Volunteers Wanted to Help Vulnerable People with the Digital TV Switch Over

Support our outreach work in Cambridgeshire’s villages and towns.  How we receive our television signal is changing. At the end of March 2011, the current analogue signal will be turned off and replaced with a digital signal that you will need special equipment to receive. The national “Switchover Help Scheme” has been well-publicised but there will still be many people who do not understand what Switchover is about and these are likely to be the most vulnerable people in our communities. Cambridgeshire ACRE is supporting the local roll-out of the Switchover Help Scheme. We need to visit every parish and town in Cambridgeshire to spread this message and ensure no-one gets missed. We need local volunteers to help with our programme of local awareness-raising to ensure that no-one misses out on the help that’s available to assist with making the necessary changes. If you choose to volunteer with us, you will use your local connections, knowledge and networks to speak to those people in a community who are likely to know those people who are most at risk of not switching.

What will volunteers actually have to do?

You will be given a number of parishes and towns to visit, depending on the time you can offer us. Whilst there, you will identify people who are likely to be in a position to recognise those in the community who will need support. You will talk to key people in each community, such as the local postmaster, shopkeeper, publican, priest, parish councillors and others who are actively involved in community life. These people will be asked to spread the message in turn and it’s through these community connections and your support that we will identify those who many require additional help. You will be supplied with leaflets and posters to give out and also business cards /photo identification. As the programme manager, Cambridgeshire ACRE has to track progress and will ask you to report on your activity on a weekly basis. This will involve recording where you have been, who you have meet and any success stories/anecdotes.

What support will volunteers get from Cambridgeshire ACRE?

In the first instance all volunteers will be trained before commencing outreach work. Training will take place on 19 November at the Leisure Centre in Littleport. This will give you more details about the role and provide all the support you need to ‘hit the ground’ running. Throughout the programme, there will be updates sent by email and chances for volunteers to come together and share experiences. As one of our volunteers, you will be representing Cambridgeshire ACRE and so we will provide a volunteer handbook about our work and services. We will pay out of pocket expenses for attending training and conducting the outreach work. This includes travel by car, cycle or public transport. Our Help Scheme Co-ordinator will be on-hand to give support, arrange volunteer meetings and to collect in your weekly reports.

What is the time commitment needed?

We recognise that different people will be able to offer different levels of commitment. An individual programme of outreach will therefore be agreed for you once we have established how much time you have available to give. This will involve agreeing the villages and town you will cover. For most volunteers, we will plan their outreach around the place where they live so we can cut down on the need for travel and can draw upon local connections and knowledge.

What are the benefits of volunteering?

We sometimes take for granted the community in which we live. This opportunity will give volunteers a real chance to get involved in community life and to help those who are most at risk of losing their TV signal. At the same time volunteers will get to know their local area a little better and meet a diverse range of people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Networking is an exciting benefit of volunteering and you can never tell who you might meet or what new information you will learn. In terms of the Government’s “Big Society” agenda, what better way is there to connect with your local community and give a little back?

What do I do next?

If you would be willing to volunteer, please complete one of our ‘Volunteer Declaration Forms’ and return to us by 10 November in order that we can record your details and invite you to the training event on 19 November 2010. If you have any further questions or want to chat further about this opportunity, please contact Edward Aniskowicz on 01353 865038 or email edward.aniskowicz@cambsacre.org.uk.

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