It’s an annual event which has been stretched with a royal twist.
The 32nd Volunteers’ Week is this year running from June 1 to 12, extended by five days to coincide with the Queen’s 90th birthday – recognising her lifetime of service to more than 600 charities and organisations to which she acts as a patron.
Volunteer Scotland in partnership with NCVO, Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland) and Wales Council for Voluntary Action runs the annual campaign, which encourages charities and individuals to thank volunteers for their efforts and help to the community.
Alan Stevenson, digital project manager for Volunteer Scotland, believes that Volunteers’ Week is a chance for everybody to recognise volunteers’ contribution in Scotland and to inspire more people to step forward.
He said: “We are encouraging as many individuals and organizations to get involved in the campaign. We have created a series of thank-you postcards and a hashtag #volunteersweekscot encouraging everyone to tweet and post about thanking their local volunteers and sharing their stories.”
All MSPs and MPs are being asked to join the campaign to personally thank the volunteers who have made a difference to them.
Studios suggests that over 1.2 million adults in Scotland volunteered in the last 12 months. This work contributes £2.6 billion to the Scottish economy.
Volunteer Scotland is working with 38 partners, including the Scottish Government and the Scottish Volunteering Forum.
But Paul Okroj, chairman of the volunteering forum and head of volunteering for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, said that the number of volunteers in Scotland had dipped and the forum was trying to increase it.
He said: “Increasing the volunteer rate is critical to improve social wellbeing in Scotland. By working together, we break down barriers, we increase and encourage more people to get involved in volunteering.
“Volunteering is a two-way process. The questions are: what do you want to do and what difference do you want to make to your life from volunteering.”
Building a strong volunteer-community helps to tackle poverty and inequality. Volunteers make a valuable contribution to the community while learning new skills and improving their own health and well-being, he added.
For more information, go to http://www.volunteerscotland.net/