Volunteer policy

1. Introduction

About us
Rubinstein Taybi Support Group (RTSUK) was set up to help and support those affected by Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome in the UK. RTSUK is a membership group, offering a support network, events and information to those affected by RTS. All of our Directors are volunteers.

Purpose of our volunteer policy
Our volunteer policy has been created to show our volunteers and potential volunteers that we have spent time and care in planning how volunteers will be welcomed at RTSUK. It also confirms that all volunteers will be treated in a fair and consistent way. It should also help our volunteers understand what support is available to them and what they can expect from us.

Our vision and mission for volunteering
Volunteering is a great way to share your enthusiasm, skills and ideas whilst having fun and meeting like-minded people. By volunteering for RTSUK you will be making a positive contribution to our community. Volunteers are vital to our work.

In line with this mission RTSUK seeks to involve volunteers to:

  • ensure our services meet the needs of our clients
  • provide new skills and perspectives
  • increase our contact with the local community we serve

2. Principles

This Volunteering Policy is underpinned by the following principles:

  • RTSUK will ensure that volunteers are properly integrated into the organisational structure and that mechanisms are in place for them to contribute to RTSUK’s work
  • RTSUK will not introduce volunteers to replace paid staff
  • RTSUK expects that staff at all levels will work positively with volunteers and, where appropriate, will actively seek to involve them in their work
  • RTSUK recognises that volunteers require satisfying work and personal development and will seek to help volunteers meet these needs, as well as providing the training for them to carry out their activities effectively.

3. Attracting volunteers and volunteer agreement

We have a range of volunteering opportunities including organising and setting up events, hosting stalls, website maintenance and craft activities. You can enquire about becoming a volunteer in person at our meetings or by contacting one of the Directors or emailing via the website. One of our directors will get in touch with more information on specific opportunities and we can decide together which option best matches your interests and time availability and also our needs. Your help will be greatly appreciated and really will make a difference

4. Volunteer agreements and voluntary work outlines

Each volunteer will have a volunteer agreement establishing how they can help RTSUK and what they can expect in return. In addition they will agree to a written outline of the specific role they will be undertaking. Neither of these documents is a contract; RTSUK has no intention of creating a contract with any volunteers.

5. Expenses

We value our volunteers and want to ensure that there are no barriers to volunteer involvement. All reasonable out of pocket expenses, if required, will be reimbursed including expenses for travel and meals (if working more than 4.5 hours in one session). In order to claim expenses, an Expenses Form must be completed, valid receipts provided and these should be submitted to the RTSUK Treasurer.

6. Induction and training

Our volunteering opportunities are open to those with and without knowledge or experience of RTS as we will provide any necessary information.

There will be an induction prepared and delivered by one of our directors. This will include some information about RTSUK, our vision, mission and our future plans; the role of the volunteer; introduction to other volunteers; copy of all the relevant policies e.g. volunteer policy, Equality and Diversity policy; essential procedures such as claiming expenses.

There will be a trial period of four weeks to give RTSUK and you time to discover if you are suited to each other. A review will be made midway through the trial period and also at the end. This is not an assessment, it is just so that we can be sure that you benefit the most from the volunteering experience and maximise the time you are giving freely.

7. Support

All volunteers will have a named person as their main point of contact. They will have regular contact to feed-back on progress, discuss future development and air any problems. We want to make sure your volunteering experience is as enjoyable and meaningful as possible.

8. The volunteer’s voice

Volunteers are encouraged to express their views about matters concerning RTSUK and its work.

9. Recognition

We could not do the work we do without our volunteers. To acknowledge this we will always say thank you and show appreciation for a job well done. There will always be a listening ear or shoulder to lean on.

10. Insurance

All volunteers are covered by RTSUK’s insurance policy whilst they are on the premises or engaged in any work on RTSUK’s behalf.

11. Health and safety

Volunteers are covered by RTSUK’s Health and Safety Policy, a copy of which can be found on our website.

12. Equal, diversity and inclusion

RTSUK is committed to embracing diversity and promoting equality and inclusion. We operate an equal opportunities policy in respect of both paid staff and volunteers. Volunteers will be expected to have an understanding of and commitment to our equal opportunities policy.

13. Problem solving

We aim to identify and solve problems at the earliest possible stage. A procedure has been drawn up for dealing with complaints either by or about volunteers but in the first instance raise any issues with your designated contact.

14. Confidentiality

Volunteers will be bound by the same requirements for confidentiality as paid staff and these will be explained to you before you begin volunteering with us and will also include use of social media and contact with any press.

15. Volunteering and benefits

You can still volunteer with us if you are receiving benefits provided that we follow the legal guidelines. We have information from the Department of Work & Pensions which we can talk through with you regarding the hours you can do and what you can claim for expenses incurred through volunteering.