We have volunteer visitors in many of our branches but it is not a scheme that they have to offer although it is becoming more popular as we develop teams of support volunteers. As such we don’t have a detailed breakdown in costs but there are several things that we do that can be used as a costing guide. The branch will cover the expenses for the volunteers and these will obviously vary according to the branch location. For all of our support volunteers (of which visitor is one of them) we now run a four day training programme that they must attend.
We are in the process of developing a national resource to give guidance to our committees about all support work and we also have a specific induction pack and toolkit for all of our support volunteers. All of which has a cost. At our national centre we currently have 3 people who provide support to this work, although this is under review. For one member of staff, while it is resource intensive currently due to a staff vacancy, their input is a percentage of their post, one post is full time and acts as a project coordinator and another is part time to do the training administration, although if you are running the scheme UK or nation wide I’d suggest that you have this post as a full time post. We are currently looking at the training resource that we need. Our training is co-facilitated by a local member of staff and national member of staff so this has a cost implication as well.
Depending on the scheme that you choose to run, number of volunteers involved and budget, this will have an impact on how many trainers you need and can resource. We are also developing some e learning tools which again will have a cost implication. We are fortunate enough to be a charity partner of the year for a company that is offering us some pro bono work on this for our first phase but this has the potential to have high costs. We feel that this is necessary however as we have a large number of volunteers who are affected by MS and due to the resource constraints we have and the length of the training sessions this can make accessibility of training difficult.
I’m sorry I can’t offer more concrete information on costs but this will vary from organisation to organisation depending on how you grade staffing costs, your printing arrangements and the types of venues you need for training. We are currently looking at the budget implications for this area of work to budget for the next few years. I don’t know if you have already but it might be a good idea to link up with MNDA, they have association visitors so may be able to offer you further insight. Best wishes