Recruitment for the Scotland Cares Campaign has been paused due to the volume of sign-ups in the first month
Tens of thousands of Scots have volunteered to help support communities through the coronavirus crisis.
More than 76,000 people have registered to help as part of the Scotland Cares Campaign since it was launched a month ago. Registration for taking part has now been paused due to the great response.
Local induction programmes are underway to ensure volunteers are ready for deployment and many have already started to deliver food parcels, ensure essential supplies and medicines reach vulnerable people and phone those who need assistance or companionship.
Within health and social care, offers of employment are being made across NHS Scotland with nearly 700 applicants ready to be deployed and more than 3,600 returners in the process of completing their pre-employment checks.
Volunteers who have come forward
35,077 sign-ups to Volunteer Scotland to support charities and community groups
18,640 sign-ups to the British Red Cross to support public services
23,029 health and social care workers returning to work, and students joining the service
Communities secretary Aileen Campbell said: “The Scotland Cares Campaign has been massively successful with more than 76,000 new sign-ups offering their support in the month since it opened.
“In addition to the thousands of amazing volunteers who were already giving their time and energy to help their communities, I want to thank each and every person who has signed up. I am sure I speak for everyone across Scotland when I say we are appreciative and grateful for this public spiritedness which will ensure people across the country get the help and support they need.
“The response from the public has been so tremendous that we are now pausing our recruitment. Not all volunteers who have signed up will be needed immediately, but I’d like to stress that volunteers will be critical in our efforts to support and rebuild our communities and many of those who have not yet been called on to help will play a vital role over the weeks and months to come.”
Emma Morrow signed up to the British Red Cross as a volunteer when Scotland Cares launched last month and has been deployed as a community reserve volunteer to package food for vulnerable people in Glasgow.
She said: “It’s great to see everybody pulling together. It’s really fulfilling to know that by doing a few hours work I am going to help somebody that can’t get out the front door.”
Rosemary Lowne is volunteering in West Dunbartonshire as a telephone befriender, calling elderly people in the community every week.
She said: “I absolutely love my role as a befriender. My callers say that our weekly chats really lift their spirits and reassures them that there are people looking out for them. I strongly believe that now more than ever 'it's good to talk' and to let people know that they are not alone. The feedback I've received has been wonderful.”
Emergency response operations manager for British Red Cross Robert Colburn said: “With our added capacity we are looking forward to finding new opportunities for our regular and community reserve volunteers to help the most vulnerable in the days, weeks and months ahead. Every single person who signed up with us is joining a force of thousands ready to help in their local community now and in the future, whenever crisis strikes.”
Chief executive of Volunteer Scotland George Thomson said: “A pause in recruitment is the correct action just now as we move to connect the wonderful offers of support from so many citizens from all our communities to meet local needs. Beyond the lockdown we will have a massive recovery challenge ahead, and we aim to engage this incredible first wave of volunteers before seeking others in future.”