Volunteering In The Community Essay Sample

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What do you do?
The module provides students with the opportunity to gain practical experience and understanding of a not-for-profit organisation. This is achieved by participating for a period of volunteering throughout the year and reflecting on this as a learning experience.

How long for?
Students should put in at least as much time in their volunteering role as they would normally expect to in class attendance and studying on a conventionally taught module (i.e. 200 hours in total). How this time is split between placement and associated contextual study is flexible. The placement may take the form of a fixed weekly block, or ‘session’ of volunteering, or it may be more fragmented, taking the form of a single larger block of time, say over a weekend or during the vacation.

The actual amount of time students spend per week volunteering for the organisation is therefore negotiable and needs to be balanced against any relevant preparation, reading and writing up time. Nonetheless, students are expected to volunteer for the organisation for a minimum of 60 hours over the year in which the module runs. Travel time to and from the placement is not part of the 60 hours. Any training undertaken is included in the 60 hours.

What else do you have to do?
The remainder of the time that a student on a conventionally taught module would spend in private study and preparation can be made up in a variety of ways e.g. initial negotiations with the organisation and attendance at preliminary interviews, travel to and from the placement, researching and writing up the associated assignments, meeting with University Tutor, or putting in additional ‘volunteering time’. Attendance at the 9 support workshops which support student learning and assessment is mandatory and is included in the total 200 hours. For dates and times of Support Workshops see this guide. Details can also be accessed in the Group Folder in WOLF – Topic Tools/Group folder/Global/Workshop Dates.

What if you’re already volunteering?
It may be possible to make use of existing volunteering experience or contacts. This must be approved by the module leader. In such instances your write up will be expected to reflect this previous experience and the fact that you will not have had to spend so much time negotiating your placement.

How do you fix up the placement?
Advice and guidance on finding a placement will be given during the first 3 Workshops which take place during the first 3 weeks of the module. You are strongly advised to make use of the University’s Active Volunteer’s scheme – see University homepage, www.wlv.ac.uk/activevol or visit the Active Volunteers Unit which is located in MB Building on City Campus. Alternatively you can make use of your own personal or community contacts or visit your local Volunteer Bureau. Volunteer placements other than those found through Active Volunteers MUST be approved by your seminar tutor – failure to secure this approval will result in the student being withdrawn from the module. The sooner you start planning your placement the better as you may need to obtain a CRB check or attend a training course before starting.

You need to finalise your placement by 22nd November 2012 at the very latest. This will involve students making arrangements to meet with the volunteering co-ordinator in the organisation(s) to which they are assigned to discuss and agree the work to be undertaken, then to submit the Volunteering Agreement to the module leader. Failure to submit the Volunteering Agreement will result in the student being withdrawn from the module.

Criminal Records Bureau Checks
Any terms and conditions of volunteering or volunteering policies and procedures used by the outside agency will be obtained by the student and copies submitted to the module leader with the Volunteering Agreement. Some volunteering activities may require you to be ‘police checked’ with the criminal records bureau. Students are reminded that all such information requested by the outside organisation must be responded to truthfully. Sometimes the voluntary organisation will conduct the CRB check and will pay for it to be processed. If not then LSSC Student Support Office (MC125) will conduct the check. Students will be charged the sum of £44 to process the CRB. It is the student’s responsibility to request the CRB from the MC125.

Special note for 2012-13
When negotiating your volunteering activity it is necessary to ensure that you comply with all terms and conditions, policies and ethical procedures of your host organisation. You need to be aware that a Criminal Records Bureau check may need to be carried out before undertaking particular kinds of volunteering activities. Most organisations will carry out these checks – but due to recent and on-going changes in legislation you will need to check with the organisation to see if a CRB check is required and if there will be a charge to carry out the check. You will need to process this application well in advance of the start of your volunteering, since any delay may prevent your full participation and completion. You will need to provide specific information and produce forms of identity before applying for the check.

For further information look at the Home Office Disclosure and Barring website :


During the course of the volunteering, supervision and co-ordination will be carried out by the outside agency in the same way as for any volunteer. The specific name of a designated Supervisor should be obtained, who will serve as a contact person for any future discussion or correspondence regarding the student. Subsequently, students and tutors will meet or communicate by email, WOLF fora, during the tutor’s office hours or via the support workshops to verify progress of the volunteering. The student will be responsible for meeting agreed deadlines on the volunteering agreement and subsequent assignments. Remember also to check WOLF regularly, where information relevant to the module will be posted.

Ethical issues and confidentiality
It is important that you consider the ethical dimensions of the volunteering that you are undertaking. If the nature of the volunteering you are requested to do by the organisation involves dealing with personal or confidential information about service users, clients or members of the organisation, check and, if necessary, seek guidance regarding the Data Protection Act and ensure that ethical aspects of the work are in accordance with the organisations’ own code of practice.

