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Volunteer Glasgow is recruiting for its virtual Smarter Volunteer Manager Programme.

When you engage with volunteers, it’s easy to feel the pressure, like you’re always, simultaneously, wearing several hats. This training programme, based on Volunteer Glasgow’s Dynamic Model, will help you take the stress out of your day.

This programme is for anyone who engages with volunteers, including . . .

  • Managers of volunteering programmes
  • Personnel with responsibility for day-to-day supervision of people volunteering
  • Strategic lead officers
  • Members of governing bodies

Currently delivered entirely online using Zoom, the programme runs over six, 3 hour sessions spaced over three weeks.

The SVM programme is designed to be Peer Led/ Informal learning environment facilitated by Volunteer Glasgow Staff. Therefore, the Training is:

  • Learner driven and self-directed.
  • A relaxed experience for participants.
  • Expands participants’ reference and knowledge points on engaging volunteers.

Offering a fusion of mentoring, peer discussion, small-group exercises and individual study, there will be opportunities created between sessions for you to explore how far the learning can be applied.

Our Organisation Support Team will be delivering the first of our newly revised, entirely online programme to be delivered between these dates:

Introduction Session: Thursday 6th May, 10am - 1.00pm
SVM Session 1: Tuesday 11th May, 10am - 1.00pm
SVM Session 2: Thursday 13th May, 10am - 1.00pm
SVM Session 3: Monday 17th May, 10am - 1.00pm
SVM Session 4: Thursday 20th May, 10am - 1.00pm
SVM Session 5: Tuesday 25th May, 10am - 1.00pm

To read more and to book a place (A Registration of Interest form is at the bottom of the page) click on this link HERE. You will then receive further information from the Programme Facilitator.

Places are first come first serve and are limited to 6 places. The closing date for booking for this SVM Programme is 12 noon Friday 30th April 2021. Candidates booking over the 6 limit will have first refusal on the next SVM dates (TBC).


Easter Bank Holiday Closure

Volunteer Glasgow will be closed for Easter holidays from Friday 2nd April and will re-open on Tuesday 6th April. If you wish to enquire about volunteering  please email:

engagement@volunteerglasgow.org

If you are a not for profit organisation seeking volunteers please email:

findvolunteers@volunteerglasgow.org

HAPPY EASTER from everyone at Volunteer Glasgow


Winter: getting through it togethercampaign image for Never More Needed

What volunteers and organisations should know

See the relevant section below if:

  1. You want to volunteer to help: it can be a great way to maintain your own mental health while supporting the wellbeing of others.
  2. You are organising a local group or managing an organisation and either need more help from volunteers and/or need guidance on keeping everyone safe (safeguarding) or other volunteering issues.
  3. Need help for yourself or for family, friends or neighbours

If you want to volunteer:

Before considering volunteering ask yourself – am I well enough to volunteer?

Your safety and limiting the spread of the coronavirus being the main priority, we encourage you to adhere to NHS guidance on how best to avoid COVID-19, both in the work environment and at home.

Am I allowed to go out in order to support someone vulnerable in my community?

Yes. You can only volunteer to carry out tasks which involve leaving your home, if you are not required to be isolating and are not in any risk categories. Please check the latest advice at NHS Inform.

Being a good neighbour remains vitally important and you can still help even if you need to stay at home by signing up to provide telephone or online support, for example. This way you can help keep in contact and provide reassurance to those in need. It’s more important than ever that we stay connected, help where we can, and take time to look after ourselves and each other.

If you are well enough and wish to volunteer, these are the ways in which you may be able to help:

  • Search for opportunities across Glasgow - you can register for any opportunities that interest you, and can opt in to receive weekly updates on new opportunities.
  • Have a look specifically at Winter Wellbeing – Mental Health Support opportunities that are currently seeking volunteers. We will be adding opportunities shortly so please keep checking for updates and follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).
  • With winter upon us and the pandemic continuing to affect us all, please think about the ways you can safely help others – even if it’s just showing kindness and compassion to those who may be struggling. This winter is going to be a strange one but we know that kindness and community spirit will get us through it. We’re really pleased to be part of the Be Kind, Reach Out, Coorie In campaign. Let’s keep kindness alive this winter! https://www.edenprojectcommunities.com/winter #communityactionresponse
  • If you’ve been volunteering at any point during the pandemic and can share your experiences, please tell us about them by completing this short survey or by sharing stories on Volunteer Glasgow’s social media or emailing emma.mclean@volunteerglasgow.org
  • Instead of our office drop-in service, we are offering a new appointment system. So if you would like to find out more about volunteering, appointments will be conducted either by telephone, Zoom or WhatsApp video – whatever suits you best. If you’d like to arrange an appointment or have any queries, please give us a call on 0141 226 3431 (option 2) or email engagement@volunteerglasgow.org

For groups and organisations:

Need more volunteers? Are you registered with Volunteer Glasgow?

