Equal Opportunities

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EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES
FoodCycle prides itself on being a diverse organisation and welcomes volunteers and guests from all backgrounds and walks of life.

The success of our organisation depends on the people we work with, and we recognise that recruiting volunteers and individuals from a range of backgrounds creates a workforce with a wealth of experience, where creativity and valuing difference in others thrives.

This helps us to:

  • anticipate and meet the needs of all our guests
  • recruit, retain and develop the best people
  • act responsibly in the communities of which we are a part

Guidance is available for FoodCycle staff around delivering inclusive volunteering, including how to recruit and support volunteers; equality and diversity training; undertaking accessibility audits of premises; and where to improve knowledge around particular health conditions. Our guidance follows the principles within our equal opportunities policy.

What does the volunteer recruitment process involve?

Please find below a brief outline of the current recruitment process for both standard volunteer roles and volunteer leader roles. 

We want you to have every opportunity to shine and show us your talents, so please let us know if there is anything we can do to make sure the volunteer registration process or volunteer leader application process works for you. 

Volunteers

All volunteers need to register for a volunteer account on the FoodCycle website. This involves: 

  • Providing basic information such as name, age, contact details. 
  • Confirming that you are able to work with young people and adults at risk. 
  • Reading and agreeing to the FoodCycle Volunteer Agreement. 
  • Watching 3 short videos (1 minute each) on Food Safety, Health & Safety, & Safeguarding. 
  • Completing a simple quiz, with multiple choice questions based on the video content. 

We also ask for some extra information about you, which relates to equality and diversity. This information is important as it helps to ensure that we reflect the communities of which we are a part, and that our volunteer teams contains a broad representation of people. 

If you indicate during the registration process that you consider yourself a person with a disability, a member of staff will be in touch to see if you require any additional support to volunteer with us. 

After this, you are ready to sign up for a volunteer slot at your local Project! 

Project Leader volunteers 

All prospective Project Leaders need to complete a Project Leader application form on the FoodCycle website. This involves: 

  • Providing basic information such as name, age, and contact details. 
  • Outlining any relevant experience, training, and/or qualifications. 
  • Providing contact details for an individual who can provide a reference. 
  • Detailing your reasons for applying for the role and how long you are able to commit. 
  • Declaring any criminal convictions or police cautions. 

After receiving your Project Leader application form, the relevant Regional Manager will call you for a chat about the role and to explain the next steps.  

All incoming Project Leaders are required to complete the same induction/training, as below: 

  • Food Safety Level 2 and Food Allergens (online modules). 
  • Shadowing session (led by an existing Project Leader). 
  • Enhanced DBS check. 
  • Read key policies and procedures. 
  • Safeguarding (2 hour remote training session). 

You will feel well prepared when you start your Project Leader role! 

Do you offer accessible training for volunteers?

We recognise that not all volunteers learn in the same way or at the same speed. We are flexible with our training and have different options so that volunteers can learn in a way that is most comfortable for them.
We use multi-media to provide information in several formats to support diverse ways of learning, including:

  • Digital documents: digital or electronic text is easily read aloud by a screen reader, enlarged, converted to Braille, adjusted for colour and contrast as well as shared.
  • Videos with captioning and description.

We also offer flexible remote training and online resources, including:

  • Online training modules which volunteers can complete at their own pace.
  • Real time video conference training sessions.

Can I volunteer with FoodCycle if I have a disability?

Our recruitment process encourages inclusive volunteering, which focuses on finding a match between the volunteer roles available and the applicant’s skills, qualities, and interests. This applies to both our standard volunteer roles and our volunteer leader roles.

We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that our working environment does not prevent people from taking on volunteer roles for which they are suitably qualified. This may include physical adaptations or more flexible ways of working (where appropriate and practical).

During the volunteer registration process, you will be asked if you consider yourself a person with a disability. If you select ‘yes’, a member of the programmes team will get in touch to have chat about whether you need any additional support to enable your volunteering. They will explain how your local FoodCycle Project works and run through the different volunteer roles so you have a good overview of the opportunities on offer. (This is also the case if you apply for one of our leader volunteer roles.)

What you can expect from FoodCycle

  • A welcoming and inclusive environment that is free from discrimination.
  • We will strive to provide the support and equipment you may need to enable you to use the application process, undertake your voluntary role, and undertake any relevant training.
  • We will work with you to ensure that your individual needs are met, carrying out role evaluations/risk assessments where appropriate.
  • If further support or equipment is needed to enable you to undertake your role, we will seek appropriate advice and support from external agencies.

What kind of adjustments can you make?

We will always work with you to ensure your volunteer experience meets your needs through reasonable adjustments. This includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Adjustments for mobility (difficulty with standing, walking, lifting, carrying). For example, by adapting tasks so they can be carried out sitting down and/or remotely; dividing/delegating tasks to suit different capabilities; or offering a ‘buddy’ for support. 
  • Adjustments for neurological conditions (seizures, memory problems, concentration, autism). For example, by making sure that tasks are straight forward and similar each week, or tweaking volunteer session timings to allow tasks to be carried out when minimal numbers of people are present. 
  • Adjustments for communication (deafness, sight impairments). For example, by adapting paperwork, meetings, information, and/or training to make them more accessible, or assigning a member of staff to go through forms etc. on the phone or in person. 

We encourage you to share the ways we can support you best, to help you gain the most from your volunteer experience.  

There will sometimes be situations where adjustments are unfortunately not possible, due to the volunteer-led nature of our Projects, financial limitations, and/or training constraints. However, we will work with each individual to understand personal need/requirements and will always endeavour to make reasonable adjustments to our working practices if needed. 

What if I become disabled during my time at FoodCycle?

We will make every effort to facilitate you to continue in your existing volunteer role(s). Where this is not possible, we will offer suitable alternative roles for your consideration, and endeavour to provide training and support as needed.

What if I need to pause or cancel my volunteering slot?

That’s not a problem! Volunteering with FoodCycle is very flexible – if you need to take a break that’s okay. You can remove yourself from sessions via the volunteer portal, by selecting ‘my account’, ‘volunteer history’, then clicking on ‘remove me’ under upcoming sessions. We just ask for as much notice as possible so another volunteer can fill your slot.  

For more information about volunteering with a disability please visit:

https://www.scope.org.uk/advice-and-support/volunteering-develop-your-skills/

MEET CHELLEY

Chelley is a cooking Project Leader in Norwich and has been volunteering with FoodCycle for three years.

She says that having a hearing impairment and also suffering with chronic pain (which makes it hard to lift things) hasn’t held her back from volunteering.  “Everyone is so supportive at FoodCycle, the other volunteers know that I can’t really lift much, so will always step in to help.  I’ll also let people know in the briefing that I’m hard of hearing, so they don’t think I’m ignoring them, which can happen sometimes!.

It is such a nice charity to volunteer with and the best bit is working with the other volunteers, giving something back to society and knowing that you have guests leaving with full bellies.

I would really encourage anyone that is thinking of volunteering to come and give it a go, it really is such a supportive environment and everyone really does pull together.”

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