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Volunteering Support Team Winter E-Bulletin

Hello and welcome to our 2023 Winter E-Bulletin!

This E-Bulletin is aimed at organisations who are working with groups and individuals who might benefit from volunteering. We aim to keep you up to date with our latest news and developments. If you have anything you would like us to include, please contact eliza.gearty@volunteerglasgow.org.

Festive Greetings

Happy Holidays from the Volunteering Support Team and Merry Christmas to all who celebrate! We’ve been getting festive in the Volunteer Glasgow office, digging out our most festive jumpers and hosting a ‘best mince pies’ competition (currently, Morrisons is in the lead… and no, this isn’t product placement). We hope that you are looking forward to the holidays, too. At Volunteer Glasgow, we’ll be closing the office on Friday December 22nd and reopening on Wednesday January 3rd. 

Volunteering Support Team Services 

Our standard Volunteering Support Team services will continue in 2024. Our Volunteers information drop-in of the year will take place on Wednesday 20th December at 11am-1pm at Skills Development Scotland, 11 George Square, G2 IDY. The drop-in will resume on Wednesday 10th January in 2024 and will take place every Wednesday at 11am-1pm, unless otherwise specified, therafter.

Those who need further support, or who can’t attend the Drop-In, can call us on (0141) 226 3431 or email info@volunteerglasgow.org to arrange a one-to-one appointment with an advisor. These can take place online, by telephone or in-person from our office at Brunswick House in Glasgow city centre. (Please note, these appointments are limited and will be offered on a case-by-case basis). We will be available to respond to phone and email enquiries until Friday 22nd December, and will be back on Wednesday 3rd January 2024. Please note however, that due to staff shortages, we may not be working at full capacity until the following week – so please be patient with any enquiries over the holiday period, and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

Get Ready to Volunteer Sessions

We will be continuing to offer Get Ready To Volunteer Group Sessions in 2024 to groups of service-users who may benefit from learning more about volunteering. The sessions are aimed at people with limited experience of volunteering, and can be tailored to suit the needs of the group. Topics covered include the benefits of volunteering, the different types, issues and barriers to consider and how to get involved. To organise a session, please contact us at info@volunteerglasgow.org. Due to capacity issues, we are unfortunately only able to offer two free sessions per month. If there is no space, you may request a spot on our waiting list, or you can email us to enquire about bespoke sessions for a small fee.

Toolkit Sessions

If your organisation regularly works with individuals or groups who might benefit from volunteering, you may be interested in our Volunteering Toolkit which has been especially designed to enable your organisation to deliver its own volunteering information sessions.  We currently offer a free session once every quarter. Our next session will take place in February or March 2024 – keep an eye out for our next E-Bulletin for further information!

Please note, free spaces are limited to 2 per organisation. We can offer up to two additional spaces at a small cost to your organisation, or arrange a bespoke session for staff teams of 4+. To request more information, please contact us at info@volunteerglasgow.org.

Referral Agency Networking Sessions

Volunteer Glasgow offers quarterly networking sessions for organisations that are working with groups and individuals who might benefit from volunteering. These short sessions provide an opportunity to learn about Volunteer Glasgow and the services we offershare information and experiences with your peers from other organisations and to discuss relevant issues or challenges that your organisation may be experiencing in terms of supporting people to access volunteering. 

Each session takes place via Teams and last approximately 1 hour. You may have noticed that it’s been a while since our last networking session – fear not, we will be bringing back these sessions in 2024 with the next one scheduled for the end of January. Look out for updates in the New Year.

 New Services: our Costed Services Menu 

We’re excited to report that we will be offering and rolling out some new services in 2024. These include Supported Volunteering Taster Programmes, aimed at people who could benefit from ‘testing out’ volunteering with different organisations over a period of time, and Volunteering Works, a similar programme that will also support participants to work towards a SQA Employability Award. We’re really looking forward to being able to offer people tailored, more long-term support to find the best volunteering position for them and really thrive. We will be announcing our new services more officially in the New Year, but in the meantime, if you would like more information on the services mentioned, the associated costs or a full copy of our services menu,  you can email us at info@volunteerglasgow.org.

