What is network poverty?
A lack of access to positive networks is a significant and serious barrier to a young person’s progression. This is starkly illustrated by the shocking fact that only three in every ten jobs are advertised. It’s still who you know, not what you know that counts. It is the least advantaged that suffer the greatest network poverty. They are the furthest away from the job market and their situation is set to deteriorate further. When you volunteer the Power of your Hour, you help provide positive networks.
The number of young people not in education, employment or training is predicted to increase by 30% by the end of 2020. They will be competing on an uneven playing field for a smaller number of jobs. Networks and the associated life skills, knowledge and confidence they bring have never been more important.
What is the LVN model? How does it work?
Every session is overseen and supported by an LVN youth practitioner.
Our model is based on changing the mindsets of vulnerable youth by networking them with adults outside their usual sphere of influence. LVN draws on the experience and knowledge of volunteers across the community to volunteer just one hour to support young people expand their horizons, shift their mindset and plan for their futures. On its own an hour does not seem much but several hours can have a transformative impact. Every hour counts.
Volunteers support young people in groups and 1-2-1s in many ways. Everyone has a story to tell or a skill to share. Therefore, our ask is for adults to volunteer the Power of their Hour. Countering network poverty, providing access to positive networks, is an important step in diverting vulnerable young away from potentially risky behaviours. Supported by youth practitioners, young people identify their interests and are then matched with our volunteers.
How do I register to I volunteer my hour?
It’s simple. We make it easy for adults to give time. Sign-up on the LVN app here.
To volunteer you must meet our safeguarding requirements. You will need to submit details for 2 references when you sign up. Once we hear back from them, you’ll receive an approval email.
Please check your spam folder for emails from email@example.com and ask your references to do the same.
What do young people expect from me – what should I talk about?
Yourself. Remember a young person has identified you as a match. They want to hear about your career journey and industry sector or will have identified a specific need for support (such as help with homework or completing a job application). Alongside your invite, we’ll send you a link to our Preparing for a Power of an Hour page which includes: the LVN Volunteer Agreement, Tips and Hints, our Power of an Hour Session Plan and suggested open questions to help you prepare and maximise the hour you give.
Sign-up on the app.
What kind of young people will I meet - heads down, hoodies up?
A big mix of young people aged 14-24 participate in LVN programmes. Many are fun, engaging and creative, while others are painfully shy, lack confidence and may be anxious about meeting you.
Some are very vulnerable and disadvantaged, others less so. Some have had limited engagement with formal education, in contrast, others are already on their path to securing employment. The more vulnerable may have been excluded or be at risk of exclusion; be homeless; caught-up in the criminal justice system or at risk of offending. Some are looked after and care leavers. Many are living in poverty with limited access to help at home, suffering digital poverty and lack a variety of positive role models. All need help.
LVN youth are diverse: we support youth of all faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds.
An hour does not seem much, can I really make a difference in 60 minutes?
One hour might not seem much but collectively they can have significant impact. Our evidence is showing that just ten interactions is enough to change a life path. You’re giving young people what they asked for… short, bite-sized chunks of support that they can dip in and out of without feeling pressurised.
How many hours can I give?
We only ask for one, but if you enjoy it, you can donate more hours. You can volunteer 3 hours per centre with the same young person or group of young people and LVN currently operate in 18 youth settings across London. If you want to give more than those 3 hours with the same young person/s, the youth practitioner will request your DBS certificate.
How does LVN keep everyone safe?
All LVN volunteers are required to sign our Volunteer Agreement before attending a Power of an Hour session. This clearly explains the safeguarding rules you need to be aware of.
- LVN trained Youth Practitioner is responsible for supervising Power of an Hour sessions at all times in both face-to-face and online sessions. You will never be left alone with a young person.
- All contact between yourself and a young person must be via a Youth Practitioner, so you must not give your personal contact details to any young person and they must not give you theirs (this includes email, phone and social media). You should inform a Youth Practitioner if a young person does so.
- Read our Safeguarding Policy to find out more.
