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Volunteer Now Enterprises Supports Volunteer Power & Celebrates 10 Years of Investing in Volunteers

07 October 2014

A new Northern Ireland-based organisation, which develops the talents of thousands of volunteers and staff in organisations across the UK, Ireland and abroad, was officially launched today.

Volunteer Now Enterprises Ltd helps organisations that involve volunteers, offering a range of services such as training, assessing and maintaining quality standards and providing consultation and research.

The company employs six staff and all profits will go to support Volunteer Now, the leading charity that promotes, develops and supports volunteering across Northern Ireland.

“We started this social enterprise exactly one year ago after the funding for the charity was cut. As Northern Ireland’s key infrastructure organisation for the voluntary and community sector, we were determined that the social enterprise would support our charitable work. The charity employs 52 people and it impacts on thousands of volunteers and the vital services that they provide – it was essential that this work is continued,” explained Director Sandra Adair.

“Volunteer Now Enterprises has delivered training to over 900 volunteers for the Giro d’Italia cycle race, worked with hundreds of local organisations to help them improve best practice and develop the skills of their volunteers and staff, and we’ve even delivered workshops on the Investing in Volunteers Quality Standard to King Fahd University in Saudi Arabia,” she explained.

Other projects have included delivery of volunteer management training to trustees, staff and volunteers from Cats Protection across the UK; carrying out research with the main uniformed youth organisations in Northern Ireland to measure the impact of volunteers; secured a contract to provide development and support to over 600 groups funded by Awards for All Big Lottery grants; and delivered training to approximately 500 young people as part of the National Citizen's Service programme.

“Volunteering is essential to so many charities and community organisations. Many just would not be able to operate without their brilliant volunteers. Our aim is to help these organisations and individuals to develop and grow,” she added.

At the company’s launch event, they also held a celebration event for Investing in Volunteers (IiV) - the UK quality standard for good practice in volunteer management by organisations involving volunteers. Volunteer Now Enterprises manages the standard in Northern Ireland, with 80 organisations successfully achieving the Award to date and over 30 currently undertaking accreditation.  Volunteer Now Enterprises also facilitates delivery of Investing in Volunteers in the Republic of Ireland, in partnership with Volunteer Ireland, with 2 organisations already achieving the Award.

IiV was started 10 years ago and has been awarded to 765 organisations countrywide, including organisations such as Northern Ireland Chest Heart Stroke, Ulster GAA Council, The Corrymeela Community, Young Enterprise Northern Ireland, Guide Dogs NI, Leonard Cheshire Disability NI, Northern Ireland Policing Board, Action for Hearing Loss and the Western Health and Social Care Trust.

Achieving it has a wide range of benefits, including demonstrating the organisation’s commitment to good practice, helping to attract and motivate volunteers and enhancing their experience.

One of Northern Ireland’s first IiV achievers is Belfast Central Mission (BCM) one of the country's oldest charities, having been founded in 1889 as part of the Methodist Church's response to problems inherent in inner city life. 

Speaking at the celebration event, Brian Burns, Director, BCM said, “BCM involves over 100 volunteers in a range of different activities so staff understand the importance of good practice in volunteer management and ensuring that we are doing things right for our volunteers,”

“Investing in Volunteers is a worthwhile process for any organisation, large or small, involving volunteers,” explained Brian, “it does let you see the gaps and it’s made easier by the expert support and approachability of the team of Assessors and Advisers at Volunteer Now Enterprises.”

Excellence in Volunteering Awards were presented by Wendy Osborne OBE, CEO Volunteer Now to the first two organisations to achieve Investing in Volunteers in Northern Ireland, Mindwise and Belfast Central Mission.

For more information on Volunteer Now Enterprises visit www.volunteernow.co.uk


For further information contact:

David Fitzsimons
Volunteer Now Enterprises Ltd
129 Ormeau Road
Belfast BT7 1SH

T 028 9081 8330
E david.fitzsimons@volunteernow.co.uk



Volunteer Now Enterprises Ltd supports the work and activities of the charity. Volunteer Now Enterprises Ltd delivers training and capacity building programmes, provides assessment against quality standards, consultation and research services, and all forms of bespoke support to volunteer-involving organisations.

The Investing in Volunteers UK quality standard is owned by the UK Volunteering Forum and managed by National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) in England, Volunteer Now in Northern Ireland, Volunteer Scotland and Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA).  For more information visit www.investinginvolunteers.org.uk

Investing in Volunteers logo

An evaluation of the impact of Investing in Volunteers was carried out last year by the Institute for Volunteering Research found that 95% of the groups that had achieved the standard saw it as having a positive impact on volunteering.

Some photographs below from the event:

IiV Achievers

Some of the current Investing in Volunteers Achievers with Wendy Osborne OBE, CEO Volunteer Now, Peter Gay, Investing in Volunteers Quality Assurance Panel Chair and Sandra Adair, Director, Volunteer Now Enterprises Ltd.

Volunteer Now Enterprises staff

Celebrating their first year as a social enterprise are Volunteer Now Enterprises Ltd staff, L-R Julie-Ann Ashe, Sandra Adair (Director), George Gillespie, Lizanne Frawley and David Fitzsimons with Martin Busch, Chair of the Board of Directors.


Celebrating 10 years of Investing in Volunteers is Wendy Osborne OBE, CEO Volunteer Now, Jolene Boral, Volunteering Partner, Guide Dogs for the Blind and Peter Gay, Investing in Volunteers Quality Assurance Panel Chair.

Wendy Osborne

Wendy Osborne OBE, CEO Volunteer Now speaking at the event.

Wendy Osborne & Brian Burns Wendy Osborne & Elaine Sheridan

Brian Burns, Director, Belfast Central Mission and Elaine Sheridan, Volunteer Coordinator, Mindwise receiving an Excellence in Volunteering Award from Wendy Osborne OBE, CEO, Volunteer Now having been the first two organisations to achieve the Investing in Volunteers Award in Northern Ireland.