Being a volunteer led organisation is part of Z2K’s founding ethos and is still something we take huge pride in, therefore it with great delight that I report that Z2K have been reaccredited the Investing in Volunteers (IiV) standard for another 3 years.
The IiV standard aims to improve the quality of the volunteering experience for all volunteers and for organisations to acknowledge the enormous contribution made by volunteers. Whilst it was a huge amount of work to ensure all the required documents were up to date and readily available, it is very much a worthwhile process to go through to show volunteers that we really are invested in them and appreciate their contribution.
It is very easy make strong comments about how much we value volunteers and how we appreciate the effort they put in. However for us that is not enough and we want to translate that appreciation into action. One way we do that is by going through the IiV process to keep ourselves in check, but also by opening doors for volunteers and giving them the opportunity to undertake real casework from their first day. One of the things that shone through the interviews with past and present volunteers was that Z2K creates opportunities that we believe other organisations don’t always have, that is to work with London’s vulnerable, a chance to learn new skills and improve their employment prospects while making a real difference in people’s lives.
The contribution volunteers make really is enormous and impacts our client’s lives profoundly, without them we wouldn’t be able to help anywhere near as many clients as we do. One example of this is with regards to tribunal representation. In 2016 volunteers have represented at 53% of our tribunals so far, that is 106 vulnerable clients that could potentially have been without representation were it not for our amazing volunteers. 106 client that wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to have access to justice. 106 clients that would potentially be without benefits they are entitled to.
It is only right that we show volunteers how much we care and value their work, which we believe IiV, among other things of course does.