The safety of Young People and peace of mind of Volunteers is very important to us. If you are ever concerned about anything before, during or after giving your Power of an Hour, please don’t hesitate to speak to the LVN Youth Practitioner from the session or contact LVN directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need to sign anything?
Yes, you will need to sign an LVN volunteer agreement which you’ll receive a link to with your session invite.
Who can be my referees?
As part of our safeguarding process, we ask you to provide two references. These need to be people who you have known you for a minimum of two years. This should ideally include an employment reference and a character reference e.g. a friend or neighbour but not a family member. Please advise your references that we will be in touch.
Is LVN a mentoring service?
Yes! But with a difference. We listened to young people who told us they didn’t want to commit to long term mentoring. Their preference was to be able to dip in and out of support and meet a wide variety of adults in a relaxed setting. Therefore, LVN is intentionally light touch for both young people and volunteers.
Do I need a DBS check to volunteer an Hour?
No. The great thing about the LVN model is that as a youth practitioner is present throughout and the time you give is bite sized, this negates the need to have a DBS check. This means you will never be left alone with a young person.
Should you ever wish to volunteer more than 3 hours with the same young person or group of young people, the youth practitioner will request your DBS certificate.
I’ve registered but haven't heard from LVN.
Please check your spam folder for emails from email@example.com.
If you haven’t received a volunteer approval email, this means we are still chasing one or both of your references. To speed things up, please remind your referees.
How long before I am matched with a young person?
It may take time for a youth practitioner to match their young people’s needs and interests to the right volunteer. This is because we are youth-demand led and respond to their requests for the support they need. Young people helped develop this approach and feel very empowered by it. We know it can be frustrating when you are ready and willing to volunteer but your patience will be worth it.
How will I be notified that a match has been made?
You’ll hear from LVN inviting you to a session via email. Once you accept the invite, the youth practitioner will be in touch to confirm dates and details.
What does a young person get from the Power of an Hour?
Positive networks and all the benefits associated with these: confidence, acceptance, industry insights, life skills and awareness of opportunities. All of which accelerates progression, improves employability, and provides access to meaningful work and enhanced life chances. Sign-up on the app.
What kind of life-ready skills does a young person build?
Skills development is an essential element of LVN’s programmes. Young people have told us they lack basic life–ready skills, and the Power of an Hour is designed to cultivate these: communications, critical thinking, self-management, team building and interpersonal skills.
What do volunteers get from giving their Power of an Hour?
A real sense of achievement. We offer a platform to share your knowledge, skills and experience in a friendly and fun way. Giving the Power of an Hour is your chance to give back, invest in your community – the employees and consumers of tomorrow – and make a difference to young lives. In addition, you can acquire new skills along the way and promote your industry sector too.
How long will my session last?
All LVN Power of an Hour programmes and sessions are designed to last for 60 minutes. Volunteers usually allow a little extra for prep (and, when required, travel time).
What is the format for the hour?
Once your power of an hour time has been agreed you will receive an LVN session plan to help you prepare. This is your hour feel free to design it your way.
Typically, the 60-minute session will comprise of a 10-minute introduction and conclusion run by the youth practitioner, and 40 minutes for your presentation and Q&A’s.
Can I volunteer an hour with someone else?
Yes, of course. Having two volunteers can bring energy and a different dynamic to the session, which would still last for just one hour. Please feel free to find a friend or colleague to buddy up with. They will also need to be registered and approved as an LVN volunteer.
Where will I volunteer my hour?
There are two ways you can give your hour; either in person at an LVN host centre or in an online session supervised by a youth practitioner. The youth practitioner will liaise with you on which platform the online session will take place.
See where we operate here.
Due the current COVID19 restrictions, Power of an Hour sessions are currently only taking place online. This situation may change if government guidelines change. Many of our young people suffer from digital poverty and therefore may attend youth provisions in carefully controlled bubbles. All LVN host centres operating in this way are fully compliant with COVID19 requirements.
Do I have to live near an LVN host centre in order to volunteer an hour?
