How Enhance helped one charity with Investing in Volunteers

Grant Manager Michele Lester reveals how Lloyds Bank Foundation’s Enhance programme was instrumental in helping one charity gain the Investing in Volunteers accreditation.

As well as funding, Lloyds Bank Foundation helps support our grant recipients by providing non-financial, tailored support through the Enhance programme. This extra support helps to strengthen the effectiveness of these small charities in reaching disadvantaged people.

As a grant manager, I was able to support Home-Start Wirral with cementing its commitment to supporting volunteers by gaining the Investing in Volunteers accreditation (the UK quality standard for good practice in volunteer management) through our Enhance programme.

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Home-Start Wirral was first funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation in 2011 and awarded another £58,360 grant in June 2015. Soon after, it enrolled in our Enhance programme. We discussed where the charity wanted to be in 2-3 years and CEO Bev Morgan identified two clear areas to improve: diversifying the charity’s funding streams and gaining the Investing in Volunteers accreditation.

Whilst Home-Start Wirral has a strong track record of securing funding from a range of sources, diversifying its income is vital for future sustainability. Like many charities, Home-Start Wirral was dependent on local authority grants and contracts, which due to widespread cuts, is getting harder to secure. Through Enhance, we were able to involve an experienced facilitator who helped identify ways to improve income diversity. The charity is now in a much stronger position financially.

Home-Start Wirral also wanted to gain the Investing in Volunteering accreditation. iivVolunteers are indispensable to Home-Start Wirral’s service delivery: it recruits, trains and supports volunteers to visit vulnerable families and offer friendly and confidential help. Gaining the accreditation shows that the charity is working to a high standard with its volunteers and publicly demonstrates its commitment to supporting them. Volunteers benefit from being part of an organisation that has volunteer best practices at its heart.

Bev Morgan, CEO of Home-Start Wirral, said: “Investing in Volunteers is something we have wanted to do for many years but other priorities always came first. We were delighted to be able to go for it, thanks to the Enhance programme, and started the process in 2015. It has been a lot of work but well worth it.”

Bev added: “Volunteers are essential and integral to Home-Start Wirral. The quality of support for volunteers is incredibly important to us and Investing in Volunteers has given us a really good structure to ensure our volunteers have a positive experience during their time here.”

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Mayor of Wirral Cllr Pat Hackett presents Home-Start Wirral staff and volunteers with the Investing in Volunteers award

I was thrilled to hear that the charity recently achieved their accreditation. They are the first of the Foundation’s charities to gain this via our Enhance programme.

I’m incredibly proud of our Enhance programme, particularly as capacity development and infrastructure support can be hard to come by for many small charities. Enhance bridges this gap and provides external expertise and support. Yes, it’s often challenging and a lot of work but incredibly valuable to the charities we work with. I have seen so many of our charities strengthened through Enhance in a way that wouldn’t be possible through grants alone.

Michele works with many local charities in Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and South Yorkshire. Follow Michele on Twitter

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