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Volunteering Policy

  1. IntroductionThe aim of this policy is to define good volunteering practice for use throughout Bedside Kosher and provide guidelines for volunteers and for staff in relation to volunteering.

    The aim of the Bedside Kosher volunteer programme is to involve members of the community in activities associated to the delivery of our service, fundraising, and promoting awareness.

    This will raise awareness or funds that Bedside Kosher Charity will use to help Jewish patients nationwide through the provision of Fresh Kosher meals, snacks and drinks, and targeted investment in advocating for fresh kosher meals provided by the hospitals.

    Statement of Intent

    Bedside Kosher the Charity for Jewish patients in hospital is a registered charity that delivers fresh Kosher meals to patients who require meals prepared under strict Kosher laws, free of charge.

    Bedside Kosher Charity has a unique offering, with only defrosted kosher meals being offered by NHS trusts, and lack of options including no Kosher breakfast, milk, snacks or religious meals. Bedside Kosher provides these throughout London and Manchester.

    Volunteers freely give their time to assist Bedside Kosher in delivering meals to hospitals, depending on daily requests, and raising awareness or funds through voluntary opportunities. As well as volunteers being a valuable resource to Bedside Kosher, we recognise the benefit of volunteering to the individual volunteer and where possible Bedside Kosher aims to respond to its volunteers needs by providing the opportunity to gain relevant skills, work experience and references as well as the opportunity to meet new people whilst volunteering.

    Welcoming Volunteers

    We will use appropriate means to advertise all volunteer opportunities. Opportunities will be advertised in the local and Jewish press, Bedside Kosher website, recruitment web sites and the Council for Voluntary Services (CVS). All recruitment will take into account the principles of our Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policies.

    Anyone interested in volunteering will be provided with a list of the opportunities for volunteering within the organisation and an Application form. Following successful completion of the form, the volunteer will be invited to a meeting to establish the needs of the volunteer and the suitable opportunities available at Bedside Kosher.

    During this discussion, volunteers will be introduced to Bedside Kosher’s service, the facilities and where possible, to the other volunteers, staff and supervisors. Applicants may be accompanied by a friend or carer if additional support is required. The option to be accompanied also extends to volunteer sessions if the application is successful.

    Bedside Kosher reserves the right to refuse offers of voluntary work in certain circumstances and in these cases potential volunteers will be offered the opportunity for feedback if required. Volunteers from overseas will be asked to produce the appropriate paperwork showing they can volunteer in the UK where required. The minimum age for volunteering is 16 years, and may be higher for some roles due to Health and Safety requirements.

    Induction, Training and Health and Safety

    An Induction or Briefing will be provided to all volunteers on or before their first session. This includes familiarisation with Bedside Kosher’s policies and procedures, health and safety and a tour of the facilities where appropriate. Volunteers will be given training for the task they are to undertake.

    Reviews will take place regularly with the volunteer and session supervisor in order to review both sides of the relationship.

    The charity has a health and safety policy in place and full risk assessments for all volunteer activities. As previously stated, Health and Safety will be covered as part of the induction.

    Expenses

    By prior agreement, volunteers can claim reasonable travel expense, car mileage, bus or other transport costs. All such expenses must be agreed in advance by the volunteer supervisor and claimed using the Volunteer Pre Agreed Reimbursement Form. All car mileage is paid at 20p per mile.

    Support

    The session supervisor and other established volunteers will offer support to new volunteers.

    The session supervisor will have regular meetings with volunteers to discuss any problems or issues that may arise. The session supervisors will receive support and have regular meetings with their manager or the volunteer manager.

    In order to involve volunteers as fully as possible in the aims of the charity, Bedside Kosher provides regular updates of the work of the charity. We also encourage feedback and suggestions from volunteers about the roles they are doing.

    Confidentiality/Security

    Bedside Kosher will maintain a database of volunteer contact details. All information held about volunteers will be treated in a confidential nature and in accordance with Data Protection Guidelines (Bedside Kosher is registered under the Data Protection Act 1998). No personal information about volunteers shall be accessed except by authorised parties.

    All volunteers have the right to access any personal information the organisation holds about them. Requests for such information should be made to the volunteer manager.

    Bedside Kosher’s processes, the families we serve and the donor companies that the charity works with all require explicit confidentiality. At induction, a volunteer’s confidentiality form will be issued that all volunteers are required to sign.

    To safeguard volunteers and staff and to ensure there is no abuse with regard to the removal of company property, the charity reserves the right to search any person or the contents of parcels or vehicles entering or leaving the premises. All searches will be conducted in the presence of a third person and individuals will have the right to ask that another independent witness is present if so required.

    Employment Opportunities

    We recognise that people volunteer for all sorts of reasons. We welcome those wishing to give their time and skills freely to help Bedside Kosher, those who are volunteering as part of their skills development and those who are looking for placements to put themselves forward for employment in the charity.

    Volunteers are welcome to apply for paid positions that may become available within the charity, and will be subject to the same application/interview process as all other applicants; records of volunteering will be made available to interviewers.

    Resolving Problems

    The relationship between the organisation and its volunteers is entirely voluntary and does not imply any contract. However it is important that the organisation is able to maintain agreed standards of service to its donor companies, the beneficiaries we serve, and that volunteers should enjoy making contributions to this service.

    If your role as a volunteer does not meet with the organisation’s standards, here is how it will be dealt with.

    1. Initially a meeting with your session supervisor will take place who will explain the concerns.
    2. If this does not resolve the concern then another meeting with the volunteer manager or a representative from the organisations HR department will be convened.
    3. If your volunteering still does not meet with our standards, Bedside Kosher cease to use your services.

    If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of your volunteering you should:

    1. Initially explain your dissatisfaction with your supervisor.
    2. If that does not resolve your concern then a meeting with the volunteer manager should be convened.
    3. If that does not resolve the issue then a formal meeting with a member of senior management or representative of the organisation’s HR department should follow.
    4. If after this, your dissatisfaction remains unresolved, and we are unable to resolve the problem, then it would be inappropriate for you to continue to be a volunteer.

    You will be freely able to state your case and have a friend accompany you if needed.

    Representing Bedside Kosher

    Everyone who volunteers for Bedside Kosher, in whatever capacity, is representing not only the charity, but other volunteers, Bedside Kosher staff and supporters, and the families and children that we serve. We hope that all volunteers will support and respect the caring and professional image the charity requires.

    Volunteers may represent Bedside Kosher at external events and we would ask that any such volunteers behave in a manner that will not endanger the reputation of Bedside Kosher through acting or making statements on behalf of the charity unless instructed/authorised to do so.

    Summary

    This volunteer policy is freely accessible to all and will be reviewed yearly to adapt or improve where necessary.

    Our Volunteer Handbook provides further details on our policies and procedures affecting volunteers and is available upon request.

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