No. There is no geographic restriction on volunteers, and you can now volunteer from the comfort of your home.
When will my session take place?
Power of an Hour sessions can be scheduled throughout the day, most take place in the afternoon and early evenings to fit in with school and college hours. You should only accept an invitation to volunteer the Power of your Hour if it is convenient to you.
I’m feeling anxious about volunteering
Please feel free to talk through your concerns with the session youth practitioner. Every volunteer has a story to share and every hour is invaluable to a young person. Maybe think about pairing up with someone?
I’m not sure if I’m suitable. Will my story be relevant?
Absolutely! It’s imperative for young people to meet with lots of different people outside their usual sphere of influence. Regardless of your background, everyone has experienced challenges and failures. It’s through these that we learn. By sharing your experience, the young people will see someone who has overcome challenges to achieve their goals.
You’re giving young people the chance to meet professionals in a non-intimidating environment enabling them to build confidence and a sense of familiarity before they attend interviews or enter the workplace.
How have other volunteers found the experience?
Check out what some of our volunteers have to say here.
I’ve agreed to a time and date but can no longer make it what do I do?
You can email or call the youth worker who has arranged the meeting with you to let them know. Please try to do this as soon as you realise you can’t make the session. This will give the youth worker more time to find an alternative.
You are under no obligation to give your hour and can always decline an invitation. If you are not feeling up to it just say “no”. Your details will remain on the matchmaking system or you can unsubscribe at any time.
I cannot commit to long term mentoring, is LVN right for me?
Yes, LVN is the perfect fit for you. We only ask you to volunteer one hour of your time. You can give an hour once and never again, but if you enjoy it you can keep on giving. Young people have told us they do not want long-term mentoring schemes and want to be able to dip in and out of support on their terms. The great thing about LVN is that you don’t have to make a long–term commitment and can volunteer as little or as much time as you like.
Is my information visible to young people?
No. Your privacy and data protection are important to us and your information is only ever visible to youth workers. We are fully GDPR compliant.
I’ve only ever supported school groups and have reservations about delivering outside a school setting. How will this differ?
This will be more fun and maybe a little more chaotic. LVN sessions are designed to be lively and informal. We are trying to recreate that “round the kitchen table” feel to encourage chat and opinion sharing.
Sometimes sessions can get a little rowdy, but the youth practitioner is on hand to help navigate this. Our young people do not want sessions to look, feel and sound like school as they have only ever experienced negative relationships with statutory and academic service providers.
Do I have to attend any volunteer training?
No. The Power of an Hour model was developed to make giving time simple and safe whilst minimising bureaucracy. It helps us keep costs low without compromising on the quality of the experience. Everyone’s story is different, and this is reflected in our sessions.
You will receive volunteer tips and hints which include what to expect; ideas for tasks; suggested questions and advice on session planning, along with establishing boundaries and relationship building. However, this is your session and there is no prescribed format.
My company has an employee volunteering scheme, do you do anything for corporates?
Yes! We have a number of high impact programmes tailored towards corporate social giving. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Does LVN pay volunteer expenses?
Sorry, no. As a small charity we are dependent on the generosity and goodwill of our volunteers donating their time for free.
Are there any other ways I can get involved?
LVN provide opportunities for volunteers to attend speed networking events, host company visits, participate in LVN’s flagship programme Be Your Own Boss and work with us on our Power of an Hour corporate Further Education partnerships.
Keep a look out for these in our monthly newsletters or get in touch at email@example.com to find out more.
Some of our activities are currently suspended until further notice due to COVID19 restrictions.
I love what LVN is trying to achieve, how can I help promote your work?
You can make a big difference and help us support more young people by encouraging your contacts to donate the Power of their Hour by registering on the LVN app. Please also:
- Follow us on social media. Create your own posts to share your experience using the LVN brand & tag LVN’s channels
- Promote LVN to your networks on LinkedIn
- Share LVN content including YouTube videos and our website
- Rate and comment on the LVN app in the app/play store to help build our reputation and motivate young people to sign-up.