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Using Volunteers in Family Support

Report | June 2011

This short report by IPC analyses existing research and best practice on the use of volunteers to supplement statutory support services to vulnerable families. Produced on behalf of a Welsh County Borough Council`s Family Support Service, it reviews existing volunteer-based schemes, both across the UK and in the local authority area, and makes recommendations for the further development of the volunteer workforce in the family support sector.

Following a review of the policy context – specifically the Welsh Assembly Government’s envisaged relationship with the voluntary sector, based on its 2008 strategic action plan – the report summarises recent literature on the benefits of supplementing formal support with input from volunteers, both in terms of surmounting the hostility that can be directed at statutory social workers, and the potential to invest more time. It also surveys the areas – including early years, social care and in-school support – where volunteer support is common.

Moving from theory to practice, the report examines volunteer-based schemes and organisations nationwide, such as Home-Start and Volunteers in Child Protection (ViCP), and local schemes. In each case, the report describes the characteristics of the scheme, the contexts in which they operate – whether supporting children or vulnerable adults, for example – their stated aims, and an appraisal of their impact.

For further information please contact Kathryn Rhodes at IPC


Tel: 01225 484088