Volunteers must practise safe, responsible behaviour online in accordance with the University’s IT Policies including the ICT Acceptable Use Policy www.wlv.ac.uk/PDF/its_uow_aup.pdf
You must also read the Volunteer Rights and Responsibilities noted below before undertaking any volunteer activity:
Volunteer Rights
• To be actively involved in the host organisation
• To have a description of the volunteering role and what is expected of you
• To be given appropriate training for the role
• To be supported in your volunteering
• To be safe in your volunteering placement
• To have any concerns or questions dealt with promptly
• To stop or change the volunteering placement at any time
• To have personal information kept in a secure and responsible manner
• To have open access to personal information kept by Active Volunteers
• To be recognised as an individual

• To receive up to date information about the activities of Active VolunteersVolunteer Responsibilities
• To abide by Active Volunteers, the University’s and the host organisation’s policies and procedures*
• To act in accordance with the University’s equal opportunities policy
• To inform the Active Volunteers office if a problem occurs, any change in circumstances or if any volunteering is to be terminated
• To attend training where appropriate

• To respect confidences
• To be reliable and inform the voluntary organisation in good time of any changes in your agreed level of commitment
• To act appropriately and set a good example to others when volunteering
• To be open and honest with Active Volunteers
• To give feedback to Active Volunteers

Disciplinary Procedures

All Active Volunteers are subject to the University’s disciplinary procedures at all times whilst on a voluntary placement and it is their responsibility to familiarise themselves with these.
In addition to this, the volunteer will need to familiarise themselves with the disciplinary procedures of any LINK ORGANISATION(s), and ensure that they work within them.
*For example, volunteers must practise safe, responsible behaviour online in accordance with the University’s IT Policies including the ICT Acceptable Use Policy www.wlv.ac.uk/PDF/its_uow_aup.pdf

Support Workshops
A series of 9 x workshops will be held throughout the module to give guidance about securing placements and support for assignments. Attendance at the Workshops is compulsory. You are required to attend one workshop in each of the weeks in which the workshops take place – see ‘Indicative Schedule’ in this module guide.

There will be no individual tutorials given covering the content of the workshops. All workshop materials will be placed on WOLF after each workshop – Topic Tools/Group Folder/Workshop Slides

Learning Materials:
When you attend the initial preparation workshop you will be given details of a range of voluntary organisations who are registered with the University’s Active Volunteers Unit. The following websites and books/articles may also be of general interest in thinking about, planning and writing your work:

Books and Articles:

Anderson, P. and Green, P. (2012) ‘Beyond CV building: the communal benefits of student volunteering’, Voluntary Sector Review, Vol. 3, No. 2, July, pp247-256
Brewis, G., Russell, J. and Holdsworth, C. (2010) Bursting the Bubble: Students, Volunteering and the Community. Research Summary. Bristol: National Co-ordinating Committee for Public Engagement and Institute of Volunteering Research. www.publicengagement.ac.uk

Evans, E. and Saxton, J. (2005) The 21st Century Volunteer, NFP Synergy,
Holdsworth, C. (2010) Student Volunteers: A National Profile. London: Institute for Volunteering Research and Volunteering England.
Holdsworth, C. (2010) ‘Why volunteer? Understanding motivations for student volunteering’, British Journal of Educational Studies, Vol. 28, No.4, pp421-437.
Holdsworth, C and Quinn, J. (2010) ‘Student Volunteering in English Higher Education’, Studies In Higher Education, Vol.35, No. 1., pp113-127.
Matthews, N., Green, P., Hall, D. and Hall, I. (2009) ‘The role of volunteering in transitions from higher education to work’ in, R. Brooks, (ed) Transitions from Education to Work, Palgrave MacMillan.

Matthews, N., Green, P., Hall, D. Hall, I., Anderson, P. and Cameron, A. (2005) Volunteering in the sociology and cultural studies curriculum: how does it change the values and expectations of students and community organisations? Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics: LTSN/HEA.

Ockenden, N. (2007) Volunteering Works: Volunteering and Social Policy. The Commission on the Future of Volunteering. London: Institute for Volunteering Research and Volunteering England.
Rochester, C., Ellis Paine, A. and Howlett, S. (2010) Volunteering and Society in the 21st Century. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Russell, I. (2005) A National Framework for Youth Action and Engagement: Executive Summary from the Russell Commission. London: Russell Commission: HMSO. Http://archive.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/russellcommission/docs/Executive_summary.pdf

