Joint bid to support volunteers in Scotland

Web young volunteers

Three organisations have teamed up to improve volunteer practice in Scotland 

14th August 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Volunteer Scotland, Volunteer Dundee and Quality Scotland have joined forces in a bid to improve and support volunteer practice across the nation.

The three bodies are undertaking a review of the sector’s quality standards, the Volunteer Friendly Award and Investing in Volunteers, to ensure they are fit for purpose.

The Investing in Volunteers Award is managed in Scotland by Volunteer Scotland.

Adrian Murtagh, head of business development at the national centre for volunteering, said: “After nearly two decades of the status quo, we all agree it’s time for a refresh. We recognise that individually these awards are not currently meeting the needs of all organisations, particularly those of small community-led groups. We want to inspire quality across the full scope of volunteer practice, from local groups to national charities. At the heart of the review is a desire to create a positive volunteering experience for all of Scotland’s 1.26 million volunteers.”

The review will also look at how the two awards can be aligned to create a quality pathway for Scotland.

Eric Knox, chief executive of Volunteer Dundee, which designed the Volunteer Friendly Award, said: “This review is about ensuring as best we can that organisations whatever their size are supporting their volunteers to the highest quality standard. Our aim is to work more closely together to support continuous improvement, allowing organisations to progress from one award to the other.”

Volunteer Scotland and Volunteer Dundee will also be working alongside Quality Scotland, which runs a business model to help organisations improve their organisational practices.

Ann Pike, head of business development at Quality Scotland, said: “This exciting partnership will provide groups and organisations with a wider choice and a better understanding on when and where to apply for the different quality awards. By improving the level of support on offer, we hope it will encourage more people to take care of their volunteers and share best practice with other organisations.”

The outcome of the review is expected in September 2019.

Ensuring best practice

There are currently 250 Volunteer Friendly Award achievers and 80 Investing in Volunteers achievers throughout Scotland covering a wide range of activities and services, from community clubs and groups to statutory services and national charities. 

A few organisations have already progressed from achieving Volunteer Friendly status to the Investing in Volunteers award.

Healthy Valleys, a community led health improvement initiative based in South Lanarkshire, is one of these organisations.

The charity’s Kate Williamson said: “We are heavily supported by a wonderful group of volunteers who deliver services to a huge variety of people who need extra help. We have successfully renewed our Volunteer Friendly status and, having recently received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services, we made a successful funding application to engage a project officer and administrator to work towards the Investing in Volunteers accreditation. 

"Having achieved the Volunteer Friendly award, it seemed a natural progression to aim for the Investing in Volunteers standard to ensure best practice relating to volunteer involvement and management. With the help of the Investing in Volunteers Assessor, the process has been very thorough and will undoubtedly assist in Healthy Valleys providing a professional approach and valuable experience to all our volunteers.”