“Volunteers Week” takes place from 1st to 7th June each year and is a celebration of all the amazing volunteers that give their time selflessly to improve our society each year and the positive impact that they make. Within the heart of every local community, volunteering takes place through the incredible work of organisations, groups and individuals. Volunteers contribute their time in person, virtually and remotely.
As we emerge from the pandemic and return to a more normal way of life that we once knew, we should still be mindful of those who’ve been unable to volunteer, or volunteer as regularly, and be especially mindful of those who may still be anxious about resuming.
One of our Network members, Stephen, volunteered at The Greenhouse Cafe in Eastwood Mains Health Centre prior to the pandemic. Partnering with East Renfrewshire Council, ‘The Greenhouse Café’ created Scotland’s first employability work programme for adults with learning difficulties. Stephen volunteered here twice per week. He said ‘I made coffee’s, cleaned work tops and tables, took coffee to tables, took orders and talked to the customers. My favourite things about volunteering there were meeting new people, having the opportunity to talk to people and getting out of the house. I miss my volunteering but hope that the cafe opens again now things are easing with covid’.
KM is another one of our members who regularly volunteers for Young Enterprise Scotland within the community gardens at his local park. ‘My role as a volunteer involves looking after the surrounding outdoor green spaces and tending to a variety of plants which are grown on the site. It is a great feeling to be able to see the positive difference I help to create after volunteering my time for a couple of hours. Continually volunteering helps to build self-confidence and a person’s self-esteem. Furthermore, volunteering regularly helps a person to become more assertive while working as part of a team. The staff and volunteers who work on the site are very helpful, supportive and understanding. I have found the working atmosphere to be very calm and relaxing. I want to say a big thank you to Neighbourhood Networks, Young Enterprise Scotland and Cosgrove for introducing me to this fantastic volunteering opportunity. I highly recommend this voluntary experience because it’s an opportunity to learn and gain new valuable gardening skills.’
KM (right) volunteering at his local community gardening project
It is therefore undoubtable that volunteering has many benefits to those that volunteer. Not only can volunteering help you gain confidence by giving you the chance to try something new and build a real sense of achievement. It can have a real and valuable, positive effect on people, communities and society in general. You can meet different kinds of people and make new friends and be part of a community. Volunteering can help you learn new skills, gain experience and sometimes even qualifications. It’s an opportunity to take on a challenge, to try something different, achieve personal goals, practice using your skills and discover hidden talents-And let’s not forget that most volunteers have a great time, regardless of why they do it.
Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers in our communities and the difference that you make.