Volunteers are the golden thread connecting our communities
I crafted the above banner in response to Helen Fleming’s request. Helen (Dyslexia Scotland’s Volunteer Manager) is part of the Scottish Volunteering Forum and the Volunteering Cross Party Group in the Scottish Parliament. Helen asked me to create a piece of work for this year’s Volunteers’ Week Scotland, which is this week (1st – 7th June). The theme is ‘The Golden Thread’ and it reflects the observations of Angela Constance MSP at the CPG on Volunteering meeting in November 2016.
It is my belief that voluntary organisations are the KEYSTONE in the heart of Scotland’s communities. They provide a setting and hub around which volunteers can concentrate their efforts and which we (volunteers) can find a voice. Golden threads require an anchor from which to maintain their strength and focus.
Dyslexia Scotland has a member’s only magazine, which is written by members for members. I would recommend both membership of Dyslexia Scotland and volunteering. A pdf of a front cover of Dyslexia Voice (from March 2014) about Volunteering is attached to the end of this blog, for your inspiration and information.
The following are quotes from the above mentioned magazine. I wanted to use other volunteers’ words within this blog, as volunteering is a team effort and we all rely on each other (and therefore stand on the shoulders of giants) :-
“[The opportunity also allowed me to gain] knowledge of dyslexia which could help me better understand the condition. (Ann, pp 16 -18)
[I have been involved with various] events like the education conference and helping man stalls at other conferences. I have also helped out with stuffing envelopes, organising information packs for conferences (Sam, page 21)
[If] you want something done, ask a busy person. That’s what they say and that would be me! … Driving towards Stirling at 6am on a Saturday. … “What am I doing?” … already had a really difficult week at work, … As the day comes to an end, my solemn, unappreciated mood has changed to one of satisfaction and elation… (Dawn, Dyslexia Scotland Fife, pp 36 + 37)
[I joined Dyslexia Scotland as a volunteer to] support other parents, and help raise awareness of the support available. I wanted to give something back for the help I had received. (Janette, West Lothian Branch, pp 10 + 11)
[I] thoroughly enjoy being a volunteer at the branch where we meet monthly and look for things to do and how to get our message out. (Jock, Perth & Kinross Branch, pp 8 + 9)
One of my particular highlights was meeting Sir Jackie Stewart and the other wonderful ambassadors at the Edinburgh Castle event in 2013. (Hazel, page 30)
[Meeting] new people and the feeling that I’m making a difference with the advice that I can offer has given me the confidence I was missing (Angela, page 33)
[I am responsible for] ensuring that the organisation is adequately funded, that proper financial records are kept, and that the Board is fully informed at all times of our financial position. As a volunteer I do of course give freely of my time and am very happy to do so. … many volunteers who give of their time and skills. … without you the worth of Dyslexia Scotland would be much diminished. (Jim, pp 12 + 13)”
I would advise people to try volunteering because I believe volunteering could be the cornerstone of everyone’s wellbeing. And the best bit is that as well as helping yourself: you could be someone’s (or a community’s) “stitch in time that saves nine”.
Doreen Kelly, DS Volunteer and Member