document
Volunteer Manual

REVIEW DATE : July 31, 2021

VOLUNTEER HANDBOOK

DateJuly 2020
Review dateJuly 2021
OwnerRadio Verulam Board
StatusDraft
Version1.0

Why?

We have put this Volunteer Handbook together to help you understand what we do, how we do it and how you can get the most out of volunteering with us.

Your experience

We want to make sure that your experience with us is a very positive one and that we get the best out of your valuable time and background.    We value our volunteers and we are keen to make sure you feel valued and able to make a real contribution to the radio station and our community.

We know that volunteers can contribute in many ways, that their contribution is unique and that volunteering can benefit our community and the volunteers themselves.

We value the contribution made by volunteers and are committed to involving volunteers in appropriate positions and in ways which are encouraging, supportive and which develop volunteering.

We recognise our responsibility to arrange volunteering efficiently and sensitively so that the valuable gift of the volunteer's time is best used to the mutual advantage of all concerned.

What we do and why

Radio Verulam is a not for profit community radio station.

Our mission is:

To enhance the daily lives of all sections of the community in our area by providing news, information and entertainment.

Our vision is:

To become a widely known and listened to radio station and internet presence, both of which are recognised within and outside the local community as a professional, engaging and useful service.  To form a significant part of the fabric of life in the area, embraced by businesses and individuals as their preferred local radio station.

We are passionate about St Albans and the surrounding area.  We reflect life in our city in a way which no other radio station does.  We think that’s exciting and we hope you do too.

We are a company limited by guarantee.  The Board of Directors is elected by members of the company.  Company Membership is open to anyone actively volunteering with us or living or with an office within the City and District of St Albans.

Our programmes benefit the local community by informing and educating them about their local area and organisations and individuals who are working to their benefit in many different ways. Many local people representing themselves or organisations have the opportunity to appear on many of our programmes to discuss and publicise their work.

We are particularly proud that we broadcast from and assist with a number of local events which enrich our community and area.

Our Key Commitment to our regulator Ofcom is to help local community, charitable, social and voluntary organisations to promote themselves and attract new volunteers through the medium of community radio.

During a typical year we interview representatives from more than 100 local businesses and organisations on air, and have continued to develop a team of more than 20 regular correspondents covering subjects as diverse as gardening and wildlife, arts, travel, news from the local churches, local medical charities, football, beauty tips, business and interior design.

The What’s On area of our website www.radioverulam.com enables any local organisation to add details of any of their activities or fund-raising events as a promotional tool.  This promotion is also available on air free of charge to not for profit organisations.

We try hard to be accountable to our listeners. We receive direct feedback from our listeners in person (especially at local community events and studio Open Days), by social media, email and phone on a daily basis. Our programme Blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds are encouraging direct communications with presenters. This feedback is overwhelmingly positive.

The company

The radio station is a company called “Verulam Community Radio Limited”.  This is a company limited by guarantee, which means that we have Company Members who elect a Board of Directors and who can vote on matters such as changes to our purpose and governance (our company articles).  You can become a member.  See www.radioverulam.com/membership

The Directors also have powers to co-opt people to the Board.

The Directors are responsible for setting our strategic direction, ensuring the sustainability of our business and managing our finances.  They are also responsible for ensuring that what we do complies with laws and regulation.  The Directors give up their time unpaid and receive no expenses in relation to their Board duties.

We are a regulated business, primarily by being licenced by Ofcom but also under codes such as the Advertising Standards Authority code.  This places a significant responsibility on the Directors for the maintenance of our licence.  Without our licence, we would cease to exist. The Directors ensure that through regular volunteer training and proper scrutiny we meet the obligations which Ofcom places upon us.  Our level of regulation is very similar to that of much larger station such as Heart.

What to expect from us

We aim to make all volunteers’ experiences positive ones.  In particular, you should expect:

  • To be treated with respect and fairness
  • To have your views heard and listened to
  • Your fellow volunteers to work collaboratively with you
  • To have opportunities to learn new skills
  • A supportive, creative and fun environment
  •  

Volunteering is a crucial activity that is supported and encouraged by the organisation and is not intended to be a substitute for paid employment. The role of volunteers complements but does not replace the role of any paid help.

Appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that any paid people are clear about the role of volunteers, and to foster good working relationships between paid people and volunteers.

The volunteer role is a gift relationship, binding only in honour, trust and mutual understanding. No enforceable obligation, contractual or otherwise, can be imposed on volunteers to attend, give or be set a minimum amount of time to carry out the tasks involved in their voluntary activity. Likewise the organisation cannot be compelled to provide either regular tasks, payment or other benefit for any activity undertaken by the volunteer.

Although volunteers offer time freely and willingly without binding obligation, there is a presumption of mutual support and reliability. Reciprocal expectations are acknowledged – both of what we expect of volunteers and what volunteers expect of us.

