Volunteer Edinburgh Guest Blog
To coincide with Volunteers Week we're delighted to feature a guest blog from one of our project partners, Volunteer Edinburgh. Director of Services Marion Findlay explains their role as the city-wide centre for volunteering and some of the services they provide:
Volunteers Ewart, Moira, Ellen and Sam outside the Volunteer Edinburgh offices
Did you know that 36% of Edinburgh’s population regularly volunteer? From tending gardens to teaching languages, cooking meals to coaching sports, befriending to fundraising; there are lots of ways that people can get involved - lots of ways that 'ordinary' people can make a extraordinary difference.
Every day volunteers in Edinburgh are improving the lives of other people, making the city a better place and improving their own lives at the same time.
At Volunteer Edinburgh we are always amazed at what motivates people to volunteer. For some it is a simple wish to help; for others it is a way to meet new people, learn new skills, have fun or try something completely different.
The common thread is connection - volunteering brings people together. Whether you are the helper or the person being helped, volunteering builds links and connections which can transform lives and make our communities stronger.
Volunteer Edinburgh is the city’s centre for all things volunteering - whether you are thinking of volunteering for the first time, or have been doing it for years and would like to try something new; we can help.
Our database of opportunities is online at https://www.volunteeredinburgh.org.uk/volunteer/how-to-volunteer/ or you can drop into our office at 222 Leith Walk, Edinburgh or call on 0131 225 0630. There is always someone to chat to who will help you find the right thing. For people who wish to volunteer to improve their health, wellbeing or employability, we have specialist services to help.
If you want some inspiration, have a look at https://myvolunteering.org.uk/ - a new website hosted by Volunteer Edinburgh sharing the experiences of volunteers in the city. Through stories, films, poems and cartoons they explain what they have done and the impact it has had on their life.
You might also want to put a date in your diary, 18th September, when Scotland’s largest volunteer recruitment fair will be taking place at St Paul’s & St George’s in York Place. It’s a great way of finding out about lots of different volunteering opportunities.
If you are a charity or organisation that needs volunteers, or if you already involve volunteers but see scope for improvement, we can help. We have a range of training and support https://www.volunteeredinburgh.org.uk/training-and-events/ and our VolunteerWiki is a comprehensive free-to-use resource on every aspect of volunteer management https://volunteerwiki.org.uk/index.php?title=Welcome_to_VolunteerWiki!
Volunteer Edinburgh also delivers a range of projects which have volunteers at their heart. One is the Festival City Volunteer programme - a unique collaboration with Festivals Edinburgh.
Throughout August, Festival City Volunteers can be seen out on the streets - look out for the orange t-shirts! They give a warm welcome to tourists and offer simple guidance on everything from public transport to places to eat and visitor attractions.
Most importantly, they make connections, not just with visitors but with each other. Coming from all walks of life and all ages, the Festival City Volunteers team demonstrate how volunteering brings people together
Volunteers Week 2019 runs from June 1st-7th; a 'Time to Celebrate' the contributions of volunteers the length and breadth of the country. In Edinburgh we estimate that volunteers donate over 600,000 hours of their time every week. That’s definitely something to recognise and celebrate!
Ellen and Elspeth receiving an Inspiring Volunteers team award from the Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, Frank Ross.
During Volunteers Week, Volunteer Edinburgh are joined by the Lord Provost and a representation of Edinburgh’s volunteers at a reception in the City Chambers to recognise how they inspire volunteers.
In 2018, the Festival City Volunteers received an Inspiring Volunteers team award in recognition for their achievements in their previous pilot year.
Across the city during Volunteers Week charities, community groups, schools and hospitals also host events and celebrations for their volunteers. If you are a volunteer - on behalf of us all, a very big THANK YOU. If you are not a volunteer, why not give it a go?
And a huge thank you to Volunteer Edinburgh for the role they play as project partners in the Festival City Volunteers programme.