  • Once registered, you can advertise volunteering opportunities to thousands of people for free via our digital volunteering platform: sign up at volunteerglasgow.org
  • The number of people wanting to support the COVID-19 response has been incredible with overall volunteering rates increasing from 45% to 74% due to the rise in informal volunteering and mutual aid participation. More info on this is available from Volunteer Scotland

Need advice about COVID-19 volunteer recruitment and/or management issues?

Maybe you need to think about PVG requirements and risk assessment processes when supporting vulnerable people in these unprecedented times? Or you need to design entirely new roles in response to COVID-19? You may need to put new volunteer management processes in place due to staff working at home? These are just some of the issues that organisations have been grappling with...

The team is here to help and we can be contacted on findvolunteers@volunteerglasgow.org or on 0141 226 3431 (choose option 3) (Mon-Thu 9.30-4.30; Fri 9.30-3.30). The team is working from home but will still be supporting organisations to advertise roles as usual and will be prioritising roles directly related to COVID-19.

Need help for yourself or for family, friends or neighbours?

  • Search for the services you need from around 500 of the city’s third sector organisations (national and local charities, social enterprises, community and faith based organisations) at glasgowhelps.org or contact GlasgowHelps by Text: 07451 289255
  • Advice and guidance from the NHS during COVID-19 is available at nhsggc.org.uk/your-health
  • And there is specific NHS information on staying active and well at nhsggc.org.uk/staying-active-and-well

All the best and stay safe,

Everyone at Volunteer Glasgow


Information for service users, members, partners and stakeholders

Like many other third sector organisations in the city, Volunteer Glasgow had applied to Glasgow City Council’s Communities Fund.  We received a positive decision in early September but for a much reduced grant award from 1st October.

We wanted to provide an update to you on the measures we’ve put in place to avoid any immediate reductions in services and to give you some news about our:

  • Games for Good: Glasgow Build Off.
  • Imminent move to new offices.
  • Annual General Meeting.
  • Securing a shared vision for Glasgow’s future.
  • Winter: getting through it together.

Volunteering Services

Although we have put some mitigations in place until March, the reduced Council grant support means we need to continue to work hard to secure cost savings and additional income from April to avoid reductions in some services.

In particular, we are looking for your support to ensure we can work with partners on programmes that make volunteering more accessible and inclusive, enabling and empowering people to get involved and overcome barriers. Thank you to everyone that has supported our work so far.

Befriending and Mentoring Services

Although the Council formerly provided grant support for some of these services, we have successfully secured alternative grants and put in place additional funding and savings measures to make sure we can carry on providing these community-based support services unaffected.  However, we still need additional support from next April.

We would like to thank everyone involved in helping to put funds in place: it has been a tremendous effort, enabling our volunteer and staff teams to help “get it right for every child” across the city and to sustain our services for older adults in Drumchapel.

Games for Good

From tomorrow we’re co-hosting a Glasgow build-a-thon with R-CADE on MINECRAFT.  Please share this with all the gamers you know: get into or watch a Games for Good session to help raise funds

New office

We’re moving next week partly to reduce our costs and to be able to offer our services in a covid19-free future from accessible, city centre premises at Brunswick House, 51 Wilson Street, G1 1UZ.  Our other contact details won’t change but there may be some disruption to our 0141 226 3431 phones for a few days between 2nd – 5th December.

Save the Date

Our Annual General Meeting will be held on 27th January at 6pm.  More details to follow soon but if you’re not already a member (which is free for eligible individuals and organisations), you can sign up here to have your say: become a member of Volunteer Glasgow

A shared vision for Community Empowerment and Volunteering

If you want Glasgow to recover from the pandemic in ways that avoid returning to a world full of poverty and injustice, please have a look at the TSI Scotland Network’s Manifesto for Change to see if you share our vision.

And thank you to everyone that has already engaged in the process of reviewing Glasgow’s Volunteering Strategy over the past few weeks.  Please look out for the next steps in that review to ensure you can shape how the city uses available resources in ways which maximise our chances of making Glasgow a place, “where everyone can volunteer, more often and throughout their lives”.

Winter: getting through it together

Look out for a range of ideas, opportunities and support information from Wednesday next week.  Subscribe to our email feeds, follow us on social media or register for the latest volunteering opportunities.

