Glasgow City Council on Tuesday revealed plans to provide quality volunteering opportunities, with demand for opportunities is growing in the wake of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The council says its new volunteering policy is “designed to create new volunteering opportunities, recognise the contribution that volunteers make to the city and the added value they bring to the council family”.
Volunteering opportunities are currently encouraged through services provided by the council and associated organisations, including mentoring and befriending, tutoring, sports coaching, outdoor activity and assisting with events.
But the council has discovered that Glasgow’s residents are increasingly seeking volunteering opportunities to allow them to contribute to their community, as a means of social engagement and to increase their experience and employability.
The volunteer effort was one of the most successful elements of the acclaimed Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. More than 1200 Host City Volunteers and 15,000 Clydesiders were praised for their efforts as well as the cast ceremony volunteers, Queen’s Baton Relay batonbearers and event teams giving up their time and putting in the effort to help deliver the best ever Games.
This has encouraged many people to seek out new volunteering opportunities, but there is currently a gap between the number of people who want to volunteer and the number of quality opportunities being advertised.
“We have seen a significant increase in public awareness and interest in volunteering in Glasgow, but only a moderate growth in opportunities in which people can get involved,” said David Maxwell, Operation Manager at Volunteer Glasgow.
"The city’s partners including the council, Glasgow Life and Volunteer Glasgow, are challenging themselves and other organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors to take the chance of benefiting communities by enabling more people to donate their time, skills and energy in different and inventive ways.”
The council says it hopes to encourage volunteers to become more involved in their local communities and contribute to the design and delivery of services in their area to better meet the needs of the local community.
Special effort will be made to recruit volunteers from all backgrounds and be more inclusive – making sure those not usually able to access advertised opportunities will be able to do so. Guidance is expected to be issued on encouraging young people under 16 and asylum seekers to volunteer.
Councillor Archie Graham, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council said: “We want to foster a mutually beneficial relationship with volunteers, where they can bring new skills and perspective to us while fulfilling their volunteering ambitions.
“This new policy is certainly not about replacing staff with volunteers. These new opportunities will be things that wouldn’t ordinarily have been undertaken if it weren’t for volunteers.
“It’s about recognising that there is a demand from people who want to volunteer for a whole host of reasons and about helping to fill that gap to benefit the individuals, our local communities and society as a whole.
“The added bonus is that our organisation will also benefit from the wealth and breadth of views, skills and experience that the volunteers will bring with them.”
The announcement was made after Volunteer Glasgow held its first Alistair Malloy Inspire Awards in the City Chambers on Monday night and national Volunteers’ Week drew to a close.
The Inspire Award nominees demonstrate the impact of volunteering in health and social care, housing and homelessness, refugee integration, sport and events, the environment, employability and community development.