Every day across Scotland volunteers give their time and energy to help make a difference for others.  Volunteers are the life-blood of thousands of local organisations that are active in their community and deliver services which make life better for people in Scotland. Volunteers contribute to stronger communities by giving this time and energy for the benefit of other people, the community and the environment. Volunteers are the essential force in our communities, making things happen and building a sense of community that many of us want.

Volunteering also adds value for the individuals who volunteer. Research shows that volunteering can grow skills and confidence, and can build social networks which can address loneliness and isolation and support health and well-being.

Volunteering offers benefits for individuals receiving support, for communities and for the people who volunteer. It’s estimated that volunteers contributed nearly £2 billion to the Scottish economy and the Household Survey tells us that just under a third of all adults in Scotland have given their time and energy to make a difference to others and their communities in the last year. 

Our network supports and develops volunteering in every part of Scotland

TSIs support volunteering in many different ways, from recognising the contribution of young volunteers, to developing good practice in supporting volunteers and matching volunteers with the opportunities.

Find out more about how TSIs support volunteering in our case studies for Volunteers Week 2018.

Saltire Youth volunteering recognition

Saltire Awards is the Scottish Government’s national youth volunteer awards. They celebrate, recognise and reward the commitment, contribution and achievements of young volunteers in Scotland, aged between 12 and 25. Saltire Awards is delivered in each local authority area by the local Third Sector Interface (TSI). They provide support and assistance on achieving and accessing the Saltire Awards. 

Last year TSIs gave out 27,000 certificates!


Volunteer Friendly

The Volunteer Friendly Award is a simple, user-friendly quality standard that recognises and rewards groups who are good at involving volunteers. It helps you to take a systematic look at what you do and how you do it and offers a flexible approach which allows your group to work at its own pace, with full support from your Third Sector Interface. It is based on the national standard Investing in Volunteers (IiV) but is designed for small organisations.

It has never been more important for groups to be able to show how good they are at involving and managing their volunteers and Volunteer Friendly is a great start point. The Volunteer Friendly website tells you more about the scheme and many TSIs offer support in establishing it. 

Finding volunteering opportunities

Each TSI offers different ways of matching people to the volunteering opportunities that are available in their area. Whether its volunteering with one of the large national charities, or small local groups, the opportunities to be involved in local communities are out there and your TSI can help you find something suitable for you.


Volunteering Makes an Impact!

The Kisimul and Clisham Awards are designed to enable local organisations supported by Volunteer Centre Western Isles, to celebrate the contribution of adult volunteers aged 26 and over.

One such organisation was the Western Isles Foyer. The Foyer supports young people aged 16-25 who are homeless, in housing need, and who may be subject to other significant social disadvantages. The Foyer had previously had a poly-tunnel occupying the garden space at the rear of their premises, which could be used by service users, staff and volunteers. However in January 2015, a large storm hit and the poly-tunnel was severely damaged and had to be removed. Following consultation with Foyer’s service users, it was agreed that the space would be transformed into a low maintenance garden that staff, service users and volunteers could all enjoy once again.

Enter willing volunteer Ian! Ian took on the challenge of transforming the garden space at Foyer, and began volunteering at the garden as part of the Foyer Gardens project in September 2015. Since then, Ian has undertaken over 400 volunteer hours, working hard even through the harsh winter months, to create a space for everyone at the Foyer to enjoy. A barbeque was held to celebrate the official opening of the garden and to say thank-you to a special someone. Bellann O’Brien, a Development Worker from Volunteer Centre Western Isles, attended the opening to present Ian with a Kisimul award, to show the Foyer’s appreciation for the outstanding commitment that Ian has demonstrated as a volunteer, and in recognition of his impact on the garden project.

We really feel that this project would never have come to fruition without all of Ian’s hard work.Western Isles Foyer