Football Club, targeted at increasing the diversity of our current volunteer pool by working with the communities which we represent in our service users. Many of the groups that we work with (refugees and asylum seekers, LGBT+ people, people from areas of multiple deprivation, etc) are underrepresented in both Scotland's voluntary workforce and in roles within Scottish football. Our funding will allow us to put in place a Volunteering Support Officer to recruit, develop and retain volunteers from these groups as well as providing access to training for professional and personal development.
Following on from the recruitment of a Volunteering Support Officer, we will be able to create a Volunteering Strategy for the organisation to properly plan how volunteers should be recruited and supported, plan where volunteers are needed and monitor the successes and challenges which the organisation has faced with regards to volunteering. This will result in the recruitment of an additional 40 volunteers over the course of three years, from communities which are not presently well represented within either the UGFC volunteer pool or wider Scottish volunteering.
In addition to a new volunteering strategy, we will develop volunteer induction sessions which will align closely to our existing education programme which introduces volunteers and service users to the values of the organisation and provides solid anti-discrimination education and how to recognise and challenge racisim, sexism, homophobia, transphobia. By doing this, we will ensure that the volunteers who come on board are prepared for working in a diverse environment and ready to help create an inclusive and welcoming organisation for service users.
Beyond the recruitment of volunteers, we will endeavour to create a robust support structure for volunteers which will allow for the continued personal and professional development of volunteers and their retention within a supportive environment where they can grow. This will be facilitated by regular meetings with the Volunteering Support Officer, as well as progress being monitored by regular focus groups with our service users.
Furthermore, our Volunteering Support Officer will organise training and development opportunities - both internal and external - for our volunteers which will help to create both a well informed, highly skilled and experienced volunteer pool and a stronger organisation to support them.
All of this will allow the expansion of our existing services, with a greater provision of volunteers in direct roles such as football coaches but also in administrative or fundraising roles. We would hope that our new volunteering capacity would allow us to undertake a further three community drop-in sessions in addition to our current four sessions by 2021.
As such, we are advertising for this Volunteering Support Officer in July with the intention of someone coming on board to work 2 days a week for United Glasgow FC from August or September 2018.
This is a significant development for the organisation and one which the board of trustees believes will have a tangible impact on the organisation, those who access what we provide and those who volunteer with the organisation.