Volunteering and Early Childhood Outcomes - Evidence into Practice
PHE ePoster Library. McBride D. 09/12/17; 186545; 83
Dulcie McBride
Dulcie McBride
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Abstract In 2015, the Big Lottery Fund engaged Parents 1st to carry out a comprehensive evidence review in partnership with the Institute for Voluntary Action Research with the aim of exploring if and how volunteering, peer support and 'community champion' programmes can support early child development outcomes (pregnancy and children aged 0-3). This was commissioned as part of “A Better Start”, a £215million investment, launched in 2012, to improve the life chances of the most vulnerable babies and children in five areas across England.Alongside this, a framework was developed, drawing on learning from implementation science, with tools to help use the findings in practiceThe Institute for Voluntary Action Research carried out a rapid review using research published in English since the 1990s, purposefully selecting evidence from the UK and similar countries (Ireland, Australia, and the Netherlands). Quantitative and qualitative research was included, and existing systematic reviews, to address 'impact', 'process' and experiential questions.The following elements of successful volunteer programmes were identified:Key principles:Strengths-basedRelationship-basedReciprocalEvidence-based but adaptiveCollaborativeClear about parametersKey features:The programme coordinator role is pivotalFully costedStrong organisational leadershipRealistic about timescales'Just enough' data collectionLeadership that models the principlesVolunteering can make a unique and valuable contribution to achieving early prevention outcomes but an enabling context and effective implementation are critical. A Volunteer Programme Development Package is now offered to commissioners, providers, planners and beneficiaries to support quality, best value, continuous improvement and best practice. External funding details Funded by Big Lottery
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