On-line forum for Volunteer Managers
Diversity and Equality
Diversity and Equality
Shiereen Saib (17/03/2011 10:43)
Most organisations adher to a Diversity and Equality Policy. But some struggle with involving people with learning disabilities because they can not offer them sufficient support. And other will not involve volunteers who don't speek fluent English because they will not be able to communicate with their clients. Can we call this discrimination or should there be understanding for organisations?
vcw user (17/03/2011 13:50)
Disability discrimination legislation does not yet apply to volunteers. But it's good practice not to discriminate and to make 'reasonable adjustments.' Essentially there needs to be a balance between the resources of the organisation and the needs of the volunteer. However, we can often make more 'reasonable adjustments' than we think!
As to English, there are plenty of English speakers who are poor communicators and plenty of great communicators whose English isn't up to scratch. And so much depends on the role.
vcw user (17/03/2011 14:07)
As a best Pracitce Manager I have has several conversations with VIOs regarding how well volunteers should speak English. I wouldn't dignify refusing someone a place because of poor English as discrimination. Having considered the pressure volunteer managers are facing these days I completly agree that volunteers MUST know at least basic English. You would't employ an interpreter for £28 per hour to assist your volunteer.
vcw user (17/03/2011 14:10)
Volunteering should be a help not a pressure on your organisation.
vcw user (17/03/2011 14:11)
I agree - and small charities have limited resources, both in terms of time and ability to support volunteers who dont speak enough English, so with the best will in the world, this can hinder rather than help the organisation in some instances
vcw user (17/03/2011 14:14)
The other day three Spanish students entered the office. They wanted to volunteer. They could not speak basic English. I had to reply them using my Spanish as they could not understand basic English. Certainly, they have been advised by their tutor to volunteer to improve their English. A rhetoric question-can you improve something without basis?
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