Beyond Volunteers Week: Volunteering Matters

Cat Campbell, Age Scotland’s Information and Advice Volunteer Development Worker reflects on Volunteers Week and how we carry its’ message forward.


This week I saw the following tweet from Volunteer Scotland:

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And I thought what a great – and important – message to round off Volunteers Week. As you may know, Volunteers Week, this year running from 1st – 12th June; is a UK-wide celebration of what the thousands of volunteers across the country do for charities and other organisations, and the benefits that being a volunteer can bring.

Volunteers Week was extended by 5 days this year in order to include the Patron’s Lunch, and we had a wonderful 12 days celebrating and thanking our volunteers. But it doesn’t stop there. At Age Scotland we recognise that, like many organisations across the UK, we simply could not do what we do without the incredible support and enthusiasm so kindly gifted every week by our amazing volunteers.

Some of our volunteers make calls every week to isolated older people who then have the opportunity for a friendly chat, a laugh or someone to listen. Others help keep our shops functioning or support our fundraising events; raising money so we can support local older people’s groups. Others facilitate training sessions for people approaching retirement so that the attendees can make the most of later life. Age Scotland could not accomplish all of this (and more!) without them.

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And it’s not all about us! It has been proven that volunteering is good for you. A recent study by the University of Exeter and National Council for Voluntary Organisations found that volunteers live longer and have more satisfying lives. It can also give you a sense of purpose and makes a great addition to a CV. It can enable you to use your existing skills or learn new ones.

Volunteering Matters

Age Scotland is proud to be part of the Scottish Volunteering Forum, which aims to bring people and organisations that are passionate about volunteering together – increasing awareness, sharing understanding and raising uptake.

In 2015 the forum published a really interesting document: ‘Why volunteering matters, the case for change’. It encourages people to ‘be the change’.  We need to move volunteering in people’s consciousness from something that is nice to do, to something that is essential for the wellbeing of individuals and society, if the number reaping the benefits is going to increase.

Volunteers’ Week is a great opportunity to thank volunteers but that shouldn’t stop just because the week is over.


To find out about volunteering with Age Scotland and what kind of roles we offer, visit our website or contact me at cat.campbell@agescotland.org.uk

 

Volunteers Week: Meet Charlotte!

Today kicks off Volunteers Week – a chance for us to celebrate the fantastic contribution that our volunteers across the charity make. Today we’d like to introduce Charlotte – a volunteer in our fundraising department and older people’s champion!


Originally from Germany Charlotte grew up in Canada. As part of her community work requirements in Canada Charlotte spent several months volunteering in a senior health centre in Toronto.

It was there Charlotte began to realise how underappreciated older people can be in our society. The majority of older people Charlotte met there were hospitalised due to serious illness which left them unable to live at home, although mentally and emotionally they were just as capable as the younger doctors and nurses looking after them. This made their loneliness all the more difficult for Charlotte to bear with some residents having only the occasional member of family dropping off for a coffee, leaving the health care system to look after their family members health and happiness. This is inspired Charlotte to volunteer to make a difference to the lives of older people.

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Charlotte stated ‘In a fast paced world where success is measured on individual merit; the elderly are quite often left behind and undervalued. Add to this the trend of families living spread over cities and countries it results in the biological and original support network for older people slowly disappearing. This means more support is needed from local communities, something which Age Scotland is aware of and encourages through the support of its many member groups’

Since joining Age Scotland as a fundraising volunteer Charlotte has been the driving force behind her organisation supporting the charity in a number of ways such as taking part in sporting events and coffee mornings. Charlotte also has the opportunity to assist at ad-hoc charity events and will be volunteering at the upcoming Forth Rail Bridge abseil.

Charlotte (centre) and colleagues from Residence Inn Edinburgh who took part in the Edinburgh Marathon last weekend.

Charlotte (centre) and colleagues from Residence Inn Edinburgh who took part in the Edinburgh Marathon last weekend.

Charlotte’s family live spread across Europe and she wishes she could directly support her parents and grandparents more. Knowing she will be in Scotland for the foreseeable future, Charlotte feels rewarded that by volunteering for Age Scotland she can contribute to supporting older people in Scotland and is able to give back to the community she states has so warmly welcomed her and made her feel at home.


To find out more about our fundraising volunteering opportunities contact Stacey Kitzinger on 0333 323 2400 or at stacey.kitzinger@agescotland.org.uk 

She’d love to hear from you!

 

 

I wish I had joined earlier

We rely on our amazing volunteers to help us run our charity shops across Scotland.  In today’s blog we meet Gema, Liza and Valerie who volunteer in our Morningside shop

“Volunteering at Age Scotland has been an incredible experience. I have had such an amazing time helping out in the shop, from doing different tasks to learning important skills. Volunteering has given me much more confidence in myself and a great feeling of achievement. I’m so grateful to Age Scotland Morningside for giving me the opportunity to be part of their team in supporting a wonderful cause.”, Valerie Duncan:

Valerie

Valerie dressing for success

“I have been volunteering at Age Scotland since the beginning of October 2013. When I started I had just moved to the Edinburgh and didn’t know anyone/didn’t have a job. Volunteering at Age Scotland Morningside was one of the best things I decided to do! I have made great friends and love spending time helping in the shop. Now I have a fulltime job and continue to volunteer on the weekends.” Liza Gaiga.

“I’ve been volunteering at Age Scotland for about a month and I’m so glad to have joined the team. Not only can I donate my time to do something good for others but also I really enjoy being in the shop and visiting with the other volunteers and managers. So I would invite other people to volunteer with Age Scotland. I wish I had joined earlier!”  Gema Romero

Find out more about volunteering opportunities with Age Scotland and the Silver Line Scotland.  If you are interested in volunteer in your local Age Scotland shop, you can just drop by for a friendly chat.

For Information, Friendship and Advice call the Silver Line Scotland on 0800 4 70 80 90

Annette’s Story

Annette has been volunteering at the Age Scotland charity shop in Stockbridge for six years.

Volunteer Week

I began volunteering after my mum passed away I was very low and in need of a reason to get up every day, the shop gave me that reason. I really enjoy the company and the good fun atmosphere in the Stockbridge shop.

We are a team and I feel part of it. I usually help sort and hang up stock and like to see the clothes selling and making money that way I know I’ve made a difference. Initially it took me 2 weeks to pluck up the courage to ask about volunteering and I’m so happy that I did its been a life changer.

Manager Amanda says “I’m very proud to have Volunteers like Annette. She is a key volunteer who helps us in the stockroom she is great at clearing deliveries and is an established part of the team. Im really pleased that after all these years Annette is still volunteering as i know how much of a challenge it was for her to start after the loss of her parents. Without Annette’s help processing stock we would not get lots of great stock out for our customers. ”

Find out more about volunteering opportunities with Age Scotland and the Silver Line Scotland.  If you are interested in volunteer in your local Age Scotland shop, you can just drop by for a friendly chat. Find our Edinburgh shops, follow on Twitter or Like us on Facebook.

For Information, Friendship and Advice call the Silver Line Scotland on 0800 4 70 80 90