Dear Charity Partners
ValueYou is a volunteer recognition scheme that works in partnership with businesses to provide discount cards and gift vouchers to volunteers. We believe that communities should find ways to say thank you to people who help out. Our scheme is one way of saying thank you to volunteers. We are a registered charity (reg. no. 1161760).
This guide explains in detail how volunteers can register with the scheme, how it works and how you as a volunteer manager may be able to support volunteers to use the scheme. We decided to produce this guide in response to demand from volunteer managers who support the aims of our scheme and want to better enable their volunteers to take benefit from it. This guide is also available to download as a PDF file here.
The scheme operates in 16 London Boroughs (and Portsmouth) and eligibility for joining the scheme is different dependent on the Borough. The volunteering activity needs to have taken place in one of these 16 Boroughs.
In the following Boroughs volunteers will be eligible to register if they have given 100 hours or more of their time over the last 12 months to a registered charity or a hospital:
Ealing · Kensington & Chelsea · Westminster · Islington · Lambeth · Hackney · Havering
In the following Boroughs volunteers will be eligible to register if they have given 100 hours or more of their time over the last 12 months to a registered charity or a hospital, a school or a not for profit library or parks service:
Camden · Hounslow · Wandsworth · Barnet · Croydon · Merton · Redbridge · Hammersmith & Fulham · Kingston · Portsmouth
In addition, volunteers from additional not for profit community organisations may also be eligible if their host organisation is registered with the local volunteer bureau. For further information about this email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It does not matter where the volunteer lives or where the office/you are based. It is purely based on where the volunteering activity has taken place. Businesses take part on the understanding that we are able to assure them that we control access to the scheme appropriately. We also need to do this in a way that doesn’t create lots of work researching individuals and organisations eligibility. Thanks to Council support we have been able to expand eligibility in some Boroughs beyond registered charities and hospitals.
Applying to join
To join the scheme a volunteer must complete the application form available from our website or from the website of their local volunteer centre in participating Boroughs (http://www.valueyou.org/getting-card)
For most Boroughs (except those below) there is an online application form. The links can be found here:
For Westminster, Ealing and Islington there is a Word document to fill in. If using the Word form, it is best for us if it is completed on a computer and email to us. However, hand written application forms are also accepted. Most of the forms also serve as an application for a 100 hour certificate of volunteering achievement provided separately by the volunteer centre. The first part of the form requires the volunteer to enter their details, the organisation they volunteer for, when they started and how many hours they have done over the previous 12 months. The volunteer manager then completes the rest of the form, providing us with the reassurance that the volunteering activity described is accurate. In addition, the volunteer manager completing the application form must provide an organisational email address for us to confirm that they work for the charity. For example, email@example.com
COMMON MISTAKES MADE ON THE FORM
*NOT WRITING THE NUMBER OF HOURS COMPLETED*
*NOT TICKING THE BOX TO CONFIRM YOU WANT TO JOIN THE DISCOUNT SCHEME*
We contact a sample of applications via email to confirm authentic completion of forms. The application form allows for the volunteer to indicate that they DO NOT want the 100 certificate of volunteering achievement and we encourage volunteers to only ask for a certificate if they really want one. This helps reduce the workload for the Volunteer Centre that has to make and post out the certificate. Once the form has been processed we will post out the card and introductory pack to the volunteer. On occasions when we receive multiple applications from volunteers volunteering at the same organisation we may contact you and if you agree, post the packs to you to distribute to save on our posting costs. The card lasts for two years. At the expiry of the card volunteers can apply for its renewal, however, only if they have done another 100 hours in the past year. The renewal form is available on our website: http://www.valueyou.org/getting-card.
We provide card holders with a full explanation of how their cards work, and whilst we do encourage card holders to contact us with any queries it may be helpful for you to have an overview. The discount card enables the card holder to receive a discount of 10% or more at participating businesses. We have a wide variety of businesses taking part including cafés, restaurants, dry cleaners, florists, butchers, gift shops, hair salons, beauty parlours, fishmongers, deli’s, key cutters and shoe repairs, bakeries and more. There is no minimum spend required to use the card, but the card is for their personal use only. So, for example, if visiting a restaurant with a friend who doesn’t have a card, even if the card holder pays the entire bill, they should not expect a discount off the cost of their friend’s meal. On a related note, the cards do not have the photo of the volunteer on them. Card holders should bring another form of photo ID with them when using the card as they may be asked to produce it alongside their card. We would recommend this particularly the first time they use their card in a business. It is unlikely to be necessary on further visits. If an item being purchased is already subject to a discount/special offer, the card holder should not expect a further discount on top when using their card. We encourage card holders to make business staff serving them aware that they intend to use their card before making use of products/services paid for afterward (for example in restaurant or beauty parlour). This avoids any problems arising that might leave the volunteer out of pocket. If a customer would normally be expected to book in advance at a business this will also be expected of the card holder.
In addition to their discount card volunteers will receive one gift voucher. The gifts are provided by businesses and volunteers are provided with a unique gift voucher code that they can use to claim a voucher. The gift vouchers are varied but include breakfasts and lunches for one or two people, hot drink and cakes for one or two people, monetary restaurant vouchers and vouchers for dry cleaning, shoe repairs, key cutting, flowers, cakes, meat, fish and more. The most important thing to remind volunteers is that they must use the voucher during the month in which they claim it off the website. This is because the businesses have agreed to provide vouchers on a monthly basis which expire and renew. This enables them to manage use of their vouchers so that they are able to be more generous in how many they give away.
