Volunteering

Community Learning activities

Volunteering occupies a central place within community learning. Involving volunteers in the planning and delivery of learning is an important way in which providers can both strengthen their work locally and ensure that it aligns with national policy objectives for Community Learning. The time, skills, knowledge and experience that volunteers bring represents a valuable additional resource that providers can harness. It can help to achieve better outcomes for learners, communities, partner organisations and strategic stakeholders.

Volunteering supports community learning in the following ways:

  • Volunteers act as a bridge between providers and their communities, helping to engage communities in consultation and decision making so that provision is genuinely determined by local needs. 
  • The skills and commitment of volunteers enable self-organised learning groups to flourish.
  • Learning champions and other peer volunteers inspire and support excluded adults to re-engage in learning, to address issues and challenges in their wider lives, to succeed and progress.

To be effective in any of these roles, volunteers need appropriate induction, training and on-going support. Volunteering is a learning activity in its own right, through which individuals acquire and develop valuable skills, knowledge and experience. Many volunteers in Community Learning are motivated to take up the role because of their passion for learning, and any organisation that benefits from their skills has a responsibility to support their learning and progression. 

Volunteers can be hosted and supported either directly by a mainstream learning provider, or by a partner organisation that has relevant skills and experience such a voluntary organisations or local CVS. 

Case Study: Havering Community Learning Champions
27th January 2017

Case Study: Havering Community Learning Champions

Havering Community Learning Champions (CLC) programme is funded by Havering Adult College from its Community Learning budget, and delivered in partnership with HAVCO, the Havering Council of Voluntary Services.   The programme is successfully embedded within, and...Read more »

Case Study: Morley College Volunteers
27th January 2017

Case Study: Morley College Volunteers

Morley College has developed a successful scheme that involves volunteers in supporting Community Learning in a range of classroom-based roles.  Since its inception in 2011, the scheme has had a focus on providing high-quality training and...Read more »

Case Study: Slough Workers’ Educational Association
27th January 2017

Case Study: Slough Workers’ Educational Association

Slough WEA involves volunteers in a wide range of classroom-based and related roles to support delivery of its targeted provision.  This case study shows how providing structured and tailored support for volunteers, which enables them to...Read more »

Case Study: Swindon Community Learning Partnership
27th January 2017

Case Study: Swindon Community Learning Partnership

Volunteering is central to Swindon Community Learning Partnership’s approach to community engagement.  It is one of the key ways in which adult community learning contributes to delivering the wider strategic priorities of Swindon Borough Council (SBC). ...Read more »

CLT Pilot Volunteers: Exeter Trust in Learning
27th January 2017

CLT Pilot Volunteers: Exeter Trust in Learning

Presentation describing the structured approach to supporting and developing volunteers used by the Exeter College-led Community Learning Trust pilot.

Case study key messages 2015
27th January 2017

Case study key messages 2015

This short report summarises key messages from a suite of four case studies on volunteering in community learning developed by NIACE in 2015.  It highlights the increasingly important role that volunteering plays for providers in the...Read more »

Community Learning Champions National Support Programme
27th January 2017

Community Learning Champions National Support Programme

Website providing access to a wealth of resources, information and support targeted at organisations working with volunteers in community learning contexts, including: toolkits for co-ordintators and volunteers; training materials; case studies, national register of initiatives; useful...Read more »

Community Learning Champion Toolkits
27th January 2017

Community Learning Champion Toolkits

Two toolkits providing practical, accessible information, advice and resources for CLC co-ordinators and volunteers themselves, developed by the CLC National Support Programme.

Community Learning Champion Register
27th January 2017

Community Learning Champion Register

Register of active schemes and Community Learning Champions, providing national recognition and status for the role of volunteers in community learning.

Community Learning Champions and Lone Young Parents Guide
27th January 2017

Community Learning Champions and Lone Young Parents Guide

Materials designed specifically to support volunteers in community learning to work with lone young parents.

Volunteering England good practice bank
27th January 2017

Volunteering England good practice bank

Generic information, links and downloadable resources to support organisations wishing to involve volunteers in their work.  (NB some parts of the site are members-only).

Peer volunteering and learning in communities: volunteering in local Community Learning partnership plans
27th January 2017

Peer volunteering and learning in communities: volunteering in local Community Learning partnership plans

This paper provides a snapshot of the place and role of volunteering in the plans for Community Learning that are being developed bypublicly-funded providers and their partners at local level. The findings provide an indication of...Read more »

Workplace Learning Advocates
27th January 2017

Workplace Learning Advocates

Website of national initiative supporting volunteer learning champions in non-unionised workplaces, with information and resources both for volunteers and employers including free online training, case studies and local networks.

Union Learning Centre Directory
27th January 2017

Union Learning Centre Directory

Unionlearn’s Union Learning Centre Directory, including information on centres open to the community.

Timebanking UK website
27th January 2017

Timebanking UK website

Information, advice and resources to support individuals and groups to set up local Timebank volunteering initiatives.

Age UK Digital Champion resources
27th January 2017

Age UK Digital Champion resources

Resources to support volunteer digital champions working with older people, included to suggested activities to engage learners.

Community Learning Champion Toolkits
27th January 2017

Community Learning Champion Toolkits

Two toolkits providing practical, accessible information, advice and resources for CLC co-ordinators and volunteers themselves, developed by the CLC National Support Programme.

Learning Clubs and Groups
27th January 2017

Learning Clubs and Groups

Information and resources providing step-by-step support for volunteers wishing to set up and run self-organised community learning activities.

Learning Together
27th January 2017

Learning Together

Guide for facilitators of community learning, including volunteers, targeted at those without formal teaching qualifications and covering a wide range of roles.

Sheffield Digital Outreach Trainers (DOTS) website
27th January 2017

Sheffield Digital Outreach Trainers (DOTS) website

Materials and resources for volunteer digital champions, including bite-size tutorials, developed through the Making IT Personal project with Sheffield Adult and Community Learning Service.  Registration needed to access training materials, but you do not have to...Read more »

Volunteering in Community Learning Partnerships
27th January 2017

Volunteering in Community Learning Partnerships

Report of a short research project carried out by NIACE with five local Community Learning partnerships, to explore the role of  volunteers and volunteering in their proposals.  The findings provide a snapshot of the sector’s current...Read more »