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Volunteering in the South West

Around 30% of people in the South West volunteer on a regular basis - one of the highest rates in the country for people giving their time, skills and energy to help out in the community.

South West Forum has been supporting volunteering in the South West for the last five years. This has included working with the Volunteer Centre network, organising volunteering conferences, taking an active role in the regional environmental volunteering group and trying wherever possible to link people up so that volunteering can continue to thrive in the South West. Across the South West there are structures and organisations that support volunteering in a variety of ways:

England Volunteering Development Council South West - EVDCSW – acts as a think tank for volunteering in the South West, bringing together volunteer involving organisations, Volunteer Centres, Office for Civil Society, Big Lottery, student volunteering organisations and others, to be consulted about national initiatives and policy, to link with national initiatives and jointly work on aspects of volunteering that will benefit the South West.

EVDCSW is one of nine regional EVDCs. It is the local face of the national EVDC, meets three times a year and has a membership of a wide range of organisations and agencies. For more information email Margaret Firth of the Cabinet Office Local Intelligence Team SW. 

Local Volunteer Centres – are the key local volunteering support and development agencies. There is a network of Volunteer Centres across the South West, some covering a whole county, and others a more local area. To find the Volunteer Centre closest to where you live, search on the NCVO website. 

South West Forum facilitates Regional Volunteer Centre Networking Events at least three times a year. Volunteer Centres offer advice and support to groups and organisations that involve volunteers, and provide a brokerage service between those who have time and skills to offer, and those who have volunteering roles to fill. They can support groups with all aspects of working with volunteers, and help individuals work out what kind of volunteering might best suit what they’re looking for.

Volunteer Centres are also the key agencies promoting volunteering, working with the voluntary, public and private sectors. Many Volunteer Centres organise a local volunteer managers’ forum, and often have an ebulletin, full of volunteering specific information.

Local support and development organisations such as CVSs - Councils for Voluntary Services – provide general support to groups and organisations that involve volunteers, around areas such as developing your trustees, fundraising, running an organisation, and much more.   

Useful links:

Do-it www.do-it.org is a searchable database of volunteering opportunities in your local area.