Get in touch or Lend a Hand:

  • If you, or anyone you are supporting, wish to find out more about volunteering and/or identifying appropriate opportunities please get in touch with our Engagement & Inclusion team on engagement@volunteerglasgow.org
  • If you represent a group or organisation looking for help to recruit and manage volunteers then our Organisation Support team will be happy to help so please get in touch on findvolunteers@volunteerglasgow.org
  • To find out more about Volunteer Glasgow’s Befriending and Mentoring Services get in touch with the team on befriending@volunteerglasgow.org
  • If you use and care about the services Volunteer Glasgow provides, a donation can make a big difference. You can help us continue our work by visiting volunteerglasgow.org/donate

Best wishes from everyone at Volunteer Glasgow


Information for service users, members, partners and stakeholders

As many of you know, Volunteer Glasgow currently receives significant grant support from Glasgow City Council for many of its Befriending, Mentoring and Volunteering support services.

The current grant funding ends on 30th September 2020 and (at the time of writing) decisions on grant awards under the Council’s new Communities Fund programme are still to be made. Like many other third sector organisations in the city, we are expecting delayed decisions from the Council on Thursday 3rd September.

Our application to the Fund represents a reduction to 76% of our existing grant award budgets in order to comply with the new Fund’s eligibility criteria and guidance.

Given the short notice remaining and the multiple budget scenarios for which we need to continue planning until we receive a decision from the Council, we wanted to provide an update to you on the possible implications for our existing 65,000 or more service users and beneficiaries, partners and stakeholders.

Befriending and Mentoring Services

These will not be affected by Council decisions and all services will continue uninterrupted with the exception of the North East Glasgow Young Persons Befriending Service (YPBS) which has confirmed grant funding in place from the National Lottery Communities Fund and BBC Children in Need until 22nd January 2021.  We are working to secure further support for North East YPBS and hope to have an update very soon.

Although the Council currently provides £105,986 p.a. in grant support for some of these services until 30th September, we have successfully secured alternative grants and put in place additional savings measures and fundraising plans from October to make sure we can carry on providing these community-based support services.

We would like to thank everyone involved in helping to put alternative funds in place: it has been a tremendous effort, enabling our volunteer and staff teams to contribute to “getting it right for every child” across the city and to sustain our services for older adults in Drumchapel.

If you have any queries about our Befriending and Mentoring Services, please email jean.inglis@volunteerglasgow.org or call 0141 226 2571

Volunteering Services

Current grant funding from the Council provides 68% of the budget for us to serve the whole of Glasgow with a number of volunteering support and development services which help make the city more inclusive, fairer, and healthier.

We understand that the Council may make partial awards and consequently we are planning for multiple budget scenarios and seeking your views.

Although we have been working to secure cost savings and additional income, if our grant application is unsuccessful or we receive a partial award, reductions in some or all of the following services and programmes are almost certain:

  • Direct support to over 2,000 people each year enabling them to get involved in volunteering opportunities. This includes much-needed assistance to overcome barriers to participation, like:
    • Our supported volunteering programmes offering group taster sessions and/or SQA Employability Awards.
    • Telephone, email and face-to-face guidance to help people identify suitable opportunities.
  • Partnership work locally and nationally with equalities organisations, policy-makers and others to make volunteering more inclusive.
  • Support to over 40 public and third sector organisations each year to achieve the Glasgow Volunteering Charter and/or the Volunteer Friendly Award.
  • Training, networking and peer support opportunities for over 120 volunteer managers each year.
  • Work with the Council’s Education Services to further develop and enhance volunteering opportunities for young people, parents and others.

Much of our remaining budget is provided by the Scottish Government through its grant support for the city’s Third Sector Interface partners.  As a result, we will be able to continue providing and developing:

  • Digital services that help more than 65,000 users to (a) advertise volunteering opportunities on behalf of hundreds of public and third sector organisations and groups at no cost to them, (b) connect people interested in those opportunities and (c) provide online information and guidance to both groups and individuals.
  • Saltire Awards for 2,000 young people (aged 12-25) each year in recognition of their volunteering.
  • Advice and guidance to organisations that signpost, encourage and support people into volunteering to achieve a range of health and employability benefits.

However, these remaining services may still need to be further redesigned and/or reduced to allow for local Glasgow priorities.

As you might expect, the staff team is currently working with Volunteer Glasgow’s Board to minimise or avoid any redundancies should the Council decide to reduce grant support.  Up to 18 of our 24 members of staff may be affected.

