RCVDA and the Step Forward Tees Valley Volunteering Programme



RCVDA and the Step Forward Tees Valley

Volunteering Programme




Step Forward Tees Valley (SFTV) is a partnership of 27 organisations, which includes RCVDA, funded by the European Social Fund and the Big Lottery. The programme is delivered across the five local authority areas that make up the Tees Valley area: Darlington, Stockton-on-Tees, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Redcar and Cleveland, commenced on the 1st October 2016, and will run until 30th September 2019.


It is a service for people aged 29+ who are experiencing multiple barriers to employment, and supports them to overcome the complex reasons preventing them from finding work and/or improving their wellbeing and lifestyles. These barriers could include physical or mental ill-health; a lack of self-confidence; a gap in skills; a conviction; an addiction; or more.


Participant Eligibility


The criteria for eligibility for the programme is:

  • Participants must have the right to live and work in the UK.

  • Participants must be Unemployed – meaning currently job-seeking and available for work – or Economically Inactive – meaning not job-seeking or Economically Inactive.

  • Experiencing two or more of the triggers identified as a barrier i.e. poor physical/mental health; debt/finance problems.

Each participant has a Navigator to help them through this process, in addition to a range of other partners to support their progress such as: digital inclusion, finance and debt advice, health & wellbeing support and, the opportunity for some to be supported through volunteering placements, though this not a mandatory requirement.


RCVDA’s Role


RCVDAwill secure volunteering opportunities that meet participant’s needs, the criteria of SFTV (ESF criteria), and that benefit the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) community in Redcar and Cleveland.  RCVDA will also be the link between the SFTV Volunteer Co-ordinator and the wider VCSE Sector, which will avoid duplication of work and achieve a co-ordinated, simple and easy to navigate approach to identifying volunteering opportunities.


Step Forward Tees Valley


For some participants the prospect of volunteering may be a new concept, and other participants will have additional needs or barriers which have caused them to be economically inactive, and this may present obstacles for the participant to overcome, therefore work will be completed by RCVDA and the participant’s Navigator to prepare them for volunteering by providing:

  • Trained and up-skilled “ready to volunteer” candidates.

  • On-going support and guidance for the participant, which will also be available to the host organisation, if required.

  • Specialist on-going training matched with the individual’s needs.

  • Regular volunteer supervision for the participant.

  • Regular contact with the SFTV Volunteer Coordinator.

  • The participant’s travel/childcare expenses.


Participants will only be referred into volunteering when:


  • They understand the key roles, and the rights and responsibilities of being a volunteer.

  • They understand core workplace behaviours.

  • They possess a positive attitude.

  • Commitment is shown, and good timekeeping is evident by e.g. attending appointments.

  • They understand and know how to maintain professional boundaries.

  • And when there has been no occurrence of unmanaged substance abuse or mental health issues within the last 3 months (unless a longer period is stipulated by the Voluntary Sector Organisation).

Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector


RCVDA’s role is to work with the VCSE in identifying opportunities for the SFTV Project and to understand the demands of these opportunities in terms of their individual recruitment processes, in order to ensure SFTV participants apply for appropriate opportunities.


The process to facilitate these placements will be:


Whilst the SFTV volunteering element is not mandatory, the programme is funded by ESF and the Big Lottery, so some level of follow-up and monitoring may be required by the Navigator or RCVDA when placing a volunteer in an opportunity, especially in terms of evidence of the participant starting at the organisation, however this will be minimal e.g. email to confirm start date. 


VCSE Organisations will also need to have/provide the following:


  • An acceptable volunteer policy in place, as well as a clear application process, a well-defined volunteer role description, and a risk assessment performed where necessary.

  • A volunteer induction for the specific duties the participant agreed to undertake.

  • Training/information to ensure that participants are aware of their responsibilities regarding confidentiality, and health and safety.

  • Provide relevant support and supervision to participants during their volunteer placement.

  • Provide adequate insurance cover for volunteers.

  • Work with all participants in accordance with equal opportunities policy. 


For more information please contact:


David Judge


Email: david@rcvda.org.uk


RCVDA Office: 01642 440571