The Saltire Challenge is designed to introduce young people to volunteering and this guide has been prepared to help you through the process and ensure their first experience is enjoyable, successful and rewarding.

Before you even start looking for or developing a Challenge it is important to decide exactly what you need.Consider the following:

  • How many volunteers are in the team?
  • Will everyone be required to take part?
  • How much time do you have?
  • What type of activities are the group interested in/capable of?
  • Are there any organisations that would like to help?
  • Are you willing or able to do any advance planning?


Selecting a project

  • First of all you need to consider how many volunteers there are. This will naturally affect the sort of the event you are able to choose. A group of 10 or less people will have more options than one with 30 or more people. Larger groups may need to restrict themselves to outdoors opportunities.
  • You should consider whether it is important for all the volunteers to be physically in the same place. A Challenge can be successfully managed where a larger group is subdivided and the sub-groups take reponsibility for different aspects of the project while working towards a common goal. Alternatively you may prefer to have everyone working on one task together.
  • The amount of time you are able to give will affect your choice. Most challenge events are designed to be completed within a day. If the Challenges that can be done by your own group(s) or in partnership with others.
  • You should anticipate some advance planning for even the shortest challenge and factor this into your time commitment.
  • Often projects need doing but no budget for materials exists. Organisations may take part of the challenge sourcing the materials required to complete the task. You should consider whether this is something that you want to take on. It can be an excellent opportunity for the young people to demostrate resourcefulness.
  • Care should be taken to ensure that any financial burden does not fall on individual members of the team. Sourcing third-party donations or organising a fundraising event are popular and successful ways of resourcing a project.
  • Remember you are undertaking a volunteering Challenge so avoid coercing people to participate. Peer pressure is a very effective tool for maximum buy into the project.


Safety & Insurance

  • The safety of the team when undertaking a project is paramount, particularly when working with young people. Make sure all participants receive proper instructions before commencing the project in the use of tools & equipment (e.g. gardening tools, painting equipment) and ensure that they are adequately supervised at all times.
  • It is unlikely that your team will have specific skills. It is important not to agree to work that you cannot complete safely and within the skill set of the volunteers.
  • Any organisations engaging volunteers must provide suitable insurance cover. If the challenge is taking place at the premises of another organisation or community group you should check with the organisation that they have volunteer's insurance in place for one off volunteering events.
  • If the Challenge takes place on you own premises or you are taking a group out into the community but are not volunteering for another organisation e.g. to do a litter pick, your agency's insurance must cover the group whilst undertaking volunteering activity.


Supervision of Group(s)

The Saltire Challenge is aimed at 12-25 year olds, therefore under 18's must be appropriately supervised. The recommended adult:child ratio at the age 12 is 1:8 but this is the absolute minimum. Please take into account the type of activity that your volunteers will be doing and the nature of any risks or potential hazards. The smaller the ratio the  better the experience will be for all involved.


Success is in the detail

Small things matter and to ensure that both the volunteers and the organisation they are volunteering for have a positive experience it is important to ensure certain details are addressed.

  •  Always visit the project and check out the work that you are agreeing to do before the arrangements are put in place. This helps buy-in and also ensures that you are aware of exactly what is required of you Challenge group. It is also a good opportunity to consider what materials will be required (if any) and where and by whom they are going to be sourced.
  • If you are volunteering for an organisation that provides a direct service it is good practise, where possible for the volunteers to be introduced to the people they are going to help. It may even be possible for some of the service users - such as at a reidental home - to join in with the team.This adds a valuable dimension to the project but everyone should be comfortable with this and it should be agreed before the project takes place. Regardless, everyone in the team should understand what the organisation is about, what their work involves and who they are helping.
  • Induction by the organisation is valuable. Young people may be nervous about working in specific enviroments or with certain groups. A quick induction by the organisation will put them at ease.
  • Make sure that you have full contact details for the person coordinating the event for the organisation. Ensure that they have your contact details.
  • Breaks & Refreshments - make sure that your volunteers get regular breaks, food and drinks. Clarify who will provide refreshements i.e. the organisation you are volunteeriing for, you own organisation  who will provide refreshments, or do the participants need to bring packed lunch. The preferred option is of cource that the volunteers are fed and watered in return for giving their time to the project but if this is not possible make sure everyone is made aware in advance if they need to bring their own.


What to do next?

You can obtain a list of available Saltire Challenge events from your local Saltire Awards delivery office who will also be able to give futher guidance in developing your own Challenge.


Challenge Toolkit

The folling templates are also contained within this toolkit:

  • Challenge Checklist
  • Parental Consent Form
  • Challenge Registration Form & Criteria
  • Risk Asessment Template
  • Guidlines for Group Leaders