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Volunteer Policy


Mission Statement


Zest exists to address the problems which lead to suicidal behaviors and direct and/or indirect self-harm in young people and adults.


Zest’s strategy for this mission has three themes:


1. Our social role which includes advocacy on behalf of our client groups and a planned effort to influence public awareness of/and statutory responsibility for the issues.

2. Direct responses to reduce suffering through advice, guidance, counselling, support and preventative education for clients and their families.

3. Specialised training for primary care, statutory and voluntary agents.


In line with this mission the role of the volunteer team is to join with and support Zest in the specific objectives of each of these themes.




Zest’s volunteer policy is underpinned by the following principles:


- Zest has an intergrated policy for staff and volunteer development and volunteers have a full role to play in the planning and resourcing of services.

- Zest does not aim to introduce volunteers to replace paid staff, and all volunteers have an agreement which sets out the mutual benefits and obligations of their relationship with Zest.

- Staff, at all levels, will work positively with volunteers and, where apropriate, will actively seek to expand the volunteer contribution to Zest and its work.

- Zest recognises that volunteers require satisfying roles and personal development and will seek to help volunteers meet their needs through training, support, supervision and annual personal review.


Opportunities for volunteer roles with Zest will be in the following areas:


- Administration / ICT

- Advice & Information

- Therapeutic Support, Counselling, Mentoring and Befriending

- Research and Training

- Promotion, Marketing and Fundraising

- Housekeeping and Maintenance




Zest intends to recruit volunteers on a regular basis through the local press and in accordance with the Fair Employment and Equal Opportunities Legislation. All prospective volunteers will be interviewed to establish what role they wish to carry out, including their skills, experience, and suitability and how best their potential might be realised. If unsuccessful, individuals will be offered the opportunity to discuss the outcome and identify possible alternative options that may be better suited for that individual.


Volunteer Agreements and Role Outlines


All volunteer placements are subject to a trial period of 6 months, during this period volunteers are given additional support and a review meeting between the volunteer and the volunteer co-ordinator wil be held at the end of the trial period to ensure that all parties are satisfied with the agreement. Each volunteer will have a volunteer agreement establishing what Zest undertakes to provide for him or her. In addition the volunteer will agree to a written outline of the specific role they will undertake. Neither of these documents is a contract but rather an arrangement/agreement which clarifies what the volunteer and organisation can expect from each other.


Induction and Training


All volunteers will undergo an induction programme that outlines the role being carried out at Zest and the education surounding the field of self-harm and para-suicide. In addition, every volunteer will be given specific training to support them in their role and where posible, will be entitled to receive additional training on the same basis as paid staff.




The project co-ordinator is the main point of contact for all volunteers. Regular meetings of the volunteer team will be held for peer support and educational issues. All volunteers are encouraged to attend these meetings where they will have the opportunity to express concerns relating to their role as a volunteer. Zest Core-Team members will provide regular supervision to feedback on progress and to discuss future development.


Monitoring of volunteer involvement


In order to effectively monitor the involvement and how volunteers are managed, a personal file is maintained for all volunteers which includes contact details and other relevant personal information; details of the application and selection process, volunteer agreement, records of support and supervision sessions, training and any grievances made or received. All such information is treated in accordance with the Data Protection Act (1998) and volunteers are entitled to inspect all such information pertaining to their own involvement.


Time Involved


Before making commitments, you should be reasonably certain that you can give whatever time is required. Sometimes this will be one day or morning, sometimes four or five days per week for a short defined period, or for an indefinite time-span.




All volunteers are covered by Zest’s insurance and Health & Safety policy while they are on the premises or engaged in any roles on Zest’s behalf.


Equal Opprtunities


Zest operates an equal opportunites policy in respect of paid staff and volunteers. Volunteers are expected to have an understanding of, and commitment to, our Equal Opportunities Policy.


Problem Solving


We aim to identify and solve problems at the earliest stage. A complaints procedure has been drawn up which applies equally to staff and volunteers.


Regular attendance


It will be possible to arrange your role according to the hours you wish to give, but reliability (including good time keeping) will be expected. If for any reason you cannot attend when expected, give as much notice as possible.




Please let the volunteer co-ordinator know if you are going on holiday so that alternative arrangements can be made during your absence.




Volunteers will be bound by the same requirements of confidentiality as paid staff.




You will not receive pay whilst carrying out your role with Zest. You will be entitled to expenses as set out below, but when these are necessarily incurred during your volunteering hours:


1 Travel

If you do not use your own car, you will be reimbursed all costs incurred in using public transport. If you use your own car, you will be paid a mileage allowance for Zest business at the rate applying from time to time. Rates are available from the Finance Officer.


2 Subsistence

If your role as a volunteer requires absence from Zest’s office you will be entitled to:

- A lunch allowance at the rate notified by your line manager.

- An allowance for dinner and overnight accommodation when appropriate.


3 Telephone

If your role involves use of your home telephone, you will receive an allowance for calls made on Zest business. This allowance is at the prescribed rate per minute.


4 Claims

You will be required to keep a detailed record of all expenses incurred, and to submit to your line manager at regular intervals a claims form in respect of these expenses, accompanied by receipts. You will appreciate that expenses cannot be paid unless this procedure is followed.


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