This year’s Volunteers’ Week theme is a “Time to celebrate.” All across Aberlour our incredible volunteers give their precious time to support our children, young people and families, doing so with kindness, compassion, and empathy. Our volunteers are raising vital funds through fundraising and events, participating and contributing their voice to policy issues that affect them, helping in our support teams and being a trustee. All of our volunteers deserve a massive thank you and our heartfelt appreciation.
Looking at our current Aberlour volunteer feedback survey, it gives me tremendous pride, to see our volunteers rate the training and support they receive from us as 5 stars. 100% of our volunteers would recommend volunteering with us to friends and family. This ongoing support and recognition of our volunteers goes on throughout the whole year, and this comes from our dedicated volunteer staff teams, who go the extra mile to make sure our volunteers experience is the best it can be. It is time to celebrate them too.
28% of adults in Scotland – that’s over 1.26 million people – have volunteered formally through an organisation or group in the last year. We know that volunteering rates in Scotland have remained relatively stable in recent years, with the biggest increase in young people volunteering. Collectively we all need to raise the profile of volunteering, and shout its benefits from the rooftops.
“Volunteering for All” the new National Outcomes Framework launched this year, with the message of making sure volunteering is valued, inclusive and future proof for the next 10 years. We know volunteering brings reciprocal benefits. Our volunteers tell us they have seen unexpected improvements in their lives with improvements in their confidence; skills; health and well-being, and some completely changing their career paths because they are so passionate during and following their volunteering experience.
86% of our volunteers state their number one reason for volunteering is making a difference. Children, young people and families have said that their relationship with their volunteer has been life changing and lifesaving in some cases which is very impactful. Our volunteers want to see the impact they are having on the lives of children, young people and families. We see the effects of childhood adversity every day and the impact this has and our volunteers are a critical part of our solution by offering their time and being a trusted, positive influence in their lives.
I can say all of this while reflecting on my own personal reasons for volunteering, and my current experience as a Children’s Panel Member. I have volunteered throughout my life, both formally and informally, and I have thought about how I can possibly fit in volunteering while being a busy full time working Mum. However, my passion and desire to make a difference is a driver within me. I want to be there for children and young people. To ensure their voice is heard, that they are listened to and their rights respected at their children’s hearing. I have done that with passion and conviction to hopefully make an impact in my volunteer role. The number one reason for people not volunteering is not having enough time, but I would encourage everyone to give their time no matter how little time you can manage. Be the change you want to see in the world and make a difference as I know it really will change your life!
This week we are celebrating with events all across the country. The Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd, will be visiting our mentoring service in Moray, and the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Aileen Campbell, will be visiting our Scottish Guardianship Service for unaccompanied asylum seeking and trafficked children and young people. Some of our volunteers will be joining us at the Scottish Parliament for a special lunch and we have lots of local events up and down the length and breadth of the country. I love being able to spend time with our volunteers and I am really looking forward to my mini roadshow throughout this week.
I want to send a heartfelt thank you to all of our incredible, passionate and dedicated volunteers. I am so proud of all that you are doing for our children, young people and families and the impact you are making on our vision to transform the lives of children and families and contributing to building a fairer and more equal society. I too share the same vision, values and passion for children.
As my team will tell you, I love to shout about the benefits of volunteering and always want to get people involved, so if you are reading this and want to volunteer and have any time to give we would love to hear from you!
Head of Volunteering