We invited several organisations who run Volunteer Befriending or Good Neighbour Schemes to come and visit us in Oxford at the end of February. We hoped they would learn more about Ami and we would hear their feedback on our ideas. There were representatives from RVS, Age UK , Oxford County Council, Volunteer Link Up Abingdon Good Neighbour Scheme and Community Christmas
As part of the presentation we showed some examples of the sort of screen a new volunteer would be able to see on Ami. It would include details about the people who are looking for help, but not enough to identify them or where they live. It could show their age, gender, interests and an icon to indicate what kind of help they require. The short profile would also show which volunteer agency had assessed their needs.
After a presentation (you can download our slides) we asked everyone to tell us what the benefits of a system like Ami might be for their organisation. The top three benefits were:
- Better Matching – being able to match volunteers with clients by location or interests
- Better Referrals – a single point of referrals for GPs, relatives and other agencies
- Attract more volunteers – by showing local need, offering micro-volunteering and making the process easier
All agreed it could be a really useful tool for their organisations. Some imagined an Ami App where a pre-registered volunteer could find out what help was needed in their local area this weekend when they had some free time. Other benefits discussed included gathering national data including live data and activity reporting.
The top concerns of those attending the workshop were
- Cost, Sustainability – What would it cost to use and can Ami be financially sustainable
- Cooperation – Can the volunteer organisations work together, sharing volunteers & data
- Safeguarding – Risks of data on-line for vulnerable older people
These are all concerns that we expected and we believe we can begin to show how we will address them during our first pilot which is planned for this summer. We’re still looking for different types of organisations to work with including Churches, Clinical Commissioning Groups and Housing Associations, so do get in touch if you might be interested. A huge thank you to everyone who gave us their time. We hope the day was useful and that you’ll continue to work with us.