If you have any questions or views on these proposals, please email david.maxwell@volunteerglasgow.org

If you use and care about the services Volunteer Glasgow provides, a donation can make a big difference. You can help us continue our work by visiting volunteerglasgow.org/donate


Volunteer Glasgow had originally put out a call for Registrations of Interest for Glasgow's Volunteering Charter (GVC) in May this year. With hindsight we understand that many Glasgow Third Sector Organisations may not have been in a position to make initial Registrations of Interest for Glasgow's Volunteering Charter at the time due to Covid-19 protocols. So, we're seeking again, initial Registrations of Interest from Glasgow's Third Sector Organisations who wish to take the initial steps to Charter Signatory stage now that Covid-19 protocols are lessening. Logo for Glasgow's Volunteering Charter

Volunteer Glasgow, under the proviso of Glasgow’s Volunteering Strategy (GVS) 2019-24 (a Glasgow Community Planning initiative) is re-launching Glasgow’s Volunteering Charter to Glasgow based Third Sector Volunteering Involving Organisations (V.I.Os) who wish to initially become Signatories to the following Charter Pledges:

  • Create and expand appropriate opportunities for volunteering within their organisation and/or
  • Ensure your opportunities are accessible to all sections of the community, and that your volunteering workforce reflects the demographics of the city and/or
  • Facilitate and enable your staff, members and/or service users to undertake volunteering activity which improves their wellbeing and benefits Glasgow

Glasgow’s Volunteering Charter is the vehicle to addressing the increasing gap between the number of people interested in volunteering and the number of inclusive volunteering opportunities within Glasgow.

Glasgow has the potential to tap into the City resource of people willing to offer their skills and time for free in a diverse range of activities across the city.

Glasgow needs to develop more volunteering opportunities to ensure the overall rate of adult volunteering increases. Also, the need to ensure these opportunities are accessible to all and to monitor this in terms of rates of volunteers in equalities groups as well as disadvantaged geographical areas.

Volunteer Glasgow is committed to Glasgow as a city that values and supports volunteering by recognising its contribution to personal, community and economic development. Realising this vision means working to develop the high quality, inclusive and varied opportunities which will allow all Glaswegians to share in the wellbeing benefits of volunteering.

What are the benefits to organisations of signing the Charter?

Providing more volunteering opportunities and making them more inclusive can benefit your organisation in several ways:

  • People who are volunteering for your organisation are donating their time, skills, experience, and energy: you can do much more for your service users, members, and wider beneficiaries by harnessing this support.
  • By signing the Charter, you are making a public commitment to our shared objectives.
  • Once you have achieved the Charter Mark, you can boost your organisation’s profile, receiving recognition from key partners for your contribution to the city’s shared objectives.
  • In signing up to the charter you are joining a host of likeminded organisations in Glasgow that recognise the value in both offering volunteering opportunities and allowing staff to volunteer.

If your organisation wishes to initially progress a little in the Glasgow’s Volunteering Charter process, it is important that the information on our Charter web pages have been fully considered prior to registering interest (in link below). You can view the pages in this link. https://www.volunteerglasgow.org/charter/

Please also consider the Section Pages links in the right hand pane of the web page.

NB: The Charter Pledges, FAQs, Charter Commitment and Phase 1 (for previous organisations who have become signatories and achieved the Charter Mark- *asterisk) sections are of particular importance.

As part of Volunteer Glasgow’s initial engagement with Partners who wish to make (click on link) initial signatories commitment towards achieving The Charter Mark, we are initiating a mapping exercise to establish which Glasgow based Third Sector Partners can promote a formal commitment to achieving The Volunteering Charter Mark.Representatives of all the 5 Charter Mark recipient organisations with their certificates

This initial engagement with your organisation will include an outline Organisational Needs scoping exercise to identify potential knowledge, skills, motivations, processes & resource gaps that may be highlighted in your organisation towards achieving The Charter Mark.

Your Glasgow based Third Sector Organisation can initially register interest in becoming a signatory by completing the pro-forma in this link. https://www.volunteerglasgow.org/charter/register/ 

In completing the Registration of Interest our Charter Support and Training Coordinator (Derek Craig) will proceed to make further contact with the named person who completed the Pro-forma to assist the mapping exercise in providing guidance on what potential organisational issues and aspects should be considered prior to becoming initial signatories.

For a wider impact picture of how Glasgow's Volunteering Charter in its first round in 2016, has impacted Third Sector Organisations please view the independent Glasgow Centre for Population Health's Evaluation of Glasgow's Volunteering Charter.

Volunteer Glasgow looks forward to working in partnership with your organisation in assisting it towards achieving the Glasgow’s Volunteering Charter Mark.

