peers who volunteer

how to use this guide

How to use this guide

This guide has been designed to be easy to use. It is divided into chapters covering seven key topic areas which are core to ensuring that peer volunteers are properly supported. These are:

  1. Recruitment
  2. Training
  3. Support
  4. Developing work skills
  5. Help finding paid work
  6. Financial help to support volunteering
  7. Control and choice over voluntary work


Each chapter highlights the key issues from the experiences of the 253 peer volunteers who completed the survey, split into positive and negative experiences. It also includes suggestions and insights from the co-production team.

We do not set out to recommend a definitive approach to every issue. This is because one size doesn’t fit all – the roles of volunteers vary between organisations and organisational practice differs depending on the size of the organisation, its culture and sector etc..

Instead, we seek to highlight the key issues and bring them to life by sharing the lived experience of peers who have volunteered (both those who responded to the survey and members of co-production team). There are many examples of peer volunteers feeling unsupported or poorly treated, not because organisations set out to exploit them or neglect them, but inadvertently through work practices and policies which weren’t thought through from a peer volunteer’s point of view. Where we share real life “case studies”, individuals’ names have been changed to ensure confidentiality.

Our aim is to give organisations the opportunity to think about the way they work with peer volunteers from different perspectives so they can reflect honestly on their own systems and approaches.

You can either download the full best practice guide here, or read the section you are interested in by clicking on the links below.

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