Time to celebrate Volunteering for All


Paul Okroj looks forward to this year's Volunteers' Week

3rd April 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

We as a society are obsessed with time; we never have enough time. We hate to watch the dreaded doughnut of doom as videos buffer on our Twitter feed or Facebook timeline and we grow ever more impatient at the slightest delay of transport or queuing for our morning coffee.

However, each year in Scotland, 27% of adults, that’s 1.2 million people, give up their valuable time and volunteer to support the work of third sector organisations. Each year in June, we recognise, celebrate and thank them for this during Volunteers’ Week (1 - 7 June).

Now 1.2 million people may sound like a lot but this year, under the theme Volunteering for All, we want this number to grow by spreading the message throughout Scotland that volunteering is for everyone.

Paul Okroj

Paul Okroj

As the head of volunteering at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS) and the chair of both the Scottish Volunteering Forum and Befriending Networks, Volunteers’ Week is always very high on my priority list. This years’ theme is extremely important and we must work in partnership with the government and other third sector organisations to continue to break down the barriers to volunteering and highlight how easily people can access volunteering opportunities locally.

The mission of the Scottish Volunteering Forum is to ensure that everyone in Scotland has equal opportunities and access to volunteering and that more people are made aware of the benefits of volunteering. Volunteering for All encapsulates this message perfectly.

Here at CHSS we are extremely excited about this years’ theme as so many of our volunteers, some of whom are living with our conditions, reinforce the message that volunteering is for everyone.

Our volunteer, Fiona Dickens, has been helping us for almost five years. Initially Fiona came to CHSS after suffering a stroke at the age of 55. She was left with communication difficulties and found vital support at our rehabilitation support service. Now Fiona, 10 years on, is one of our rehabilitation support volunteers, helping others who have found themselves in a similar situation and are seeking support following their stroke.

This year at CHSS we will be celebrating our outstanding volunteers and we have worked hard to ensure that our volunteering opportunities are accessible to all, regardless of backgrounds or perceived barriers. They all go above and beyond to make the work that we do possible. This Volunteers’ Week we will be sharing their stories to inspire more people throughout Scotland to volunteer.

We are encouraging you and your organisation to do the same and get involved in Volunteers’ Week. If you are struggling for ideas to spread the word and celebrate your volunteers, the Volunteer Scotland website can help. It has press release templates with statistics and quotes about volunteering and resources available to download.

Make sure you join in the celebration via social media by using #VolunteersWeekScot and signing-up for the Thunderclap.

Paul Okroj is head of volunteering at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS) and the chair of the Scottish Volunteering Forum and Befriending Networks