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Volunteering with Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Volunteer Policy

What you can expect from Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) believes in investing in its volunteers – for the benefit of both parties. Whatever type of volunteer work you choose, we aim to ensure that you receive support, advice and where necessary, training, to match your needs and reflect the level of commitment you undertake. We value volunteer involvement not only for the contribution volunteers make to looking after this special place but also for the opportunity volunteering provides for learning and a deeper engagement with special qualities of the AONB.

We aim to ensure that you:

• receive an introduction to the AONB and are helped to fit in with the team
• are clear about the tasks to be done
• have safe working conditions and access to essential safety equipment and instruction
• are supported in your role and supervised where necessary
• receive and have the opportunity to attend training where appropriate and feasible
• have the opportunity to put your ideas forward about the work you are carrying out
• are reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses
• have your records kept in confidence
• are thanked and valued for your contribution.


What we ask of you

As a volunteer you are an ambassador for the AONB and your personal recommendation is an invaluable way of recruiting more volunteers and promoting the work we do. As a representative of the AONB, we rely on you to reflect our values and aims. Conservation presents some surprisingly controversial issues at times, and it is possible to be drawn into debate with local communities, stakeholder, partners and individuals over local and national topics ranging from land management, land use and planning to flood control and wildlife conservation. We understand that you will have your own point of view which may differ from the AONB partnership position, where this occurs it is important to distinguish between personal views and AONB policy when communicating with others.

We therefore ask you to:

• show respect to others, regardless of their views, background and experience
• be reliable and inform your supervisor if you are unable to attend work or a session
• work within Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty policy guidelines
• ask for support if and whenever you need it
• take all necessary care to protect the health and safety of yourself and of others
• undertake training where it is mutually agreed to be necessary (eg first aid training)
• maintain confidentiality, if dealing with sensitive or personal information


Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Volunteer Policy

Solway Coast AONB values the contribution that volunteers make to looking after the special place that is the Solway Coast.

We aim to ensure that volunteers are integrated with our organisation to enable them to contribute effectively and that all our staff work positively with volunteers, involving them in their work wherever it is appropriate. Furthermore we aim to ensure all our volunteering opportunities are both satisfying and rewarding.


Health and Safety

The Solway Coast AONB is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment for all our volunteers, to enable you to contribute positively to your own and colleagues’ safety at work. Current legislation also places the responsibility on you, as a volunteer, as well as the organisation, to take all reasonable steps to make sure safe working practices are carried out at all times.

We have a range of procedures in place to ensure all our activities can be carried out safely including including risk assessments, safe working procedures, tool use talks, provision of protective clothing & equipment and procedures in case of an accident. The work party group leader will explain these to you. However, if you ever feel at all uncomfortable with any particular task, then please stop and ask a member of staff for support.


Personal Health Issues

If you think your group leader needs to be aware of anything that might affect your fitness or ability to participate including health conditions or illness, please ensure that they are made aware, at the earliest opportunity.

There is well-documented evidence that volunteering to help others has positive effects on people’s health and well-being. We want to ensure that this applies for all our volunteers, and that no-one feels under pressure when volunteering with us, but we do rely on you acting to ensure we understand your personal circumstances, so that we can make suitable adjustments to support you properly.


Equal opportunities

Solway Coast AONB is committed to equal opportunities and believes that volunteering should be open to all.

The Trust will take all reasonable steps to ensure that harassment and discrimination for any reason (for example, age, disability, race, gender & gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy & maternity, religion or belief, sexual orientation) is not experienced by individuals or groups taking part in any activity organised or supported by us. If you have any queries regarding equal opportunities, please speak to your group leader in the first instance.


Age ‘ limits’

There is no upper age limit to volunteering. We recognise the value of experience and knowledge. We would not want anyone to volunteer beyond a point when tasks become too onerous, or possibly affect the health & safety of those concerned. People under 16 cannot volunteer individually, but can participate if accompanied by a parent or appropriate responsible adult.


Insurance Cover

Public Liability Insurance: Any volunteer acting under the direction of any Solway Coast AONB employee is covered by our public liability insurance. This covers you for claims made against you of negligence or carelessness to others, including other volunteers. There is no age limit to this cover. Solway Coast AONB does not cover you or your personal property against accidental loss or damage.


Volunteering with others

Solway Coast AONB aims to make all our volunteering experiences positive and enjoyable and to treat all volunteers fairly, objectively and consistently. We encourage frequent two-way communication as a means of preventing problems before they arise.

However, we realise that difficult situations occasionally arise, e.g. a volunteer may have a complaint regarding their experience, or about a volunteer or member of staff.

In such instances, the following course of action is recommended:

• Try to speak with the person in question, ensuring that the event organiser is involved, to try and resolve the situation swiftly and amicably.

• If this fails to resolve the situation, then volunteers can raise their concerns to the Solway Coast AONB Manager who will try to resolve the situation and deal with the concerns raised.