Giving over some of your spare time to volunteer with Planning Aid organisations is a great way to broaden your experience of the people and planning issues that may be outside of your regular remit - and interact directly with your local community.
For example, with Planning Aid England, volunteering roles include working as a casework volunteer and supporting individuals or groups with their planning related matters such as setting objectives, policy writing and collecting evidence.
At a more administrative level, volunteers can be required to help man the organisation’s advice lines (planning advisors answer enquiries on planning related issues in England either via email or over the phone) and maintain web resources. Only active chartered members can give planning advice.
Planning Aid England’s volunteer opportunities fit into the following broad categories:
- Consultation and community engagement
- Neighbourhood Planning support
- Developing resources
- Promoting Planning Aid England and raising our profile
- Mentoring and training
Once you’ve registered your interest, advisors will let you know the volunteering opportunities available in your area at the time of your application. These will depend on the needs of communities or groups at the time you get involved, so you may need to be flexible as to when and for how long you commit your time in order to see a project through.
Volunteering can make a real difference to communities and groups in your area. For you personally, the benefits are myriad; it can count towards your CPD, and just as importantly you’ll gain new perspectives on how the public interacts with the planning system. Newly qualified planners get a chance to broaden their knowledge and experience, while others will widen their existing professional networks. And of course, you’ll also be giving something back to society.
Registration for Planning Aid volunteer positions is currently suspended subject to its biennial volunteer review - but if you would like to be notified of when volunteer registration re-opens in the spring, please contact the RTPI by email quoting 'volunteer registration 2017' in the subject line. More information can be found here.