 


 

At Volunteer Glasgow we have gathered our thoughts on a range of issues facing volunteer involving organisations across the city and provide some hopefully helpful thoughts, advice and guidance. We hope you agree!

Key Issues

In order to design and deliver effective support services Volunteer Glasgow has recently carried out a series of activities aimed at identifying the common issues being faced by volunteer involving organisations. These included an online survey, ‘check in’ phone calls from staff and a series of online versions of our popular volunteer managers’ networking events. A big thank you to everyone who helped by engaging with us, we know this is a particularly busy and challenging time!

The results have now been collated into a short report which can be accessed by clicking on the following link; Report on VG engagement activity

It is clear to see that many organisations and volunteer managers are facing multiple challenges as they try to adapt their volunteering programmes in line with both the lockdown we have seen and the anticipated next phases as laid out by the Scottish Government, which can be seen by clicking the following link; Scottish Government Routemap

Two issues which came up again and again were how best to maintain engagement with existing volunteers and how to meet the challenges of managing volunteering programmes remotely.

Maintaining engagement with volunteers

Due to the nature of how they deliver their services many volunteer managers reported to us that sadly they have had to suspend volunteering programmes entirely and much concern has been expressed about the need to somehow keep volunteers on board for when they are able to get involved again. Some also have volunteers who are unable to engage due to shielding and finding ways of keeping them engaged is equally, if not even more, important.

Here are a few relatively simple ways to make sure volunteers feel involved and engaged whilst they are not able to volunteer;

Keep in touch

Checking in with volunteers is a basic but effective way of making sure they feel involved and valued. It is important to recognise that everyone is an individual and it will therefore not be possible to adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach to keeping in touch. A combination of methods (texts, calls and emails) will likely be needed as people will vary in their preferences for the frequency and method of keeping in touch. It’s a good idea to find that out early on and plan accordingly!

If you already produce regular volunteer newsletters and bulletins, then please don’t stop even if your volunteering programmes are currently on hold. They can be a great way of keeping connected to people, sharing useful advice and cheering folk up with some fun content. If you don’t usually produce such things, then maybe now is a good time to start? You could maybe even make it a development project for your volunteers to keep them busy and involved.

We all know that many, many people volunteer because they like the opportunity it provides to come together with people and make new friends. The inability to provide this opportunity at the moment is a source of enormous regret and frustration to many volunteer managers. We don’t pretend that it is possible to entirely replicate ‘normality’ under current restrictions but there are still some things you can do such as;

  • Creating whatsapp groups for your volunteers
  • Putting in place ways for volunteers to keep in touch with each other, buddy systems or pre-arranged weekly phone calls perhaps.
  • Video meetings/events via a simple to use platform such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts. These can be really informal, fun activities such as quizzes, themed food nights etc or you might want to take the chance to discuss their volunteering and plan for the future. Or maybe a bit of both?

Involve volunteers in your planning

As we all adapt to both the current situation and plan for the changes the coming weeks and months will bring it is important not to forget to involve volunteers in these discussions. Gathering the ideas and feedback of volunteers is a really good way of keeping them involved as well as ensuring your plans are fully informed by volunteers and their experience, always a good thing!

Help volunteers to tell their story

It is a good idea to encourage volunteers to use any break in their volunteering to reflect on their experience so far, the benefits they’ve enjoyed, the friends they’ve made and the impact it has had. A great way of doing this can be to support volunteers to find a way of telling their story. This can be in the traditional written case study format but it is also a chance for everyone to get creative as a mix of written, pictorial or even video messages can be even more effective.

As well as keeping volunteers engaged this storytelling approach can be hugely useful when it comes to promoting the work of your organisation and volunteering programmes. Volunteer Glasgow looks to help tell these stories whenever we can either through our own channels or in partnership with the media so if you’d like some advice about how to go about it or you’ve got material you’d like us to shout about then please get in touch on engagement@volunteerglasgow.org

Young volunteers

Don’t forget that for your young volunteers there is  the Saltire Award scheme, an excellent way of saying thanks. You can find out more by clicking the following link; Saltire Awards

Help others by sharing

This is by no means an exhaustive list so if you’ve got other good examples, ideas and/or resources you think might help others grappling with the same issues then we’d be delighted to hear about and share them. Drop us an email on findvolunteers@volunteerglasgow.org.

