The Insight: Where Volunteering and Strategy Meet

The team at Midland Mencap is ever-expanding, changing and developing. It’s a common occurrence in the Pinewood office to meet new members of our wider, growing team. But there was one introduction that had us all even more excited than usual.

Enter… Kate Webber, our new Volunteer Manager. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Kate this month, to find out about where she’s coming from and what she’s going to be bringing to the Midland Mencap table in her new role. This interview is part of our wider ‘job insights’ series, whereby we interview and get to know people from across the organisation, giving you a look into who the team is and what we do.

This November, our Volunteer Manager is under the microscope. For Kate, this role is a step beyond her previous position at Childline, where she was a Volunteer Coordinator at their Birmingham branch. According to Kate, “this role and the way it was sold to me, was that it was almost starting from scratch, looking at all the policies, redesigning things – it felt like the next step for things, making my mark.”

Kate’s role is one that brings together strategy, creativity, and flexibility. Currently, she has been writing and developing our new Volunteer strategy. From recruitment policies to planning where volunteers can sit amongst the vast-expanding Midland Mencap team; Kate is working alongside our Senior Management Team (SMT) to ensure that everything is in line with where we are heading over the next few years.

On a daily level, Kate has been spending “most of my time writing and re-writing policy changes”. This document will eventually be included in our re-launch of the Volunteer strategy, giving access and details of how our fleet of volunteers will be part of supporting the work we do across the West Midlands. Additionally, Kate has been working on our Volunteer Handbook, designing exactly how we are going to recruit new people and the processes to then distribute them into the relevant teams.

Coming from a background of charity work, Kate has spent most of her career refining various skills – from communication to organisation and being an excellent people person. Whilst this role isn’t what she had thought she would be doing whilst at school, it is clear from her career journey how she arrived at Midland Mencap. Originally, she had set her sights on being a Physiotherapist. However, after completing work experience, Kate realised this wasn’t her calling after all. After her school days, Kate decided against going to university and instead took the role of Youth and Community Worker on at a charity based in the Midlands.

From here, Kate began working at Childline, where she was there for many years. Whilst her role developed and changed over the course of her time there, from a Business Support Manager to a Volunteer Coordinator, Kate’s passion for volunteering led her to apply for our position at Midland Mencap. Currently, Kate is spending her time re-writing and developing a new volunteering strategy for us. Taking inspiration and knowledge from her previous positions, entwining everything that Midland Mencap is and can be in the future, comes in the forms of writing policies, recruitment strategy and suggestions for our marketing team. This has also been paired with linking with other agencies, to have a greater understanding of the Voluntary landscape across Birmingham and the West Midlands for Midland Mencap and beyond. It’s a lengthy process that Kate is delving her time into, in the hope that 2022 will bring a successful launch for the volunteering offer we aim to have.

Recently, Kate has been attending numerous sessions of ours, to meet our wonderful citizens and carers that we support on a daily basis. It is these people that Kate wants the volunteering strategy to provide for on a long-term basis. We asked Kate what her five year plan was for the Volunteering team at Midland Mencap; the main aim at the moment is to create, launch and grow a strong volunteering presence, building a team of volunteers, and have it woven into our offer and services.

One of the difficulties that will come with this strategy, Kate explained, was getting the right people for the areas we need volunteers for and building the numbers through various marketing tactics. In the coming months, Kate and the team will be officially launching our volunteer offer and begin the process of forming a set of roles that people can get involved in to support our work at Midland Mencap. Trust us when we say, we are very excited to see where Kate takes our Volunteering offer next.

Regardless of the difficulties, we have every faith that Kate will continue to settle into her role of Volunteer Manager. With 2022 just around the corner, we are thrilled to know that we will be launching the Volunteer offer in the new year. Kate – welcome to the team! Here’s to you and your time with us.

If you would like to get involved or contact Kate, you can find her via our Volunteering Twitter: @MM_Volunteering

Midland Mencap