Different forms of support

Support is vital for all volunteers and can be offered in a variety of forms.  The following list gives some methods for consideration.  Choose those that are most appropriate to the roles your volunteers will be undertaking.

Initial briefing meeting, as part of Induction

This is where new volunteers have an opportunity to ask questions and find out the where, what, who, why, how and when of the group or organisation.  You may want to involve other people at this stage, as it is a good time to introduce other volunteers, staff and members of the Management Committee

Peer to peer support and buddying

New volunteers can be paired with those more experienced.  Volunteers with additional support needs, such as a learning disability, could receive ongoing support from being paired with someone from within the organisation or through an external volunteering support scheme, where this exists.

Volunteer meetings

Regular meetings for volunteers to talk and discuss the project, what they are doing and ideas for development.  Members of the group can offer one another support and reassurance, as well as develop friendships and a group identity.

Informal support

Regular opportunities for chats and get-togethers, between volunteers and volunteers/staff, at meetings, socials or in the office.

One to one support

Regular contact time for volunteers with a paid worker/member of the management team, to discuss how things are going, deal with difficult situations or off-load.

Formal supervision

Regular one to one or group sessions, following a structured process with a paid worker/member of management team.  An opportunity for both parties to discuss progress, contribute ideas and plan work


Consider any opportunities to get together as opportunities for support - Annual General Meetings, social events, meetings with link groups or organisations, professionals, staff, training events and celebration events.