Havering Volunteer Centre

Havering Volunteer Centre

Role: Shelley Hart - Chief Executive Date: Sept. 2020

Havering Volunteer Centre supports and promotes volunteering across the borough of Havering.

Our Service

We offer a brokerage service, as well as best practice support, to local charities and voluntary groups around volunteer recruitment and management. As there’s no CVS in our borough we try to provide some capacity building and organisational support (even though we’re not funded to do this!).

"Even though we’re not technically delivering ‘social prescribing’, we’re absolutely supporting people’s health and wellbeing".

By supporting somebody into the right volunteer role for them, we’re helping to improve their wellbeing – whether it’s boosting their confidence, helping them to be active or make new friends, or giving them a new purpose in life.

This type of social prescribing may not rely upon a GP referral, or involve a Link Worker, but this work is equally important and valuable.

I sometimes feel that commissioners and public sector don’t see our work as addressing health or wellbeing needs. I’d like to see more awareness of this way of working so that organisations like ourselves are recognised, and I hope we start to see new funding opportunities to enable us to continue and expand this work.

Involving volunteers to help service delivery

We’re a very small team – just 1.5 FTE staff – but we have a fabulous team of 27 volunteers who come in every week to support our work.

We see benefits for both parties – volunteers as well as clients – and we want to build on this work and develop this service further as we help to support more people during the current COVID19 pandemic.


COVID-19 has made us change how we deliver our service. We’ve listened to our local community and diversified into a new way of working that best supports local people. We no longer offer a traditional brokerage service – instead we’ve focused on managing the placement of 600+ volunteers who have come forward to help in the COVID-19 crisis.

We’ve been extremely busy co-ordinating these volunteers to support vulnerable people during lockdown, delivering food and shopping, collecting medication and prescriptions, and even dog-walking. We’re also matching volunteers to vulnerable people through befriending or ‘buddies’.

"Our ‘check in and chat’ befriending calls have been extremely effective in picking up on wider support and care needs."

Telephone befriending is a new service we’ve developed in response to COVID-19. We’re matching volunteers to vulnerable people and our ‘check in and chat’ calls have been extremely effective in picking up on wider support and care needs for those who are isolated or feeling lonely.

We’re also starting to make plans for retaining all these new volunteers who have registered with us, and we’re looking at the best ways in which this army of new volunteers can be placed within the sector in the coming months into medium-long term roles.

In total our volunteers delivered 9,746 volunteering hours – which is the equivalent of £126,698 of services! And we did it all on a shoestring budget!

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