The Role of Volunteers

There seems to be some confusion as to how volunteers fit into the framework of an HLF Bid and, more generally, unnecessary trepidation at the prospect of making a Bid. Dr Henry Will MBE, Chairman of Ford Park Cemetery Trust, has written this note prompted by the discussion which took place at the 2011 AGM under ‘Any Other Business’.

Generally speaking, volunteer involvement is very important to HLF in all projects but the extent to which volunteer hours can be used as part of partnership funding is quite restricted. If the HLF funded project includes a grant of more than £50,000 and if the delivery of the project involves the input of volunteers, as for example a community project or education project, then volunteer hours can be used as part of the partnership funding, which is currently 5% for grants under £1,000,000.

The tariff is worked out on the basis of one volunteer day equals seven hours. The number of volunteer hours equals the number of people multiplied by the number of days. Unskilled volunteers are valued at £50 a day, skilled at £150 and professional at £350. If the HLF grant is for less than £50,000 the above arrangement does not apply as the HLF will now consider grants of 100%.

Bear in mind where the project involves the restoration or conversion of buildings, the scope for using volunteer hours as partnership funding is much reduced or, as in the case of Ford Park, nonexistent. More generally, the application procedure is now very user friendly and supportive and putting a bid together should be within the capacity of most Friends groups, with accountancy support. The first step is to fill in and submit a pre-application form from the HLF website. A member of the HLF Development Team will be appointed to act in a mentoring role and will help to ensure you have the best possible application to take forward. My advice is ‘Have a go!’ You may well be very pleasantly surprised.

The signing in/out book that you should keep if you have volunteers working on site is a good source of information about hours volunteered. Some general information on using volunteers:

Volunteer Week is a national event held the first week of June each year. Advice on recruiting volunteers and a notice board to advertise your event or needs is available. You can also download a logo for your posters or download thank you certificates etc. Alternatively subscribe to the free e-mail newsletter to keep up with volunteering events in your local area.

Volunteering England Regent's Wharf, 8 All Saints Street, London N1 9RL Telephone 0845 305 6979
Volunteer Development Agency 129 Ormeau Road, Belfast BT7 1SH Telephone 028 9023 6100
Volunteer Development Scotland Stirling Enterprise Park, Stirling, FK7 7RP Telephone 01786 479 593
Wales Council for Voluntary Action Baltic House, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff CF10 5FH Telephone 029 2043 1700

British Trust Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) offers slots on their websites for organisations to register.

Conservation Service Volunteers offer opportunities from banks, businesses, civil service, fire service, armed forces and universities for staff to be given so many agreed days in a year to engage on a voluntary project.

NatWest Bank allow employees time off work during the year if the bank employee wishes to give time helping a local community group of charity.

Additionally although perhaps less of a voluntary scene local probation offices are able to offer persons on Community Service now known as Community Payback although some comments have been given by groups using this service that the output is fairly minimal and performed rather half heartedly. One example where grade II listed cemetery gates were painted needed subsequently to be removed and shot blasted to remove the paint runs and infringements onto a coat of arms. This was at a considerable cost to the cemetery owner a local authority.