Time to celebrate the volunteers doing good for nature in Scotland
This week marks the 35th anniversary of Volunteers’ Week (1 – 7 June), when Conservation Scotland will join thousands of charities and voluntary organisations across Scotland to observe this year’s theme, ‘Time to Celebrate’. Many of the now 25 groups and organisations in the Conservation Scotland community work with volunteers to achieve their conservation goals together. Nathan Roberts, founder of Conservation Scotland, said: “Volunteers’ Week is a chance to be grateful for and shout about the fantastic volunteering opportunities and experiences there are in nature conservation, and to thank both organsations and individuals for engaging in such meaningful activities.” Speaking for Volunteers’ Week, Matilda Scharsach of Woodland Trust Scotland said: “At Woodland Trust Scotland volunteers are part of our team and we couldn’t do what we do without them. We have grown our numbers from 150 in 2016 to over 350 now, and they offer us so much support.” She continued, “We have volunteer wardens, photographers, tree disease monitors, campaigners, practical conservation groups, and ancient tree verifiers to name just a few of our many roles. To mark National Volunteers Week we will be running an ancient tree hunt and picnic at Drummond Castle Gardens for our volunteers, just as a way of thanking them for all they do for us. If you would like to volunteer with us, please have a look here on our website.”
According to the Scottish Household Survey 2017 over 1.25 million people in Scotland volunteer (that’s 28 % of the adult population!), contributing 157 million hours of help. Last year more than 900 events took place for Volunteer’s Week, including award ceremonies and tea parties. This annual campaign helps to highlight how people can access volunteering opportunities and overcome any barriers they might be facing. George Thomson, Chief Executive of Volunteer Scotland which is leading the campaign, said: “I’m just like the million plus volunteers who would "talk for Scotland" about their friendly, uplifting and rewarding experiences. I’d like to say a big thank you to you all.” He continued, “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.” He added, “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.”
Volunteers’ Week 2019 is encouraging volunteers to share their own stories, demonstrating how they are making a difference and celebrating the diversity of people and opportunities available. You can submit your story and photos on the Conservation Scotland parent website, Why Conserve at www.whyconserve.com/your-action-stories and find a full calendar of local volunteering opportunities to add to your diary at www.conservationscotland.uk – free, open to all, and good for nature. If you are on social media, search #VolunteersWeekScot.
Thanks, Volunteer Scotland, Woodland Trust Scotland, and all those organisations and individuals involved in volunteering for nature and conservation. Now I would like to…