Squirrell, G. (2009) Student Volunteering: Background, policy and context for NCCPE student volunteering initiative. Bristol: NCCPE. www.publicengagement.ac.uk

www.wlv..ac.uk/activevol​-​University of Wolverhampton’s Active Volunteers Scheme. www.csv.org.uk​-​Community Service Volunteers
www.vso.org.uk​-​Voluntary Service Overseas
www.princes-trust.org.uk​-​Prince’s Trust
www.volunteering.org.uk​-​Volunteering England
www.ivr.org.uk​-​Institute for Volunteer Research
www.ncvo.org.uk ​- National Council of Voluntary Organisations

Assessment Methods and Weightings:

The module is assessed using the 6 point grade scale, A-F

The assignment is a Portfolio (100%) comprising of the following elements:
1. Volunteering Agreement – Pass/Fail: 0%
• Completion of Volunteering Agreement template (see appendix 2 of module guide) detailing nature of volunteering to be undertaken and risk assessment. • Completion of Registration form for Active Volunteers

Failure to submit a completed signed Volunteering Agreement will result in an F grade being awarded for the module.
2. Summary of Learning Aims and Objectives – 20% of portfolio grade 500 word statement outlining personal learning aims and objectives of the volunteering placement.
3. Volunteering Report – 80% of portfolio grade
1,500 word individual report detailing volunteering carried out, experience gained, organisational information and commentary. This includes in appendices:
• Organisation Feedback form completed and signed by your Supervisor in the organisation (see appendix 4). This form MUST be submitted. Failure to submit the form will result in an F grade being awarded for the module.

• Log of volunteering hours (see appendix 5) Failure to submit the Log will result in an F grade being awarded for the module
• Any other supporting documents students deem suitable.

All assignments to be handed into LSSC Student Office, MD building – Here 2 Help – with your seminar tutor’s name on them.

Assessment Tasks:
See appendices 1, 2, and 3 at the end of this guide

Assessment Criteria:
See appendices 2 and 3 at the end of this guide.

• Volunteering Agreement – by Thursday 22nd November 2012. • Summary of Learning Aims and Objectives – by Thursday 17th January 2013. • Volunteering Report – by Monday 29th April 2013.

All assignments to be submitted to LSSC Student Office in MD Building. You must keep a copy of any work whether it is submitted electronically or as a printed paper document.

Follow the recommendations specified by your Subject.

Academic Misconduct
The University takes academic misconduct very seriously. It can be defined as any of the following:-
Cheating is defined as any attempt to gain unfair advantage in an assessment by dishonest means, and includes e.g. all breaches of examination room rules, impersonating another candidate, falsifying data, and obtaining an examination paper in advance of its authorised release.

Plagiarism is the act of taking someone else’s work and passing it off as your own. This includes incorporating either unattributed direct quotation(s) or substantial paraphrasing from the work of another/others. It is important to cite all sources whose work has been drawn on and reference them fully in accordance with the referencing standard used in each academic school.

Collusion is when two or more people combine to produce a piece of work for assessment that is passed off as the work of one student alone. The work may be so alike in content, wording and structure that the similarity goes beyond what might have been coincidence. For example – where one student has copied the work of another, or where a joint effort has taken place in producing what should have been an individual effort.

Where an offence is admitted, or a panel decides that cheating, plagiarism or collusion has occurred, a penalty will be imposed. The severity of the penalty will vary according to the nature of the offence and the level of study. Penalties will range from failure of the assignment under investigation to a restriction of the award a student may ultimately achieve or a requirement to leave the University. Further information can be found on-line on the University web pages or from the Students’ Union.

Return of Work/Collection Arrangements:
The normal expectation is that student work will be returned within a three working week period from the submission date. Collecting your work is very important since the written feedback provided on it will help you understand why you have received a particular grade. It will also help you to improve your work and develop your skills and knowledge further.

It is your responsibility to collect your work. You can do this in the following ways: • Volunteering Agreement and Active Volunteers Registration form are not returned to students. These are retained by the module leader. Where forms are incomplete the module leader will contact students via email for further information. • Summary of Learning Aims and Objectives, returned in Workshop 7, week commencing 11th February 2013. • Volunteering Report, available from module leader– date to be advised on WOLF. Alternatively, students may attach a stamped addressed A4/A3 envelope to your work when you submit it to the LSSC student Office (where the work can be appropriately posted) and this will be posted to you once it has been graded (however, we accept NO responsibility for any items lost during transit).

You must do one of the above. Please note that no grades will be issued by email, so please do not make such requests.

Resit Information:

Volunteering Agreement
Submit new/resubmit redrafted agreement as necessary.

Summary of Learning Aims and Objectives
Submit new/revised 500 word learning statement.

Volunteering Report
Submit new/resubmit/ redrafted, 1,500 word final report and appendices.
In the event of unsatisfactory feedback from agency (e.g. non-completion of 60 hours) or unavoidable barrier to successful completion of placement e.g. organisation is unable to continue offering the work; students must negotiate further appropriate period of volunteering – this can be in a different organisation.

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