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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Volunteering, the gift that keeps giving

This opinion piece is almost 3 years old

Geoff Leask analyses the benefits of volunteering

Volunteering is an expression of our humanity. At a time when we are being urged to “be kind”, it’s arguably the ultimate expression of compassion, thoughtfulness, consideration - and charity. It’s also a time when many of us are looking to reconnect with each other as well as society but in new and rewarding ways.

Whilst donations are always welcome, in our sector volunteers are invaluable. Look at the pandemic – the national vaccine programme would not have been the success it’s been without individuals stepping up to volunteer their time and commitment. And there are many more examples.

At Young Enterprise Scotland, for example, we have an army of volunteers at our Rouken Glen Centre, helping with operations, providing expertise and muscle to build our expanding enterprise hub and developing our growing and bee-keeping spaces.

It’s not always obvious that volunteering is a two-way street, with both parties benefitting from the experience. But it is. For example, the value of volunteering with young people has a huge long-term impact, that may not be quantifiable in the short term.

If we take business and education, a volunteer can create a link between the young person and the world of work by contextualising it and giving inspiration. It also makes work real for the young person, giving opportunities for dialogue, questions and a window in to a world that may feel alien to them.

But it is also invaluable for those who step up to work with the 16,000 young people we support every year. We currently have over 500 volunteers from the Scottish business community who share our belief that every young person deserves the best chance to have a rewarding working life, regardless of where they start. They get first-hand experience of the challenges young people face, bringing with it greater understanding of the future workforce.

In turn, young people are a vital source of volunteers. Their time, efforts and energy can be transformational in any organisation. The value of volunteering from YE Scotland alone is over £1M in time.

Volunteering at YE Scotland happens at all stages of the age spectrum – it is particularly vital to ensure younger voices are included and hence the Alumni Network and positions on our Board of Directors

We are now looking for two young trustees for the Board to represent the young people we serve. Full details can be found at Young Trustees | Young Enterprise Scotland ( But we welcome applications from a diverse range of backgrounds, reflecting the geographic and demographic make-up of the young people we support, including those who have not sat on a Board before.

So if you know someone who might be interested or you are, please get in touch. This is both a challenging and exciting time for YE Scotland and the YE Young Trustees will work with fellow board members, our CEO and the wider YE Scotland team to deliver on our 3-year strategy #EnterpriseForAll.