Fiona Dick, a young volunteer from Dunblane, recently achieved her 500 hour Saltire Award for volunteering which was a fantastic achievement.
Fiona started volunteering four years ago, aged 14 at the Dunblane Centre. She originally went to classes there and was approached by the manager. At first she didn’t really know what volunteering was but as she learnt more about it she decided it would be good opportunity and would look good on her CV.
There are many benefits to volunteering. Some people find that it gives them the opportunity to give something back to the community or help the people around them. Other people find that it provides a chance to learn new skills or add to an existing experience and knowledge. Everyone who volunteers agrees that volunteering can be both challenging and rewarding. There are many opportunities out there for you that are suited to your interests.
First of all, Fiona received induction training whereby she had her duties explained and she was shown how to work safely. She said,
“I started out volunteering at a range of events such as the Fun-day Sunday and then helped out at the youth clubs.”
The youth clubs are for children in primary 5-7. Fiona connects with the kids and she builds supportive relationships with them. She organises the youth clubs and puts on their music suggestions. Fiona has found that she has got to know the kids as time has gone on. She volunteers on Monday and Wednesday’s which is on a rotational basis. Fiona volunteers alongside a range of other young people aged between 14 and 18. Fiona said,
“My best moment volunteering is when I connect with the kids and have a good chat with them.”
She feels that volunteering has helped her confidence and her ability to talk to people.
All volunteers are given a thorough induction training. Volunteering can boost the skills of the volunteer such as organisation, communication, time management, relationship- building and team work. Volunteering can also improve your career prospects, help you into paid work, build your confidence and enable you to meet new people. Volunteering can also improve your health, improve the community and uses your spare time well. Some people choose to volunteer because it is part of their beliefs and values.
She is now at Forth Valley College and volunteers as Class representative. Fiona said,
“I enjoyed the training for Class rep and I am thinking about putting myself forward for more volunteering roles at college.”
Fiona feels there aren’t really any negative points to volunteering and finds that volunteering teaches you how to work well with other people. Fiona said,
“I would advise anyone to go out and volunteer anyway. I would suggest starting off small with volunteering and then gradually increasing your hours.”
Fiona also works at Rollarbeats a roller- skating company in Bannockburn at the weekend and babysits for her sister.
"Volunteering doesn’t stop when you go to college and university! Helping other people like doing baby- sitting is also volunteering!"
Eileen started volunteering in 2008 as the administrator for Stirling Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme (RSVP) once a week. She also attends meetings and does all the administration which varies on a day-to-day basis depending on what comes in. For example, she sends out PVGs to Stirling Council for school’s volunteers.
RSVP was set up to encourage people over 50 years of age to volunteer into projects. They currently run several projects: help in schools, the knitting project, walking group and handy person service. RSVP have over 200 volunteers in Stirling. RSVP is a branch of Volunteering Matters which aims to enable people to take an active role within their communities through volunteering and social action.
Eileen chose to volunteer because “having worked for 42 years, I wanted to keep active and thought of volunteering.” She ended up with RSVP by chance as another volunteer organisation did not require volunteers at that time but suggested RSVP as they needed an administrator urgently. She has been with RSVP ever since. Eileen said,
“it has been a great experience as I have met a lot of nice new people. Volunteering has opened up a new spectrum of life to me and gives you a sense of purpose instead of wondering what to do.”
Eileen also enjoys going out for meals and attending various conferences through RSVP. She said,
“I would definitely recommend volunteering to others. Volunteers are always required.”