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Guide to running welcome conversations

Information and top tips for Welcome Conversation Volunteers


This information should support what is being shared in local briefings and meetings with your local Transformation Leads and leadership teams. Work with your Transformation Leads to plan how and when you will make these changes locally.

You can start delivering welcome conversations at the point your County/Area/Region (Scotland) transitions to the new digital system, in 2024. 

Lead Volunteers, Team Leaders and Welcome Conversation Volunteers will find all the information needed here to understand how to run a welcome conversation.  

We want to give a great first impression to new volunteers. We want them to feel welcome, valued and supported. 

The welcome conversation is an important part of helping each new volunteer to feel part of the team and feel prepared for their volunteering. It’s an important part of finding out if Scouts is the right fit for them 

At Scouts, we always put young people first.   

Scouts complies with the NSPCC Safer Recruitment guidance when new volunteers want to join us. It’s really important we meet face to face (this can also be virtually) with the new volunteer, to give them the opportunity to ask questions and to make sure each volunteer has the same fair, but welcoming experience. This should also mean that an open and honest conversation can take place. 

The welcome conversation is an opportunity to make sure new volunteers are clear on our expectations of them. We need to make sure they understand and commit to our values, and how we keep young people safe. 

It’s also a chance to connect, find out more about why they want to volunteer and what their skills and interests are. 

We can help them to find the support they need and talk about tasks and responsibilities. They can also ask us questions and find out more about Scouts. 

After the welcome conversation, the new volunteer may decide Scouts isn’t right for them. Equally, the volunteers carrying out the conversation may also decide the new volunteer isn’t suitable for Scouts.  

Volunteers only ever need to have one welcome conversation. It’s part of their journey when joining Scouts and doesn’t need to happen if they add or change roles within Scouts (as long as they’ve had a break in service of no more than 30 days). 

Some roles don’t require a welcome conversation. If a volunteer starts in a role that doesn’t require a welcome conversation, for example a Trustee position, and then moves to a different role that does, then that’s when they’ll need to attend a welcome conversation. 

The welcome conversation should be held no later than six weeks into a new volunteer’s joining journey, and after they’ve visited their team, so it feels more relevant to them. If for some reason this isn’t possible, then in line with our POR, it MUST be completed within six months.  

Who takes part in the welcome conversation

Animated drawing of a new volunteer holding a coffee cup waving
The new volunteer
Animated drawing of a welcome conversation volunteer holding a coffee cup
The Welcome Conversation Volunteer
Animated drawing of a team leader holding a coffee cup
The new volunteer's Team Leader
  1. The new volunteer 

  1. The person responsible for recruiting the volunteer (likely to be a member of the Group Leadership Team who has completed Welcome Conversation learning).  

  1. An accredited Welcome Conversation Volunteer who is independent (not from the same Group or team as the new volunteer). It might be useful if the Welcome Conversation Volunteer has experience of a similar role to the new volunteer. For example, if you’re a Beaver Section Team Member, you could take part in a welcome conversation for someone who’s coming into a Squirrel, Beaver or Cub Section Team Member role. 

Optional. An accompanying adult can also attend who knows the new volunteer, if they’d like additional support (for example for help with understanding, additional needs or anxiety).  

The Lead Volunteer or Team Leader who is responsible for the new volunteer's recruitment. They must’ve completed Welcome Conversation learning and should’ve already met the new volunteer.  If there is a delegate in place in the Group/ District for the responsibility of recruitment, and if they have the Welcome Conversation Volunteer accreditation, they are able to do the conversation in place of the Lead Volunteer or Team Leader.  

A second volunteer, who is not part of the same Group or Team, who has the Welcome Conversation Volunteer accreditation. 

To have a Welcome Conversation Volunteer accreditation, you’ll need to be an active, full member of a Group, District or County Team, who's completed the necessary learning, and agreed with the Volunteering Development Team Leader that you’re happy to take on these responsibilities. (This can’t be anyone whose only role is Trustee, or whose only role does not have a criminal record check). 

The Volunteering Development Team will ensure there are enough Welcome Conversation Volunteers locally and be able to support with finding someone to take on the conversation from outside the Group/ District if needed.

  • Agree a suitable time to meet the new volunteer 

  • Prepare for the conversation 

  • Deliver the welcome conversation 

  • Communicate the outcomes of the welcome conversation