Recruiting and managing volunteers remotely

Recruiting volunteers online couldn’t be easier! Register for an account on our digital volunteering platform which you can access by clicking the following link; Open an Account

Once you do so you can advertise your roles for free to over 10,000 registered account holders and there is a load of really cool volunteer management functionality too. It’s all very easy to use and our team here are on hand to help support you too. We are currently developing a series of online video tutorials and will also very shortly be advertising dates for online support sessions but in the meantime we can provide one-to-one support so if you feel that’d help then drop us a line on findvolunteers@volunteerglasgow.org  

Many organisations have told us that, due to current restrictions, they are looking to provide services which had previously been delivered face-to-face either online or by telephone. This is, in many cases, a whole new way of operating and can present significant challenges but Befriending Networks have a series of excellent resources which can help so please click on the following link; Befriending Network Resources

The team here has also published some handy hint and tips so please click on the following link for more details; Recruiting Volunteers during COVID19

Keeping everyone safe and well is everyone’s main priority so please remember the safeguarding advice which we have previously published and regularly updated. You can see it by clicking on the following link; Safeguarding Blog

If you have concerns or questions about PVG/Disclosure issues then why not join one of Volunteer Scotland Disclosure Services' weekly virtual drop in sessions? Details can be found by clicking on the following link; VSDS Virtual Drop Ins

We are all acutely aware that the last 5 months of lockdown and restrictions have been a strain and it is important that we all do what we can to protect both our own mental health and that of others. The Mental Health Foundation has published some excellent advice and resources on this subject which can be found by clicking on the following link; https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus

You can also find additional mental health resources here

Volunteer Glasgow is here to help!

Volunteer Management Training/Advice – like many others we are currently developing ways of delivering our popular training services online and will be in touch again soon with news on that but if any organisation feels they’d benefit from some one-to-one advice and guidance on any volunteer management issues then Jim King, our Training Officer will be happy to have a chat so please contact him on jim.king@volunteerglasgow.org or 07710976751

Glasgow’s Volunteering Charter – for more information on the Charter please click the following link; Glasgow’s Volunteering Charter If you’re interested in becoming a signatory and would like more details or to discuss the next steps then Derek Craig, our Charter Support & Training Coordinator will be happy to help so drop him a line on derek.craig@volunteerglasgow.org

Anything else at all – hopefully this blog proves helpful but in such a fast-moving and challenging environment there are bound to be things we’ve not thought of so if you have any queries at all about any aspect of being a volunteering organisation in this trying time (or indeed in more normal circumstances!) then please drop us a line on findvolunteers@volunteerglasgow.org and we’ll get right back to you.

We will update and recirculate this blog as and when we have new things to add. If you've got any ideas, comments or resources that you think would prove useful to other volunteer managers then please get in touch!

 

Keep up the great work everyone.

 

All at Volunteer Glasgow


...for Covid-19, recovery and beyondimage of Scotland's national perfomance framework with kindness highlighted

Paul, Kirsty, Suzanne and David reflect on some of the key issues we all need to consider if we want to build on the incredibly positive volunteering responses to the pandemic, to manage an effective recovery and achieve a fairer, wellbeing economy.

Thank you!

As we celebrate national Volunteers Week, we hope you can all take the opportunity to join us in saying thank you to everyone that has volunteered over the last 12 months, before or after lockdown and to the many people that have offered to help with covid-19 responses but haven’t yet been able to do so?

All our volunteering responses to the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic have been outstanding and have served to illustrate the fundamental importance of people’s unpaid contributions to communities and the wider economy not just during the emergency, but always.  It has been inspiring and has created a stronger fabric to our society, a springboard for a more community-centred future we can all help to create.

Freedom to contribute in different ways

Scotland needs to be a place where everyone is empowered to participate and contribute to a fairer, wellbeing economy in different, multiple ways: through properly rewarded paid work but also through a variety of appropriate, unpaid roles - that are often undervalued – including the distinct roles of unpaid (family) care and volunteering.

Too often we see commentators mistakenly framing policy discussions as if all these different contributions are mutually exclusive or of secondary value if they don’t attract a price in the labour market. They’re not: in any given week in our lives, we should all be able to undertake more than one because our health and wellbeing is significantly undermined if we can’t. The positive health benefits to people of their volunteering have never been better evidenced.

Prior to the pandemic, we needed to better understand how policy and practice in one area of the economy impacts on the other contributions we need people to make. We were asking, for example, about the extent to which precarious employment and presenteeism (working unpaid overtime/working while sick) or increased childcare by grandparents or DWP rules for social security claimants were restricting people’s availability and freedom to volunteer.

It is even more important now to understand the complexities of these inter-relationships between people’s different contributions as we manage our exit from lockdown into the new normal. We are already examining how we will deal effectively with the implications of physical distancing for schools on parents, guardians, grandparents, and the knock-on impact on arrangements for their paid work, their volunteering and on child care providers.  Less obvious perhaps, but not necessarily any less significant, will be the ongoing restrictions for those people that are shielding who are unable to continue volunteering as they did previously: how many of their roles will be adapted so they can be done remotely?

