As a charity, we hugely value the time, skills, and experience provided by the network’s 28,000 food bank volunteers. As part of our commitment to them, we launched a project in March 2020 to provide all of the food banks in the Trussell Trust network with access to Assemble, a volunteer management system. Assemble is a comprehensive volunteering system focused on empowering and supporting volunteers, streamlining processes, and celebrating the impact and contribution made by both individuals and teams.
We’re delighted to now have over 100 food banks up and running on Assemble, something we couldn’t have done without the support of the Scottish Tech Army.
The Scottish Tech Army (STA) is a not-for-profit company originally created to help public and third sector organisations with their Covid-19 technical response and now established as the hub for tech for good in Scotland. They approached us last year to see if they could help and we’ve been so grateful for their expertise and commitment. Led by John and Willie, they have been linking directly with food banks in Scotland, guiding volunteer managers around the system, training them on key functionality, demonstrating the associated app, and answering questions. More recently, they’ve been hosting online volunteer training sessions open to food bank volunteers throughout the UK to build confidence, answer questions, and deepen understanding. These sessions will be continuing over the coming months as an extra, and greatly valued, support stream for those coming onto the system for the first time.
“The partnership between the Scottish Tech Army (STA) and the Trussell Trust has been very productive. Both the charities and individuals involved have gained from the experience; for example implementing tools like Assemble to improve the productivity and volunteer engagement in food banks. The spirit of collaboration between the two charities is refreshing, people are focused on a common goal with no personal or political agendas.
I personally have gained a greater understanding of the the breadth and scale of charitable work that the Trussell Trust performs across the UK. I now have a greater knowledge of the level of poverty in the UK, and feel even more motivated to try and improve the situation. Additionally, I have increased my personal network by meeting new people in the Trussell Trust and STA.”
Willie Bell, Scottish Tech Army
“It’s been a privilege to be able to support the Trussell Trust roll out their new volunteer IT system. The idea from the beginning was to link STA volunteers who have heaps of experience implementing IT systems with food banks who often don’t …. and then just encourage our volunteers to help in whatever way they can. It’s been so rewarding for the volunteers to be able to put their skills and experience to use, and to see the direct benefit of their efforts.”
John Beattie, Scottish Tech Army
Assemble offers a fantastic way for food banks to support their volunteers and provide an outstanding volunteering experience, but that does mean some changes in how things are done. This Volunteers’ Week, we’ll not only be honouring the incredible effort of food bank volunteers, but also the amazing support given to STA volunteers who have enabled food banks to navigate system changes with ease.