POP Bites Members’ event on Volunteering 

We had our 1st in-person event of 2024 at the Beacon in North Prospect and were delighted to have 2 speakers come and share their knowledge and experiences around volunteering. 

Neil Minnion, Volunteer Service Manager at Plymouth City Council 

Neil works within the Community Empowerment Programme supporting a citywide network of volunteer co-ordinators who support organisations across the city. He explained there are 2 types of volunteering: formal and organised by organisations, or informal within communities, and gave us a good definition of a volunteer: 

A volunteer is someone who freely offers their time and skills to benefit others or the environment without financial reward except the reimbursement of expenses. 

There are a number of services that Neil supports, working with c. 600 volunteers in a more formal setting eg Good Neighbour Support Volunteers. See slides for more details: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1TvWCfLhO_HV_YltFMRGQDDBgxCJihQHM/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=116432733055579106575&rtpof=true&sd=true

An important part of this support is offering training such as safeguarding and he announced a new training initiative for volunteers which will start February 2024: Volunteer Passport. This will be provided by On Course Southwest (OCSW), it will be free and will enable volunteers to get skills so they can more easily move around different organisations and opportunities. 

Other useful information: 

GoVolunteering (formerly Our Plymouth)  

For Volunteers; An easy to use place to find personalised opportunities and manage their volunteering portfolio 

For Volunteer Managers; An end to end experience that allows you to self serve, schedule, manage and retain volunteers. Reduces admin time and improves your volunteer experience. 

For Organisations; Centralise your Employee Volunteer Scheme with our customised software that goes beyond the basics 


Plymouth has a number of Community Builders who are working with the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise sector to support networks and share learning and expertise. Link to Community Builders website: https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/get-involved-your-community 

Lastly, Neil is about to commence Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) training. They are hoping to offer this locally later this year. 

Scrapstore – Charlotte Brew (Creative Co-ordinator) and Judith Dalton (Volunteer Co-ordinator) 

Thanks for Charlotte and Judith for telling us about the unique way Scrapstore finds and oversees volunteers!  

They have 2 types of roles: not public facing / behind the scenes and those that are more public – in the shop, dealing with the public, sorting, till work etc. They have a number of volunteers, that Judith looks after, many of whom have been there for several years. They deliver on a wide variety of activities from story telling to Playwork, from bags of loveliness to customer service and from shop/garage rearranging to bid writing and everything in between! Whether they come on a work placement and stay for 10 years or come from college for a couple of weeks it’s all vitally important, as are their personal stories and reasons for staying. 

The importance of conversations and connections was very clear and Charlotte gets the word out both at the Scrapstore and doing workshops around the city. They also get involved in events offering activities such as ‘junk modelling’ – loved by children and adults alike! 

It feels like they have a ready source of potential volunteers in their customers who come in to donate, share stories and skills. They are happy to share info for other organisations who might not have this ‘shop front’ so do get in touch with Charlotte at scrapstoreconnector@gmail.com 

Other resources / suggestions: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBC7SOzAYFs POP ideas Workshop recording – Recruiting, Retaining, and Managing Volunteers 


https://www.plymouthonlinedirectory.com/article/285/Volunteering-and-unpaid-work get your group on this directory! 


https://restless.co.uk/volunteer/submit-volunteer-role/ Digital community for the over 50s – you can advertise volunteer posts free. 

NCVO: https://www.ncvo.org.uk/help-and-guidance/involving-volunteers/  

https://reachvolunteering.org.uk focus on trusteeship and skills-based volunteering (opportunities that require specific professional skills in areas such as HR, digital or finance).    

We also mentioned the Co-op who have a number of Member Pioneers doing a similar thing. https://www.coop.co.uk/membership/contact-a-member-pioneer  

And do check out and use local libraries and noticeboards in your community. 

If you are currently looking to recruit volunteers then the University of Plymouth Careers Service and UPSU would like to invite you along to our 2024 Summer Opportunities Fair!  

The event will be held on Wednesday 6th March from 12-2.30pm and will take place in the Rolle Marquee on campus.  

If you are a registered charity, the event will be free of charge.  

Find out more and book your space here! 

Useful POP links:    

https://support.plymouthoctopus.org/ Member info and support:  


https://www.plymouthoctopus.org/ News, Jobs, About us 

POP email: info@plymouthoctopus.org   

Eventbrite events and training: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/pop-and-pop-ideas-7936569800  

https://www.instagram.com/pop_community_guru/  POP Community Guru Instagram link – Share your groups activities with us! 

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