What we expect

It is important for our volunteering experience and the sustainability of the radio station that we can expect:

  • You treat your fellow volunteers with respect and fairness
  • You behave responsibly and with due regard to the reputation of the radio station and the company at all times
  • You act in the best interests of the radio station and the Company

We also ask that you:

  • be reliable
  • be honest
  • respect confidentiality
  • make the most of training and support opportunities
  • carry out tasks in a way that reflects the aims and values of the organisation
  • carry out tasks within agreed guidelines
  • respect the work of the organisation and not bring it into disrepute
  • comply with the organisation's policies
  • Make a regular volunteering commitment
  • Undertake activity in line with the directions given by your team leader, our volunteer manager or the Company
  • Undertake activity which helps to sustain the radio station as a whole (for example, handing out leaflets or administrative work, setting up events for us or speaking to local groups on our behalf).  There are many such tasks and we will find the ones which suit your desires and skills.
  • Let us know if you can’t make pre-arranged times or complete tasks
  • Let us know if you feel your expertise is not being well used
  • Abide by our policies
  • Attend regular training and briefing sessions
  • Ensure that you are aware of any health and safety related information
  • Take care of yourself while volunteering
  • Raise any concerns you have promptly with your team leader
  •  

Intellectual Property

When you volunteer with us, you will be creating lots of interesting content on radio, podcasts, social media and more, and developing ideas and possibly software and equipment.

These provisions apply to intellectual property rights, whether registered or unregistered,including patents, rights to inventions, copyright and related rights, performers' property rights, trademarks and domain names, goodwill and the right to sue for passing off, rights in designs, design rights and database rights.

You acknowledge that all IPRs and all materials embodying them shall automatically belong to Radio Verulam  to the fullest extent permitted by law. Where they do not belong to Radio Verulam automatically, you hold them on trust for Radio Verulam. You agree promptly to do all that is necessary, in the opinion of Radio Verulam, to give effect to this clause.

You agree at Radio Verulam’s request, to give to Radio Verulam all originals and copies of correspondence,documents and records on all media which record or relate to any of the IPRs; and not to attempt to register any IPRs.

Our teams

The nominated post holder with overall responsibility for the development of voluntary activities within the organisation is the Volunteer manager. This person is responsible for the management and welfare of the organisation's volunteers.

We work together as teams, and every volunteer has a Team Leader.  You may find that your volunteering spans more than one team; you may have more than one Team Leader.

Team Leaders are the first people to turn to if you are confused, concerned or have ideas about what you or others could be doing to improve what we do. 

There is a structure to team leadership and this is set out in The Team Leader Structure on our Intranet, RV:INSIDE. You will be notified of any changes to this structure as they impact you.

The Board is responsible for ensuring that the company and radio station are run in accordance with our mission and vision, within the law and in a financially sustainable way.

What to expect from a team leader

Team Leaders will:

  • Help you to do your best in your role
  • Listen to ideas, and discuss them with you
  • Make clear decisions based on the best interests of the radio station

Recruitment and selection

We are committed to equal opportunities and believe that volunteering should be open to all regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs or offending background that does not create a risk to vulnerable groups including children.

The acceptance of volunteer assistance for a particular role is made on merit, the sole selection criterion being the individual's suitability and willingness to carry out agreed tasks.

For further information please refer to our equality and diversity policy.

Volunteering opportunities will be widely promoted in ways that makes them accessible to all members of the community.

Volunteers who are considered unsuitable for a particular task will either be offered alternative voluntary involvement with the organisation or referred to the Community Central to seek other opportunities.

All volunteers will be asked to produce two references and will be invited to attend an informal interview. If the volunteer will be carrying out activities with vulnerable groups (children and/or adults) there may be other safer recruitment procedures carried out including asking a volunteer to undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) check. More detailed information will be made available specific to legislative requirements and to the particular volunteer position.

Volunteers will have a clear and concise task description, which will be subsequently reviewed every year with their Team Leader. The task description will be prepared in conjunction with the volunteer and the Volunteer Manager.

New volunteers will be properly inducted into the organisation.

Volunteers will be properly briefed about the activities to be undertaken and given all the necessary information to enable them to perform with confidence.

What we expect you to do

Staying safe and well

We maintain public liability and employers insurance so if something goes wrong we may be covered but you are responsible for ensuring that you are properly briefed on any health and safety issues and that you take reasonable care when on our premises or volunteering for us elsewhere.  Always identify potential hazards and ways to mitigate them.  If you are concerned about anything, speak immediately to any team leader.

Please familiarise yourself with the Health and Safety guidance issued separately and available on RV:INSIDE.

Keeping in touch

Of course, talk to other volunteers and your team leader but also please make sure you are receiving our weekly team update email.  This is the most effective way we can find to get information out to everyone in a timely way.  You should also join the Radio Verulam Volunteers Facebook group and the WhatsApp group.

Please amend your contact details in the “My Account” section of RV:INSIDE if they change and notify your team leader of any other changes in your circumstances or availability.

When things go wrong

Even when we are all working together as a team, we may not always have the same idea about the best things to do or how to do them.  That is why we have team leaders.  They are there to make decisions and resolve issues and differences.

If you are unhappy or concerned, talk to your team leader first.  If you’re still not content, then we have a formal process which we follow to resolve issues in the best interests of the radio station and company.  A copy of this procedure is available on our Intranet, RV:INSIDE.

When your circumstances change

We know time comes and goes, and our commitments change over time.  You are a volunteer!  You have free choice about what to do with your time and we know that sometimes you’ll need to reduce the time you can spend at the radio station.  Or, you might need to leave us. 

We completely understand.  All we ask is that you let us know; please don’t just drift away…it helps us make sure we have things covered.  If you can, we’d appreciate it if you could give us some notice.  Speak to your team leader or the volunteer manager.

REVIEW DATE : July 31, 2021