Romsey Mill becomes Living Wage accredited

Our thanks to Neil Thompson of Romsey Mill for this write up.

Romsey Mill is a Cambridge-based charity that has been engaging with disadvantaged young people, children and families, and helping to grow community, since 1980.

The charity’s vision is for a transformed society where everyone can fully belong, positively contribute and thrive.

Romsey Mill works to making this vision a reality by creating opportunities with young people, children and families to overcome disadvantage, promote inclusion and develop personal, social and spiritual wellbeing.

This vision for the future and purpose in the present is inspired by beliefs and values that are rooted in the Christian faith. 

Romsey Mill engages with over 2,000 local young people, children and families, and also provides facilities for community use at Romsey Mill Centre, as well as managing two other local community centres on behalf of the City Council.

We have a team of 50 employees, working part and full-time engaged in programme delivery and administrative support. Over 100 volunteers help in a wide variety of ways.

For many years, the Trustees and Management Team of Romsey Mill have committed to paying the Real Living Wage to all of its employees, including sessional workers.

Earlier this year, we took the decision to apply for accreditation as a Real Living Wage employer.

We did this because we wanted to make public our commitment to paying the Real Living Wage. We also wanted to join with others in promoting this as the right thing for all employers to do, particularly in Cambridge, the most unequal city in the UK, according to recent studies by the Centre for Cities.  

The accreditation process was relatively straight forward, with excellent support and training from Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service.

We have now completed the application process and received our accreditation, and our commitment to paying the Real Living Wage can be made more public, re-enforcing our commitment to being alongside and working with local people overcome disadvantage.

We would now encourage other organisations in Cambridge to do the same. Particularly those who have already been paying all their staff the Real Living Wage. Gaining accreditation is a small administrative and financial price for organisations to pay for helping to overcome disadvantage and inequality in our city.

Sally Page, Development Worker at CCVS says: “CCVS are delighted that Romsey Mill have become an accredited Living Wage Employer and are proud to be working with Cambridge City Council to administrate grants, available to cover the initial Living Wage Foundation accreditation cost for Cambridge based voluntary organisations

With the cost of living going up, the need to take action to enable better pay across our sector is as vital as ever. Whilst this is just one cog in the wheel, if you join us in becoming a Living Wage Employer you will be contributing towards Cambridge becoming a fairer city, and that can only be a good thing.” 

Removing Barriers to volunteering

By Chris Trevorrow. June 2022.

Our Volunteering for All project, supported by Cambridge City Council, works to reduce the barriers many people experience in accessing volunteering.  At a recent workshop we shared some of what we have learned from this work and pulled in best practice from providers from around the world[1]

  • A significant proportion of the population experience barriers to volunteering; we tend to think of barriers relating to those with physical impairments, but others affected include people with mental ill health, neurodivergent individuals, people from different cultures, people with criminal records, people with caring responsibilities and those unable to afford the time or the associated expense of volunteering.
  • In addition to physical barriers people can face psychological and organisational barriers.  People might have a fear of taking on something new in a different environment, they might fear rejection.  They might come up against unhelpful attitudes from existing staff and volunteers or a rigid inflexible approach to how things are done.
  • There are compelling reasons organisations should seek to be inclusive.  To meet their statutory responsibilities and deliver on their equality policies but also to widen the pool of talent, embrace the expertise of volunteers with lived experience and improve their own future sustainability.
  • Inclusive organisations have:
    • a welcoming and open culture
    • a clearly communicated equality policy
    • volunteer roles that offer flexibility and work with individual need
    • fair and open recruitment and management procedures
    • a zero tolerance of discrimination
    • a demographic that reflects the community they serve.
  • To be more inclusive here are a few things to think about:
    • How and where you advertise roles – could you extend your reach to where different groups of people will see your information?
    • Think about the language you use – is it plain English, would other languages be appropriate. could you offer information in another format such as video or an audio file?
    • Review your recruitment process and only include what is essential.  Think about creating entry level roles that allow people to develop.  If you need references can you ask for character references rather than from an employer, can you just ask for one reference rather that two?
    • Can you more flexible, review the length of shifts, can some tasks be undertaken at home, can people volunteer as a group or as a family?
    • Can you do more to communicate the environment people will volunteer in taking away the anxiety some may feel in going somewhere new, you might invite them on a visit or send a video or some photographs?
    • Can you provide information on transport or arrange lift shares?
    • Think about flexible ways to share information with volunteers, can you set up a system where people share information on the phone not just via email? Can you offer training or handbooks in different formats?

To find out more or discuss how to be more inclusive contact us on volunteer@cambridgecvs.org.uk and check out our Volunteering for All pages on our website.


[1] This includes Time well spent Diversity and Volunteering(NCVO 2020)

Congratulations to Camcycle who have announced accreditation as a Living Wage Employer.

By Lorna Gough. April 2022

Camcycle say:

We believe that our staff, including our interns, deserve a fair day’s pay for their efforts and want to support them to live and work locally in the community that they serve. We’d encourage other local businesses to do the same: the process is straightforward with helpful resources and a responsive team at the Living Wage Foundation should you need assistance.”

Did you know that CCVS is able to support your organisation through the accreditation process, and Cambridge City Council will fund the first year of the accreditation fee?

To find out more about what the Living Wage is, how to become accredited, and what that would mean for your organisation, read our previous blog.

Camcycle staff team with the Living Wage accreditation plaque.