If the volunteer provided us with an email address when they applied, a copy of the voucher will be emailed to them after they have chosen it to enable them to print it at a later date. If not, the voucher must be printed at the time it appears. If a volunteer has lost their voucher after printing and did not receive an email copy please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org as in exceptional circumstances we are able to access vouchers. Each voucher has the name of the person on it and it must only be redeemed by them unless it says otherwise in the terms and conditions. When the voucher gives a gift to be used by more than one person the additional people do not need to be members of the discount scheme as long as they are with the person who is named on the voucher. The voucher must be used by the expiry date shown on it-which is nearly always the last day in the month in which it is chosen for the reasons described before. The voucher will be taken off the volunteer by the business when it is redeemed. Due to the small size of our team, ValueYou is not under any obligation to assist if any dispute should arise between a volunteer and a business. Furthermore, as the businesses take part on good will basis we have no power to require a business to do anything. However, if any issues should arise volunteers can contact us email@example.com and time permitting we will attempt to assist in resolving the matter.
How you can help
We would welcome your help in supporting your volunteers to access and make the best use of the scheme. We have found that some volunteers can be sceptical about the scheme, not necessarily believing there isn’t some charge or catch involved. Providing reassurance to them that this scheme is simply designed to say thank you to them can help enormously. Promoting the availability of the scheme to your volunteers will also encourage them to sign up. Practical support for volunteers that may struggle with printing, completing and sending us the application form would also be appreciated. The forms do not need to be printed in coloured ink. If you yourself are unable to print application forms, please contact us and we will be able to post application forms to you.
Similarly, volunteers may not have access to the internet to choose and print a voucher. Our welcome pack does advise volunteers that they can call us to choose a voucher if that is the case, but we have a very small team and so if you are able to use a computer and printer at your location that would be very helpful. Sometimes volunteers might be unsure of which businesses are taking part. Again, we provide them a list of those in their Borough and a full list can be found on our website. But if you were able to familiarise yourself with those businesses taking part nearby we have found that helps as you can describe them in relation to local landmarks/other businesses.
Finally, generally encouraging volunteers to use the scheme is beneficial for both them and the other volunteers as a whole. The more regularly the scheme is used, the more likely businesses will be to see it as something worthwhile continuing to support. You might choose to put up a list of participating business on a display/notice board. Keep this in mind should you ever visit local cafes/restaurants with your volunteers or make other purchases where you could do this in businesses supporting the scheme. They have shown a great amount of good will supporting the scheme and visiting their business as a customer gives you a chance to say thanks in return as well as spending money in the business.
Any more questions?
Contact us. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us either through email firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com or call/text us on 07926 164 827. Or visit www.valueyou.org for more information and the latest information about the scheme.
In each area we work in partnership with a local volunteer bureau. We are grateful for their help and support.
Our scheme in Ealing is being run in partnership with Ealing Community and Voluntary Services and Ealing Volunteer Centre (http://www.ealingcvs.org.uk/).
Our scheme in Hammersmith & Fulham is being run in partnership with Hammersmith & Fulham Volunteer Centre (http://www.hfvc.org.uk/).
Our scheme in Westminster is being run in partnership with One Westminster (http://www.onewestminster.org.uk/).
Our scheme in Kensington & Chelsea is being run in partnership with Volunteer Centre Kensington & Chelsea (http://www.voluntarywork.org.uk/).
Our scheme in Islington is being run in partnership with Islington Volunteer Centre and Volutary Action Islington (http://www.vai.org.uk/).
Our scheme in Camden is being run in partnership with Volunteer Centre Camden (http://volunteercentrecamden.org.uk/).
Our scheme in Merton is being run in partnership with Merton Voluntary Service Council (http://www.mvsc.co.uk/).
Our scheme in Croydon is being run in partnership with Croydon Voluntary Action (http://www.cvalive.org.uk/volunteering/).
Our scheme in Barnet is being run in partnership with Volunteering Barnet (http://www.volunteeringbarnet.org.uk/).
Our scheme in Hounslow is being run in partnership with Volunteering Hounslow (http://volunteeringhounslow.org.uk/).
Our scheme in Wandsworth is being run in partnership with Volunteering Wandsworth (http://www.volunteeringwandsworth.org.uk/).
Our scheme in Hackney is being run in partnership with Volunteer Centre Hackney (http://www.vchackney.org/).
Our scheme in Havering is being run in partnership with Havering Volunteer Centre (http://www.haveringvc.org.uk/).
Our scheme in Kingston is being run in Partnership with Volunteering Kingston (https://www.volunteeringkingston.org.uk/).
You can also access this guide as a PDF
For your convenience, we've added several maps that you can download for your area and display or give out to your volunteers: Acton-Ealing, Angel-Kings Cross-Kentish Town, Highbury Islington-Arsenal, Barnet, Camden Town-Kentish Town, Croydon, Earls Court-Chelsea-Fulham, Earls Court-Chelsea-Kensington, Farringdon-Kings Cross-Russel Square, Hammersmith-Sheperds Bush, Hounslow, Merton, Paddington-Central London, Queens Park-Kensal Green, Barkingside-Ilford, Victoria-Kensington, Wandsworth, Wanstead-Snaresbrook-Woodford, Lambeth, Romford-Hornchurch, Hoxton-Stoke Newington.