Emotional resilience, compassion fatigue and having difficult conversations with volunteers

10 July 2018 at Hanbury Hall | Spitalfields | London

Managing volunteers can sometimes be an emotionally challenging experience.

  • Do you have the guidance and support necessary to cope effectively with these situations?
  • Have you had useful guidance on saying ‘No’ to volunteers, or on supporting volunteers and /or clients in stressful situations?

This event aims to discuss these crucial issues and offer some practical guidance both on techniques and best practice. With a combination of presentations and interactive workshops from experienced practitioners, this promises to be a busy and rewarding day.

There will be opportunities for networking and for attendees to share their experiences and opinions.


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10 -10:30am – Registration

Registration –  tea, coffee and networking.

10.30 – 10.40am – Welcome address
10.40 – 11.10am – What is emotional resilience? – Debbie Usiskin

Debbie Usiskin, Volunteer Engagement Manager, North London Hospice

What is emotional resilience and why do we talk about it in relation to volunteers and volunteer managers? This presentation will look at different theories and models and consider how an understanding and awareness of emotional resilience can impact volunteering organisations.

11.10am – 12.10pm – Workshop – Debbie Usiskin

This interactive workshop follows on from the previous presentation. It includes a description of the level 2 accredited training offered at North London Hospice, followed by some sample exercises and then a debriefing. The original course aimed to enable volunteers at hospices to provide emotional support to patients and their families and friends.

12:10 – 12:45pm – Supporting volunteer managers through emotionally challenging situations – Kathryn Palmer-Skillings

Kathryn Palmer-Skillings, Volunteer Services Manager, London, Macmillan Cancer Support

Volunteer managers in Macmillan local services are often faced with emotionally taxing situations including safeguarding, bereavement and emotional strain from service users. Macmillan’s London Services Volunteering Team use a number of support mechanisms to ensure Volunteer Managers, some of whom are volunteers themselves, are able to maintain their wellbeing. This session will explore our approach to:

  • Maintaining boundaries
  • Living in the community where you work/volunteer
  • Peer support and more formal support
  • The role of the volunteer recruitment journey and volunteer induction in supporting emotional well-being

12:45pm – Roundtable discussion
1.05pm – Lunch

Lunch, provided (please ensure we know of any special dietary needs)

1.55 – 2.30pm – How to approach challenging conversations – Adam Williams

Adam Williams, Regional Operations Manager (West of England), St. Johns Ambulance

As National Head of Volunteering for St John Ambulance, Adam was responsible for developing and implementing the Volunteering Strategy through large scale organisational change. His presentation will give an overview of a workshop the charity developed and delivered around having ‘challenging conversations’ with volunteers, and how to approach them.

2.30 – 3pm – How to manage difficult and challenging conversations – using psychology, neuroscience, empathy and courage – Mandy Rutter

Mandy Rutter, Consultant

Difficult conversations are a significant part of managing people and performance but we rarely receive training on what to say and how to manage the inevitable emotional fall out. Mandy will deliver this presentation, then facilitate the associated workshop.

3 – 3.45pm – Facilitated workshop – Mandy Rutter

This workshop will offer theory around emotions and provide practical guidance for tacking difficult issues. A model of communication will be presented which can help to maintain flow and focus.

3.45 – 4pm – Roundtable discussion
4 – 4.15pm – Closing remarks

This agenda is subject to change

Any enquiries, please contact Greville Southgate, AVM’s L&D Officer, on [email protected] or 020 7426 9192.

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