2019 marks the 35th anniversary of Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) when thousands of charities and voluntary organisations across Scotland will hold events celebrating volunteering.
According to the latest Scottish Household Survey (2017), 28% of adults in Scotland volunteer – over 1.25 million people. Together they contribute a mammoth 157 million hours of help, with an economic value of £2.26 billion.
Volunteer Scotland Chief Executive, George Thomson said the 35th anniversary was an opportunity for reflection as well as celebration: “It’s right that we should celebrate the enormous contribution volunteers make to communities across Scotland. To recognise the time and energy they give to the causes that mean the most to them. With 1 in 4 of us volunteering, volunteers have a major impact not only on Scotland’s economy, but on the very fabric of our society. In fact, we believe that the social and health benefits of volunteering are ten times their economic value. This is a great foundation for the future, but we mustn’t lose sight of that untapped reserve – 3 in 4 people are not actively engaged in volunteering. The missing value is far greater than our oil revenues! We’re working with government and other partners to change that, to make it the norm to volunteer and to make sure everyone, regardless of ability or background, has the same opportunity to contribute to the common good.”
A national plan aimed at boosting volunteer numbers and removing barriers to volunteering was launched by the Scottish Government in April.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “I want to thank volunteers across Scotland for all the hard work they are doing to help transform lives and communities.
“Volunteering brings enormous benefits to everyone involved, whether you are raising money or delivering a service, everyone can make a difference. We recently launched a volunteering framework to inspire more volunteers to get involved. I would encourage anyone thinking about volunteering to give it a try and explore all the opportunities volunteering can bring.”