As one of their four core pillars, Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire (VASLan) are committed to helping South Lanarkshire residents find the best volunteering opportunities, as well as assisting local third sector organisations to find the best volunteers.
Kathleen contacted VASLan after speaking to a member of staff at a VASLan Volunteering Event, held in South Lanarkshire College. As a mature student, Kathleen was keen to maximise her time back in education and understood the benefits of volunteering to help broaden her knowledge and gain experience. She was also keen to support her local community and felt taking on a volunteering role would help her achieve this.
With VASLan’s assistance Kathleen looked for volunteering opportunities online through Volunteer Scotland and was surprised to see an opportunity within the College, for a Volunteering Advisor. The role would involve supporting other students to find suitable volunteering opportunities. This was just the kind of role Kathleen was looking for!
Kathleen attended an initial meeting at the College to discuss the role, and was then offered an induction and training which would take place on a one-to-one basis at the VASLan offices. Kathleen settled into her new volunteering role quickly and was keen to give it her all. As part of her role, Kathleen helped out at various events, where she promoted the volunteering advice service to other College students, supported by VASLan staff.
Kathleen’s input meant that students within the College were supported to access a range of volunteering opportunities which they otherwise would not have been introduced to.
Not one to sit back when there are people to help, whilst volunteering at the College Kathleen was also building her own community organisation, the ‘Back to School Bank East Kilbride‘; a local charity which aims to provide new school uniforms and items such as pencil cases, gym kits, coats, scarves and hats to families in East Kilbride who are in need. Kathleen was able to access VASLan support and advice to establish the organisation and attend relevant training. At the beginning of the new term this year, the Bank had ensured that over forty children went to school in a brand new uniform.
Currently, Kathleen is continuing her work to support others through the Back to School Bank, and also delivers Christmas presents during the festive season!
Volunteering has been a gateway for Kathleen into becoming an active and valued member of the local community. She continues to engage with the Third Sector Interface (TSI) and has built some good partnerships with local voluntary organisations. Kathleen has been supported to access funding and has attended VASLan’s Volunteer Management Training so she is able to recruit, support and retain her own group of volunteers. Kathleen spoke at VASLan’s Annual General Meeting last year about her experiences as a volunteer and the support she received from VASLan.
Through the support of her local TSI, VASLan, Kathleen has made a positive impact on the South Lanarkshire community; in her ongoing work Kathleen has become a true inspiration to others, and demonstrates the difference volunteering can make to people’s lives and local communities.