Volunteers’ Week 2024

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Volunteers’ Week 2024

It’s Volunteers’ Week and we’re celebrating the amazing contributions volunteers make to communities across the country. Volunteer’s Week starts on the first Monday in June every year. It’s a chance to recognise, celebrate and thank the UK’s incredible volunteers for all they contribute to our local communities, the voluntary sector, and society as a whole.

What volunteering do you do in your spare time?

I am a Duke of Edinburgh Leader, Supervisor and Assessor.  This involves training the participants in mapwork, navigation, first aid, campcraft, teamwork, outdoor skills etc. I also assess groups and do all the paperwork involved for Duke of Edinburgh expeditions to run safely. I have been doing this since 2010.

I am a Girlguiding UK trainer – I train at face to face and online training events in topics such as safeguarding, girlguiding programme, communication skills, risk assessments, young leader training, mentor training , challenging behaviour etc  I have been doing this role since 2003.  

I am a tutor and reviewer for the prospective trainers and support them through their trainer qualifications and have been doing this since 2012.

I am a mentor for new leaders and coach and support them through their leadership development qualification, something I started in 2008.

I am currently Peer Education Coordinator for Scotland – since June 2022 – I coordinate training events and information sessions for girls 14 – 25 to be trained in topics such as resilience and mental wellbeing, gender stereotypes and safe the world.

I have also held District Commissioner and Assistant County Commissioner roles which involve managing teams of volunteers at local and county level.

How did you start volunteering?

I came up through the movement from Brownies aged 7 to guides aged 10 to Rangers aged 14 and young leaders aged 14.  As a young leader I started helping in my local unit and by 18 I was running the guide unit.  I became a leader in 1989 and have been involved constantly since.

What difference does volunteering make to you?

Guiding has given me so much back. I have a sense of belonging and community.  I’ve made lots of great friends as well as the fun and friendship there is the chance to learn new skills and try new opportunities.  The chance to meet girls and volunteers and support and coach them through qualifications is very rewarding.  At Duke of Edinburgh and Peer Education it is a great sense of pride watching girls develop their skills and confidence to become the leaders of the future.  This also helps to keep me feeling young at heart!

What difference does it make to the community?

For the Duke of Edinburgh Award, through their sections, the girls are contributing to volunteering at local charities, groups, doing litter picks, fundraising etc .We help out at local community events and galas.

We raise awareness of topics such as resilience and mental wellbeing, sustainability and damage to the climate through plastics. We give girls a voice to challenge gender stereotyping and safety in their world and take part in campaigns such as period poverty.   We teach skills such as first aid, teamwork, and DIY, and support local charities such as Guide Dogs, and food banks.

Stephanie Whitelaw – Support Worker

What volunteering do you do in your spare time?

I volunteer if and when I can with a company called Safebase. It’s a local first aid charity organisation that goes out most weekends or to any events that need first aid support. Events like vibrations or Halloween at nightclubs across Stirling and Falkirk as well. We are in touch with the local CCTV and bouncers via radio and they contact us if they see anyone needing first aid. That could be anything from plasters to full head injuries or seizures. We also walk the streets as well to make sure no one’s lying about in an area that isn’t covered by CCTV. Sometimes people come to us for first aid or a chat or coffee as we cover the mental health side too. 

How did you start volunteering?

I had come out of a bad relationship and I was friends with the manager who started the project. He knew my personality and thought it would be a good fit for the work the project does and it would also be a good distraction for me after the breakup. I gave it a go and have been involved for the last 6 or 7 years.

What difference does volunteering make to you?

It’s a really great feeling knowing that, at the end of a night out, people are safe and well and are able to get home safely. Helping someone with first aid when they’re in need, or even just having a chat is really rewarding. 

What difference does it make to the community?

We help everyone who needs help. We don’t judge. We just provide care. Of course that’s good for the people we help, but also good for their loved ones who know that they are safe. About half of the injuries we treat can be completed by us which saves people having to go to hospital, which is good because services there are under pressure too.

Andrew Aitken

What volunteering do you do in your spare time?

I volunteer with the Royal Voluntary Service and currently work at the coffee shop in the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline.  When I’m there I help them with serving customers, making coffee and representing the charity to members of the public. I volunteer 3 days a week and have recently received my 10-year service badge which I’m very proud of. 

How did you get into that?

I visited the hospital and spoke to the manager about how I wanted to help out in my community. I completed the form the manager gave me and was happy to say I was accepted and have never looked back.

What difference does volunteering make to you?

It gives me structure to my week and gives me a purpose to my life. I also get to socialise with people and it helps me to not feel isolated. I love making new friends and chatting to everyone when they are coming and going.

What difference does it make to the community?

With the charity, any donations made in the coffee shop are then forwarded to the NHS and community social team who provide services such as meals on wheels and social support for those who need this. It means people who may not see anyone day-to-day are getting the support they need and a chance to brighten their day.

Lisa Beveridge – Slamannan Service Coordinator 

What volunteering do you do?

I volunteer for MCR Pathways, a charity that works alongside individuals in high schools who may be struggling for many reasons and need a mentor and support. When I first applied I was matched with a young person based on both our likes and personal experiences. I  meet with my young person weekly for 1 period during school hours. During this time we can play games, have a chat, discuss future goals or any day to day conversation. I am a constant in the person’s life and we can talk through things which are important to them and I can offer advice or just be someone to listen to them.

How did you become involved with the charity?

MCR pathways representative had attended a meeting with our manager group at work and talked about the charity and asked if anyone may be able to be involved.  My manager spoke to me about it as she felt I would be suited to this and I would enjoy this. 

What difference does volunteering make to you?

I have noticed an increase in my own confidence and self-esteem. I feel a huge sense of achievement after every session. It is a great feeling to leave knowing I have made a difference to someone’s day. 

What difference does your volunteering make to the community?

Mentors make a life-changing difference by simply spending one hour a week listening and being there for their young person. This helps build the young people’s confidence and helps with their journey through school. It has been proven having a mentor helps empower the young person to unlock their future and thrive and having a mentor increases the likelihood of the young person continuing in education or pursuing a career of their choice.

William – Supported by Rosyth service 

What volunteering do you do?

I volunteer at Mary’s Meals who have just been taken over by SOS. They are a charity that helps dogs from abroad find new homes. They find new owners in the UK and help transport the dogs over and give them all their health treatments so they can get new families to love them. 

I also volunteer at the HUB where I work as a kitchen porter. I do the dishes, tidy the areas and sometimes help to count the money donations. I also cover on a Friday if they need extra staff as it can get really busy sometimes on a Friday. 

How did you start?

With SOS, I was a customer when it was Mary’s Meals and after visiting them the manager asked me if I would like to come along and help them and I have been there ever since.

It was the same story for the HUB. I visited as a customer and again started to help with little jobs like folding the cardboard boxes for recycling and then I started to call the bingo on a Thursday which is something I love to do and have a passion for. 

What difference does volunteering make to you ?

It helps me with my own life and stops me thinking about things. I enjoy helping people and working with the kids at the HUB. It gives me a purpose in my life.

What difference am I making in the community?

I have a small helper who is 7 years old and has autism. He helps me call the bingo and it has made a big difference to him and his confidence as now he can stand up in front of lots of people and be confident on the mic. It has given not only me but also him some great opportunities in life.

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