Volunteer Champions Team Leader

Ann Griffiths, Isle of Wight Adoption Centre
 Ann Griffiths
Why did you decide to volunteer for CP?
I had been a part time supporter of my local Cats Protection Isle of Wight Adoption Centre for several years, helping out with local fundraising events and coming in to see the cats from time to time. I had also adopted two of my own cats from there so got to know the Centre and the staff pretty well and always enjoyed my visits. In fact when work or life was stressful I found it quite therapeutic to go and spend a couple of hours 'cat cuddling' and chatting to staff and other volunteers.
My retirement coincided with the charity's aim to increase the involvement of volunteers in all aspects of Cats Protections work and along with a couple of other regular 'cat cuddler' volunteers I started to come in as a volunteer Cat Carer to work alongside the staff helping to care for the cats one morning a week.

As I had been involved with training programmes in my past life it somehow evolved that I was going to work alongside the staff to create a structured programme of recruitment, induction and training for the volunteers and before I knew it I had an official title, that of Volunteer Champions Team Leader! So that is how my role came about.
Since that time a lot of developments have taken place. We now have a diverse group of volunteers which includes college students undertaking work experience, job seekers hoping to develop their CVs and expand their work horizons and retired people looking for a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
What does your role involve?
My role is essentially to work alongside Mel and Jo, the Centre manager and deputy, to recruit and select appropriate volunteers and then to supervise their induction and training in their new role. The staff play a pivotal role in supporting the new volunteers and helping them to feel part of the team. Volunteers have an informal assessment and discussion after a few weeks in their new role and any additional training needs are identified. Volunteers along with staff are offered the opportunity to attend any training sessions that are seen as appropriate. Again this helps to build team working and good relationships.

What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering for CP?
Overall I have found the role of Volunteer Team Leader interesting and rewarding and it is a role that is still developing. I am sure people have many different experiences of the role and it would be good to compare what happens in other Centres and areas of the country. This is just a little thumbnail sketch of my personal experience. It has been great to see so many people enjoying a rewarding volunteer role with Cats Protection and also feel that their and my own efforts are supporting the care and successful rehoming of the cats which is after all what we are all here for!