Volunteer Policy

Garden aims

 To create and maintain green spaces for wildlife, plants and people.

To support enjoyment and learning about nature

To promote an inclusive community and nurture wellbeing


 This policy sets out the broad principles for voluntary involvement in Forest Gate Community Garden. It is of relevance to all within the organisation, including volunteers, members, and those elected or appointed to positions of responsibility. This policy is endorsed by the Trustees of Forest Gate Community Garden and will be reviewed annually, to ensure that it remains appropriate to the needs of FGCG and its volunteers.


 Volunteering is an important expression of citizenship as well as an important component of democracy. Volunteers are people who, unpaid and of their own free will, contribute their time, energy and skills to benefit the community.


 Forest Gate Community Garden recognises the right that people have to participate in the life of their communities through volunteering. It also acknowledges that volunteers contribute in many ways, that their contribution is unique and that volunteering can benefit users of services, local communities and the volunteers themselves. Forest Gate Community Garden values the contribution made by volunteers and is committed to involving volunteers in appropriate positions and in ways which are encouraging, supportive and which develop volunteering.

FGCG recognises its responsibility to arrange its volunteering efficiently and sensitively so that the valuable gift of the volunteer's time is best used to the mutual advantage of all concerned.

Statement of values and principles

 Volunteering is a legitimate and crucial activity that is supported and encouraged by FGCG. The volunteer ethos is central to the structure of Forest Gate Community Garden and the garden is intended to provide an outstanding example of what can be achieved by volunteers working together.

The volunteer role is a gift relationship, binding only in honour, trust and mutual understanding. No enforceable obligation, contractual or otherwise, can be imposed on volunteers to attend, give or be set a minimum amount of time to carry out the tasks involved in their voluntary activity.

Likewise the organisation cannot be compelled to provide either regular work or payment or other benefit for any activity undertaken by the volunteer. Although volunteers offer time freely and willingly without binding obligation, there is a presumption of mutual support and reliability. Reciprocal expectations are acknowledged – both of what the organisation expects of volunteers and what volunteers expect of the organisation.

Recruitment and selection

 Forest Gate Community Garden is committed to equal opportunities and believes that volunteering should be open to all regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, ability, religion and political beliefs. The acceptance of volunteer assistance for a particular role is made on merit, the sole selection criterion being the individual's suitability to carry out agreed tasks. Information about the volunteer not relevant to the performance of the volunteering tasks concerned will be disregarded by the organisation in terms of recruitment and selection.

Volunteering opportunities will be widely promoted in ways that makes them accessible to all members of the community. Volunteers who are considered unsuitable for a particular task will be offered alternative voluntary involvement with the organisation if available.

New volunteers will be properly inducted into the organisation. Volunteers will be properly briefed about the activities to be undertaken and given all the necessary information to enable them to perform with confidence.

 Training and development

 All volunteers will be made aware of and have access to all the organisation's relevant policies, including those relating to volunteering, health & safety, child protection and equality/diversity/inclusion.

The development of training and support for volunteers is a high priority for the organisation in order to equip them with the necessary information and skills to carry out their tasks. It will be the responsibility of the Garden coordinator to see that this training is provided.

Support, supervision and recognition

 Volunteers will be given the opportunity, where relevant, to share their views and opinions with the wider organisation, at the monthly steering group which is open to all.


 Forest Gate Community Garden recognises that the reimbursement of expenses incurred in the course of volunteering is important from an equal opportunities point of view. This is necessary to ensure that all individuals have access to voluntary opportunities.  The organisation's volunteers are able to claim reasonable out of pocket expenses, subject to the production of receipts as evidence of the expenditure. What can be reclaimed from the organisation and the calculation of expenses will be explained to the volunteer before they start any activity likely to give rise to expenses.

It is the responsibility of the Garden coordinator to make volunteers aware of the procedure for the reimbursement of expenses.


The organisation's liability insurance policies include the activities of volunteers and liability towards them. The organisation does not insure the volunteer's personal possessions against loss or damage.


 The organisation will advise the volunteer on its confidentiality policy and procedures, where relevant.  This would include those relating to personal information held by the organisation relating to the volunteer.

Settling differences

The organisation aims to treat all volunteers fairly, objectively and consistently. The organisation seeks to ensure that volunteers' views are heard, noted and acted upon promptly and aim for a positive and amicable solution based on the organisation's guidelines for settling differences.

The Trustees are responsible for handling problems regarding volunteer complaints or conduct. In the event of a problem, all relevant facts should be obtained as quickly as possible. Support will be provided by the organisation to the volunteer while it endeavours to resolve the problem in an informal manner.

Rights and responsibilities

 The organisation recognises the rights of volunteers to:

  • know what is (and what is not) expected of them
  • have adequate support in their volunteering
  • receive appreciation
  • have safe working conditions
  • be insured
  • know their rights and responsibilities if something goes wrong
  • receive relevant out-of-pocket expenses
  • receive appropriate training
  • be free from discrimination
  • be offered the opportunity for personal development

The organisation expects volunteers to:

  • be reliable
  • be honest
  • respect confidentiality
  • make the most of training and support opportunities
  • carry out tasks in a way that reflects the aims and values of the organisation
  • work within agreed guidelines
  • respect the work of the organisation and not bring it into disrepute
  • comply with the organisation's policies

Cross reference Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy of FGCG. Complaints Policy.

Policy ends

First devised July 2023

Approved by Trustees July 2023                                To be reviewed March 2025