Series of events marked 12 day celebration of volunteering
The work of the people who form the bedrock of the Scottish third sector was celebrated during the most successful ever Volunteers Week.
Organised by the Scottish Volunteering Forum, which includes the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and Volunteer Scotland, this year’s even was set up to include the widest possible audience.
It got off to a great start with more than 300,000 people reached on June 1st with a social media “thunderclap” mass tweet and Facebook post.
A core of around 40 organisations, including councils, volunteer centres and voluntary groups of all sizes, agreed to share with each other their activities over the course of the ‘week’, which was extended to 12 days this year.
Volunteering is a good news story for Scotland and one that we all want to tell
They used the hashtag #volunteersweekscot and as well as keeping up to date with the numerous daily events, the hashtag was also used to tweet and message thanks using Volunteer Scotland’s thank you cards.
Some partners, such as Duke of Edinburgh Awards used hard copy versions and posted their personal thanks to volunteers.
Others like Stirling Council offered these postcards throughout the city and in doing so provided an opportunity for any beneficiary to say thank you to a volunteer that’s made a difference to them. More than 70,000 cards were used in this way.
While the main thrust of the campaign this year was about saying thanks, there is an important underlying message that Volunteers’ Week helps to reinforce.
That’s that volunteering is good for all - for those that volunteer, for those that they help and for the communities where this happens.
The message that more people volunteering, more often is good for Scotland was taken to politicians on both sides of the border.
Volunteers and beneficiaries took a trip to Holyrood to meet third sector minister Angela Constance (pictured above) and they also went to Westminster to brief Scotland’s MPs on the state of the volunteering nation and to discuss a clear agenda for change.
The level of cross-party support for volunteering was apparent and suggests a very positive foundation to build on.
George Thomson, chief executive of Volunteer Scotland, said: “Volunteering is a good news story for Scotland and one that we all want to tell. But let’s not forget that we also need more volunteers participating in Scotland’s communities.
“Volunteers’ Week Scotland has a role to play and it can only go from strength to strength. We are already discussing how we can build on this year and involve more communities, more organisations, more beneficiaries and most important of all - more volunteers. Roll on 2017.”
He added: “Volunteering is a lifeline part of Scottish society and brings out the best in us. Studies show that around 27% of adults in Scotland volunteer with an organisation, and mostly helping out.
“Many more of us are also willing to help and we need to bring this about. Together this work contributes £2.6 billion to the Scottish economy, and the feelgood element goes far further.”