Volunteering for All

Prior to covid-19 we had collectively achieved some very welcome reductions in Scotland’s inequalities in people’s participation in volunteering, particularly amongst young people, but much more work was still required.

It is possible that across all the different forms of volunteering that people have undertaken during the pandemic that inequalities in participation may have widened further as a result of shielding, increased poverty and insecurity of employment: we need to urgently examine the evidence but also do everything we can during recovery to ensure health inequalities are not further exacerbated by widening inequalities in volunteering. How many public and third sector organisations actually know how inclusive they are in their volunteering programmes? Now is the time to start thinking even more flexibly about how volunteering roles can be carried out in the future.

We continue to share the Government’s vision of a Scotland “where everyone can volunteer, more often, and throughout their lives” [Volunteering for All, 2019] and we are therefore determined to work with partners to (a) provide an increased range of services to support individuals and organisations on volunteering and (b) help redesign our economy and social systems so that they work for us all.

We need to work with Government and a range of partners and stakeholders to redouble efforts to develop the delivery plan for the Volunteering for All framework in order to (a) agree the optimal combination of resources and programmes to deliver the agreed outcomes locally and nationally and (b) identify the necessary policy changes in other parts of the economy - such as childcare, work/life balance, social security - to enable more people to volunteer more often.

Solidarity (not charity)

It has been a privilege to work with so many people self-organising and looking to set up groups to respond so quickly to coronavirus.

Often we have been able to support you to become quickly conversant with a public and third sector environment with which you had little previous knowledge, to navigate the rules and guidelines on fundraising, to decide whether to constitute or to identify established organisations with which you needed to work to solve a problem.

It has forced many of us to question whether some of the old concepts and established legal frameworks - or simply the terms we use - are still fit for purpose.

Thriving People. Thriving Places.

How many of us were able to rise to the challenge of the pandemic and offer to help neighbours, start mutual aid groups or sign up to volunteer because we suddenly had enough time to do so?

We surely don’t want to go back to a world where employment demands and income insecurity make it so difficult for us to lend a hand and do all the other things we love outside of work?

Is a better work/life balance really so beyond our reach? Is the evidence of increased productivity resulting from shorter working weeks elsewhere in Europe not already strong enough to warrant serious examination of changes to economic and employment policy?

And how can local services collaborate even more effectively to empower people to develop their ability to participate and contribute in different ways to a fairer, wellbeing economy in all of the places where we live?

Choice (not exploitation)

During the crisis we’ve also seen policy-makers and organisations acting to involve people in inappropriate (unpaid) roles labelled as volunteering.

It is perhaps unsurprising in an emergency situation that organisations in one sector of the economy are so unfamiliar with the established principles of another?  But we’ve seen similar, recent examples before the pandemic: so there is little doubt that an increased understanding of the value of volunteering would also help us broaden understanding of best practice.

Mission driven corporate social responsibility?

Perhaps, therefore, we can also manage to rebalance resources and make significant progress to increase inter-sector collaborations and bring those of us employed in the private sector to work more effectively together with third and public sector initiatives to deliver social impact? Would this not build on the recent experience of many who perhaps had their first experience of volunteering, taking forward the sense of connection that has changed our communities for the better?

Tell us what you think

It is vital we understand your views as we work with partners locally and nationally on these issues, to manage the recovery and deliver a fairer, wellbeing economy.

Stay safe, have a great Volunteers Week and tell us what you think by dropping us an email to 2020@volunteerglasgow.org

  • Kirsty Macdonald/Suzanne Macaulay, Volunteer Centre Western Isles/Eilean Siar
  • Paul Wilson, Volunteer Edinburgh
  • David Maxwell, Volunteer Glasgow

Julie is offering her skills as a machinest to help make or sew protective equipment such as visors or scrubs for frontline staff during the COVID 19 pandemic. She is available immediately and has no time restrictions. She can work from home and has her own sewing machine. Please do get in touch using the online form below if you think you could involve Julie.


17th April 2020

Current situation and emerging needs

The COVID-19 public health emergency is constantly developing and regular updates on the situation are provided at:

GCC, the NHS and the Health and Social Care Partnership have been working with partners to adapt local services in response to the emerging needs.

Community and voluntary organisations in Glasgow have been very busy delivering humanitarian responses, adapting services to remote delivery and very quickly finding new ways of meeting the needs of those they work with, and their wider communities. Public services have been extremely humbled and thankful for this response, which is fundamentally enabling public services to respond to the health and care needs generated by COVID 19.