Cancer Research Charity Shops – Taster Sessions 

Are you keen to volunteer at a charity shop, but would like to dip your toes in before committing to a role? Cancer Research are now offering Volunteer Taster sessions at thier UK shops. Click here to read more and register your interest.

Our 2023 Highlights 🎊 

That’s it from us, but before we go, we thought it might be nice to share our ‘VG Highlights of the Year’. 2023 was a great year for the Volunteering Support team, and below is a wee insight into what we’ve been up to. Without further ado…

Eliza 🎊 My VG highlight of the year was working with the amazing ‘Barbed Wireless’ radio group, Parkhead CAB, Community Justice Glasgow and the Creative Change Collective at HMP Barlinnie. The Barbed Wireless team, who are all current prisoners at Barlinnie, were tasked with writing and producing a short radio play about volunteering after leaving prison, and they did a fantastic job. Some of the participants weren’t aware that you can volunteer with a criminal record, and so it was great to speak to them about the different options that will be available when they return to the community. The radio play will be broadcast in prisons across Scotland, spreading the message that a criminal record doesn’t necessarily exclude you from volunteering, and that it can offer multiple benefits post-release.

Jean 🎊 My VG highlight of the year would be those occasions that I hear from people about the difference that our organisation makes – like at this year’s AGM, when 4 people stood up and reminded me about how important volunteering is to people’s lives. 

Graham 🎊 The Parkhead Recruitment Event that we facilitated towards the end of October 2023 was both productive and enjoyable. The team worked really well together and we promoted the event by hosting info days in Parkhead Forge and Parkhead Library as well as networking with local services. We developed connections with Parkhead School House, where the event was held, and the turn-out on the day from organisations and potential volunteers was really positive. Additionally, we pursued connecting with Community Links workers and managed to get local teams onboard with the aim to work together in future. Personally I appreciated speaking members of the public and the many local providers we connected with in promoting our services.

Emma 🎊 I was grateful to have the opportunity to cover my manager’s maternity leave in the earlier part of the year, and to lead our Volunteering Supp ort team. It was a brilliant experience: on a personal level, I learned to let go of a number of my “control freak” tendencies and to develop leadership skills;  more importantly, I got to oversee the work of this fantastic team who, between them, boast a plethora of skills and experience, and are consistently motivated and energised, working tirelessly to raise awareness about volunteering and it’s many benefits, and supporting people from across the city to access volunteering opportunities, either in-person, by email or over the phone, or via our various social media platforms, and through delivery of services including the Volunteering Drop-in, Get Ready to Volunteer workshops and Volunteering Toolkit training for referral agency partner organisations. For relative Volunteer Glasgow veteran, I sometimes run the risk of becoming jaded but not around this lot! 

These days I mainly work from home and when I do venture out of my own four walls, it’s usually to a city centre-based location. In the Early Summer, I spent a day distributing marketing materials to promote a volunteering fair for residents of the Maryhill area: getting back into a community, engaging with local organisations & community groups and the people they support was just brilliant. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to chat to like-minded people and to share my passion for volunteering with people who are new to the idea. Planning, organising and facilitating the fair itself was a steep learning curve but the experience ensures that we are better equipped to organise similar events in the future. 

As ever, I have enjoyed working with people across a wide range of backgrounds, but my favourite has been meeting people from different countries, including Sudan, Eritrea, Nigeria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Latvia, Italy, Germany and Australia. Supporting a group of learners to achieve the SQA Employability Award as part of an employability programme with Fare Scotland was undoubtedly a highlight and reminds me why I continue to enjoy being part of the Volunteering Services team. 

Goodbye for now – and see you all in…


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