Creating an environment where everyone can volunteer
People, places and communities are at the heart of a new Volunteering Action Plan.
It was launched in Glasgow today (Wed) at The Gathering, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) celebration of Scotland’s voluntary sector.
The plan aims to create an environment where everyone can volunteer, more often, and throughout their lives, with a specific focus on tackling inequality within volunteering, so that those who would traditionally experience barriers to volunteering can benefit and contribute.
Led by Volunteer Scotland and the Scottish Government, the plan was developed with over 100 participants, who have brought integral themes to the action plan including building knowledge and developing skills, supporting local communities and promoting the value of volunteers.
It will be boosted by £100,000 investment from the Scottish Government in the Make Your Mark Heritage volunteering campaign, which will help develop training and guidance to support inclusive volunteering.
Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said: “The value of volunteering has hit a high over the last two years, when nearly three million people stepped up during the pandemic to help in our communities. Volunteers continue to be critical to Scotland's Covid recovery and renewal.
“Across Scotland, volunteers make absolutely vital contributions every day to their families, communities and society as a whole. They do it because they care and want to help and support others. Throughout Scotland, people are volunteering and contributing on the issues that matter to them.
“Scotland’s Volunteering Action Plan will increase awareness of the vital role of volunteers in the delivery of services across Scotland from health and social care, children and families and sport. Volunteering is powerful and it matters.”
Alan Stevenson, chief executive of Volunteer Scotland, said: “Volunteering is the heartbeat of our communities. ‘Everyday’ volunteering touches all of our lives, in our local places and spaces. Volunteering is good for you; with proven health and wellbeing benefits, greater social connections, providing skills, confidence, experience, and enjoyment!
“Volunteering should be available to anyone from any background, throughout their lives. This Action Plan will maximise the impact of volunteering and with co-production at its core, it’ll create an environment and a community of practice in which volunteering is truly ‘for all’. It’ll establish accountability for ensuring that the needs of volunteers are at the heart of future decision-making.”
Craig, who is registered disabled, volunteers with Easthall Residents’ Association in Glasgow, organising discos every Friday.
He said: “I love the feeling of being part of a team I am made to feel so welcome and I have a purpose. It gives me such a lift when I’m volunteering and helping others, I feel ten feet tall.”
Charley and Anna were matched through the befriending project Mearns Kirk Helping Hands in March 2021.
Charley said: “Without the volunteering programme many older people would suffer from much greater loneliness and be far less stimulated.
“Anna allows me to learn from her every time we chat, has a passion for life and is great company. I think she really looks forward to our calls and meetings as she is such an enthusiastic person."