National standards for Aids charity volunteers

The Terrence Higgins Trust is launching a national strategy to implement volunteering standards across the organisation.

National Volunteer manager Paula King said: "We'll be introducing national standards for volunteering across the organisation, which will mean standard application procedures and volunteers receiving equal access to work opportunities, to management supervision and training," said King.

Terrence Higgins is also changing how it handles volunteer recruitment and training in response to the amalgamation of regional HIV charities into the trust in the past couple of years, according to King.

Ten charities have come together to become part of Terrence Higgins Trust, but this has led to disparities in how volunteer applications, management and training are handled in different parts of the country. "It's crucial that once we recruit new volunteers they are properly supported,

said King.

Another part of the programme will be improving the monitoring of the volunteer workforce. For example, the trust does not know what proportion of volunteers have HIV.

The new volunteering programme is financed by ?xA3;188,000 from the Community Fund. The charity is recruiting a national volunteer trainer to get the programme under way.

Terrence Higgins Trust, which has 510 volunteers, also wants to boost applications from its client base. The UK's African community now represents nearly a quarter of HIV cases. But King estimates that fewer than 10 per cent of the charity's volunteers are black.

An advertising campaign in the ethnic and gay press, combined with poster campaigns is designed to help double the ratio in the next two years. The organisation is also running an awareness campaign targeting the black African community through ethnic minority partner agencies targeting minicab offices, church halls and the black press.

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