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This Volunteers Week is the ideal ‘time to celebrate’ the contribution and impact of our volunteers in Shelter Scotland

Sarah Latto
Written by Sarah Latto

Time to Celebrate 

From the 1st to the 7th June 2019 Shelter Scotland are throwing a bit of a party. We’re talking party poppers, streamers, party hats, balloons…the works! The reason we’re doing this is because it is Volunteers Week and this year we have a lot to celebrate. 

Volunteer Impact 

In 2018-19, 201 volunteers in Shelter Scotland contributed over 12,000 hours of empathy passion, enthusiasm and skills. They also provided emotional or practical support to individuals affected by bad housing or homelessness on over 5000 occasions. This, I’m sure you will agree, is definitely worth celebrating.  

Going beyond the numbers, we also know that our volunteers have made a real difference to the lives of people affected by bad housing or homelessness. One volunteer supported somebody who had lost all of their possessions in a house fire, another helped us to deliver a budgeting workshop to a school group, and another helped a couple to source a hostel bed during very cold weather. Real stories of real help provided to real people.  

National Volunteering Framework  

We are also celebrating because, for the 1st time in 15 years, the Scottish Government have published a new National Framework for volunteering in Scotland. Shelter Scotland were involved in the development of this framework and are delighted with the final product. It highlights the importance of more inclusive approaches to volunteering, and encourages us to widen our definition of voluntary activity to include more informal or unstructured activity, often motivated by kindness.  

This is great news for Shelter Scotland because it shows that we are ahead of the game! We have embedded our ‘relationship-based’ approach over the past few years, and invested significant effort in making our approach to volunteer involvement more inclusive. As a result, our approach is featured as an example of best-practice in the National Framework document. We’re not resting on our laurels though! We are still continuously seeking feedback from volunteers about ways that we can further improve our approach to encourage even more people to get involved.  

A Movement for Change 

The wider definition of volunteering in the National Framework also reflects our wider strategic aim in Shelter Scotland to increase participation build a movement for change. In Our Plan for 2019-2022, we acknowledge that homes are the foundation of our communities and that many concerned individuals care deeply when someone’s right to a home is denied. As such, we are committed to harnessing local energy and developing a range of ways for people to get involved, regardless of how much time they have or when they are available.  

To conclude, we’ve got a lot to celebrate about volunteering in Shelter Scotland at the moment. Our courageous, empathetic and passionate volunteers continue to make a tangible difference to the lives of people affected by bad housing and homelessness and there are lots of exciting developments in the pipeline. Time to get my party hat on!