Crucial to our success has been the high ratio of staff to guests, ensuring that we maintain a safe environment where guests receive individual support when they need it. Most of our staff are trained volunteers who work to a rota and we at least 10 volunteers attend each session.
“I can truly say however I feel when going to Doorway I always feel 100% better when leaving. It really puts things into perspective and gives you a kick up the butt.
I enjoy my time at Doorway as it makes me feel valued”
We have an excellent record for retaining volunteers and surveys show a high level of satisfaction with the training they receive. At present we have around 50 trained drop-in volunteers plus community based Friends of Doorway. They are aged between 18 and 80 and bring a wide variety of professional and life experience to their roles. Some are seeking paid work and hope to enhance their CVs by working at Doorway. All volunteers have DBS clearance.
A small number of volunteers move on during the year and we run a continuous recruitment programme. We are very proud that our volunteers are supported and mentored whilst volunteering with our organisation and we regularly have successful stories of volunteers ‘moving on’ in their lives and leaving Doorway: eg returning to work or starting college.
Doorway runs a very strict volunteer recruitment scheme. All drop-in volunteers receive a one to one interview / induction session covering our aims and our ethos as well as elements of Health and Safety, Confidentiality and Equal Opportunities. This is followed by practical experience in the drop-in. Only when we are satisfied that volunteers are suitable, do they sign a formal agreement and join our team.
“I feel increasingly confident during the sessions and this has helped with my overall self-esteem. I’m acquiring small talk.”
The de-brief after each drop-in session is a time to share information and offer mutual support and our monthly team meeting offers information and further training.
Annual staff surveys indicate that volunteers feel well supported to do this challenging but highly rewarding work.
“I enjoy it. I feel useful and I feel I contribute. There is a good team spirit across staff and volunteers. Despite my disability, (Alzheimer’s) when I am at Doorway I just feel like another member of the team.”
For many of our volunteers, most important is the chance to work with friendly, like-minded people who are making a real difference in the lives of some of our local community’s most disadvantaged people.