Public Services

Over the coming weeks some of the needs that public services are reliant on are;

Residents that were already needing help with food, energy, housing and money issues continue to need the amended and adapted support services from all the appropriate organisations on an ongoing basis. Partners are aware that the number of people requiring this type of support will increase as a result of loss of income.

Shielding

17,000 people in Glasgow received a letter from Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer asking them to ‘shield’ themselves for a period of 12 weeks because of the nature of their health condition. GP’s across Glasgow are now considering the patients in their practice that have been contacted and adding to this list. Likewise care services have also identified significantly more service users who need this support. People within the shielding category have been advised to stay indoors during this period, and many will be relying on friends, family and neighbours to assist them in this. Our public sector partners are endeavouring to meet the needs of those who don’t have people close by to call on. The British Red Cross and others are collectively working to enable timely responses to these needs in relation to the supply of food/groceries/medication, dog walking, money issues etc and many of your organisations have also been asked to provide additional help to meet demand.

A new telephone helpline for those facing “significant challenges” from COVID-19 that were not asked to shield has also been launched. The First Minister said this helpline, which opened on the 14th April, was available for over 70s, people with disabilities, pregnant people and people who qualify for the flu vaccine. The helpline connects individuals to local authorities and offers help with access to food and medicine supplies.

Across shielding and wider categories of need it is estimated that around 94,000 people in Glasgow may require some additional support.

Home Care Packages

Glasgow HSCP has had to amend Home Care packages for 1700 service users in order to maintain critical coverage, and to support the NHS.  Alternative support such as food provision and medication collection is being provided by the British Red Cross and other community reserve volunteers as appropriate.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Online Resources

The impact of the current pandemic - including the necessary social distancing measures - can be quite significant on many aspects of our mental well-being.  What is clear is that everyone should be taking steps to look after their mental health and wellbeing during this challenging time and seeking help if required,  as well as maintaining and developing our social connections in a safe way.  There is a comprehensive section on mental health and wellbeing on the NHS Inform website, with links to resources like NHS 24.

A wide range of organisations are offering guidance and resources to support mental health at this time, including the Mental Health Foundation, SAMH, Young Scot and Young Minds  A number of national and local support services have moved rapidly to offering phone and online support in a variety of ways, and this is developing further all the time. The Scottish Government has recently announced funding to expand a number of the mental health support resources available, including expanded resource for the mental health support available via NHS 24, as well as additional capacity at the Breathing Space phone line and coming soon an expansion of the Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) initiative.

Bereavement and Funerals

In terms of support for bereavement and loss there are a range of support resources available.

There is also a bereavement page on the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde website and Scottish Government webpages have information on new arrangements for funerals and so forth.

When home is not a safe place

Crisis services such as those for domestic abuse and child protection are anticipating increasing numbers of people contacting them.

Employment and Business Support

Redundancy

Redundancy can be extremely stressful and those affected will be experiencing a range of emotions and might feel unsure of where to go next. Help can be accessed through a free, confidential Scottish Government initiative called Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE). PACE can

  • Help you navigate the redundancy process by offering a full range of services including:
  • Help you understand your rights and entitlements
  • Check what benefits you may be entitled to
  • Offer Practical advice on getting a new job
  • Identifying learning and training opportunities

Call PACE on 0800 917 8000 or visit www.redundancyscotland.co.uk

We need people to consider friends and neighbours who are in this position and to support and direct them to the advice available if they need it.

Job opportunities

Some employers need to fill temporary full and part-time roles urgently. There are jobs available now, for example in supermarkets and in the NHS. If you know anyone who has lost their job or are furloughed due to COVID-19, search the Job Hub.

Visit www.myworldofwork.co.uk/jobhub for more information.

Business Support and Advice

To help Scotland’s businesses navigate through these extra ordinary times Scottish Enterprise and partners have developed a one-stop, on-line source of support and advice.

The site gives up-to-date advice on all aspects of managing the impact of COVID-19 from funding and grants, business continuity, business insurance, as well as key areas such as protecting staff. https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot. COVID-19 Business Contact Centre; Businesses can also call 0300 303 0660 for advice.

Business Glasgow are providing weekly updates on the support available for businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic, advice for specific business sectors, individuals, opportunities, and good news stories from around the city. Click here for more information.

Grants

Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund is now available to help businesses deal with the impact of COVID-19. The purpose of these one-off grants (£10,000 or £25,000 depending on rateable value of the business) is to help protect jobs, prevent business closure and promote economic recovery. Click here for more information.

Across all these areas we need more people to know about these supports and be connecting people to these as they might be needed.


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