Welcome to this month’s volunteer update. Here is some of the key information for the coming period:
1. Event Support
To keep track of and help to manage any requests that events might have – requests for new equipment, changing website photos, altering course maps etc. – please email firstname.lastname@example.org from your parkrun event email address.
2. Incident Reporting
Being at the Operations Meeting recently gave me a great insight into the Incident Reporting system. parkrun has compiled an incredible history of incidents recorded at events, and are in the process of analysing this history to see how we can improve, particularly when it comes to more serious incidents where someone’s life is in danger.
Incidents are always going happen at parkrun. Every week incidents are reported via WebFMS and they are always reviewed. Incidents reported via Event Support are also added.
They are categorised as either a dispute, medical, operational or safeguarding issue, or sometimes as a combination of several of those. They are also graded for severity and you may hear from someone at Head Office if it is considered that the incident warrants further investigation.
You are also equally welcome to contact Event Support if you have further information and would like to add more details to one of your incident reports too. After review and/or once we are satisfied with any follow-up activity, we archive each report on the system.
What is an incident? An incident is something that involves one or more of the following:
* Personal injury to anyone (including other park users)
* Near misses with the potential to cause serious injury
* Property damage
* Ill health and sickness
* Conflict or complaints
* Safeguarding concerns
* Something happens which could cause damage to the reputation of parkrun
You can find out more here. All incidents should be recorded by completing an incident report form via WebFMS during results processing. Please only record one incident at a time – use the ‘Add Additional Forms’ button to report any further incidents. If you discover that an incident occurred after you have processed your results, report it afterwards using the ‘record incidents’ option available via the menu on WebFMS.
Please ensure that you provide plenty of information – in particular, the names of the people involved and their parkrun ID (whenever possible). Consider the wording and list any actions taken very carefully as these may need to be referred back to at a later stage in the case of a serious incident.
Repeat incidents may need to be linked to your Risk Assessment and/or you may need to consider altering your course to negate a perceived risk. Please also inform the local landowner if a serious incident occurs at your event.
If any serious incidents occur, please make sure to contact myself as well as your local Event Director.
Deri Thomas, Nordics Manager : +46 703 114404
If you need emergency assistance – for example to find out a parkrunner’s Emergency contact details or to see if they have any recorded medical conditions – you can also call the UK emergency hotline: 00 44 20 3322 7275. Make a note of the number!
3. Tail Walkers
parkrun introduced the role of Tail Runner, now Tail Walker, several years ago. The initial reason for introducing the role was to make sure that no-one needed to feel worried that they were going to finish ‘last’, or that they would be ‘holding people up’. It’s a very simple but powerful statement of what parkrun stands for – everyone is welcome.
It’s also a very important in terms of health & safety – it means that there’s another volunteer out on the course and if anything happens to a runner out on the route, then the Tail Walker will come across that person and be able to help. In Kungsängen parkrun’s first event, an elderly lady fell over heavily, badly injuring her face, and it was the Tail Walker who helped to deal with the situation, comforting the woman and calling the ambulance.
In many parkrun countries the role of ‘Tail Walker’ is now compulsory, which it is not yet here in the Nordics, although the majority of our events have a Tail Walker. In due course the role here will also be compulsory, so we need to start working towards that eventual goal.
I fully understand that this is going to be a challenge for some of our smaller events, and a change in how we do things. But we have found that events that have had a Tail Walker from the beginning have not found this to be so much of a problem because ‘that’s the way it’s always been’. Events also find that the role of Tail Walker actually becomes one of the most popular roles – it means that people can get a ‘running credit’ and a ‘volunteer credit’ at the same event, and also it’s a popular option for people who are injured, older, have young children with them, or want to walk/jog more slowly for whatever reason. It gives your Event a chance to also reach out to a wider community – walkers as well as runners.
So please start trying to fill the role of Tail Walker if you are not doing so regularly. Like I said above, nothing will change overnight, but we will start taking a look at which events have Tail Walkers so we can see where we are currently at. If you have any questions around this, please get in touch.
4. Using ‘Volunteer Appeal’ function in the web-FMS
This is most relevant for new events in Norway, Sweden & Finland (plus Nordre Faelled in Denmark). As you will probably know, when these events were set-up, there was an ‘automatic opt-in’ for everyone who signed up to parkrun, so that they would automatically be included to receive ‘volunteer appeals’ from their home parkrun. This was a great way that we could communicate directly with our runners.
However, with the introduction of GDPR, this isn’t OK any longer. I now understand that people who have signed up for parkrun in the last 6 months haven’t been automatically ‘opted-in’ to receive these emails, which is correct under GDPR, but it’s not what I have been informing events, so apologies for that. (To check who receives your ‘Volunteer Appeal’ email, when you send out a message through web-FMS like this, you then receive an email confirming how many recipients have received it).
Going forward, we need to encourage new runners to sign up to receive volunteer appeals by signing up for them in their parkrun profile. This is how you do it:
i) sign in here: https://www.parkrun.com/signin/ (you can also easily get/change your password here)
ii) click on ‘email-options’
iii) select your event from the drop-down list
iv) click the button below to confirm your choice
They will then receive any emails you send out via web-fms as a ‘volunteer appeal’.
Of course other communication options are also available – a Facebook group for example is a good ways of communicating with a group of regular volunteers.
5. Virtual Volunteer App for new events
Until now all new events have received the full event kit, including 2 stopwatches and 2 scanners. As I wrote about last month, a few events in the Nordics are moving over and starting to use the Virtual Volunteer app, and the experience so far has been pretty positive.
Other countries, like Germany and Japan have been ‘App-only’ from the start, and other countries, like Australia and Poland, have been ‘App-only’ for new events starting up.
So we have now decided to follow suit and go ‘App-only’ for new events. It also means that we won’t replace equipment that breaks down (it’s usually the stopwatches) but would expect events to move over to the App if that happens.
If any existing events want to move over to being ‘App-only’ then they are free to return scanners/watches if they wish (though this is entirely your choice, you do not have to do this). These could then be used as spares for events who are a little bit less certain about moving over.
Remember also if you use the App, you don’t have to upload the results on a special computer (i.e. one with the downloaded drivers for the software to get the files off the scanners and watches), but you can use any computer to upload the results in the web-FMS.
Please try out the Virtual Volunteer App when you have time, if you haven’t done so already I think you will be impressed!
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