The Volunteer Friendly Award

We involve volunteers because they are motivated, have fun helping and tell us it lets them give something back to the community. Volunteers are crucial to Brae.

Mary Sneddon, Centre Manager,
Brae RDA Partnership (Riding for the Disabled).


Latest Volunteer Friendly achievers in Aberdeenshire

16 September 2013

Grampian Opportunities has become the latest Aberdeenshire charitable organisation to receive a Volunteer Friendly Award at an event held at the St Mary’s Church Centre, Inverurie on Wednesday September 4.  

Grampian Opportunities (GO) supports disabled people and people with mental health problems to have choice and control in their lives.  GO supports its members to increase their confidence and skill levels by providing supported opportunities in admin/office work, marketing, advertising, finance, events organisation, journalism, IT, driving and much more.

GO also runs its own mentoring service –New Explorations Mentoring Service. This gives members the opportunity to explore issues and the chance to talk through experiences and problems with a trained mentor, who will support them to reach a decision with which they are happy and confident about.  GO has a number of other projects including Voices for Change (VfC) which is a peer-led project designed to give disabled people a voice and the chance to give their opinions on the services they receive.

The Volunteer Friendly Award is a simple, user friendly quality standard based on the Investing in Volunteers criteria and was devised by Volunteer Centre Dundee as a way to recognise and reward groups who are good at involving and supporting their volunteers. 

Leanne Smith, a volunteer with Grampian Opportunities (supported by Linda Singer, GO Development Worker) was given the task of putting together a portfolio of evidence which was then assessed by Volunteer Centre Aberdeenshire (VCA).

VCA’s Development Officer for Garioch & Formartine, Edith MacDonald said: “This Award is the perfect way for organisations to show their volunteers and the wider community that they recognise the importance volunteers make to their organisation.  GO has become the 7th organisation in Aberdeenshire to achieve the award and I wish to congratulate them on their achievement.  They are now part of a small but very select group”.

Linda Singer, GO Development Worker said: “We are delighted to have achieved the Volunteer Friendly Award, and all at GO wish to acknowledge the work done by Leanne in preparing the portfolio of evidence. 

“Ensuring our volunteers are supported and appreciated is of paramount importance to us, and we are thrilled to have received an award in recognition of this.”

Many essential services in Scotland’s communities are enhanced by volunteers.

Volunteering also has a significant social value as it is increasingly being used to give excluded individuals the chance to build their confidence and skills through helping others.

Source: Inverurie Herald




Volunteer Friendly in the Borders - ChildLine

12 March 2013

The ChildLine Schools Service has become the second service in the Borders to receive a Volunteer Friendly Award, in recognition of its success in training, motivating and supporting its invaluable team of volunteers.

Pupils from P6 and P7 watched excitedly as some of the ChildLine Schools Service volunteers who have been helping them understand issues such as abuse and bullying received the Award at St Peter’s Primary School in Galashiels this week. The ChildLine Schools Service programme consists of assembly-style presentations by volunteers to the whole-year group, followed by workshops in individual classes.

Tony Brown, Area Co-ordinator for ChildLine Schools Service, said, “We rely on volunteers to deliver the service in school and help P6 and P7 children learn how to protect themselves from abuse and bullying. This Volunteer Friendly Award means a huge amount to us as it shows that we are giving our volunteers the recognition and treatment they deserve.”

ChildLine won the accolade after convincing assessors from Volunteer Centre Borders (VCB) that it follows best practice towards its volunteers, and producing a folder of material evidence to back this up. Award winners must demonstrate that they manage their volunteers properly, treat them fairly, train and support them, offer them the opportunity for personal development and celebrate their contributions to the organisation.  The first organisation to win a Volunteer Friendly Award in the Borders was Citizens Advice Bureau Peebles in December 2012.

With the voluntary sector growing daily, management of volunteers is a subject increasingly on the agenda, and there is a growing need for standards in volunteering to be of the highest level.

Susan Swan, VCB’s Executive Officer, said, “There are lots of benefits to having a Volunteer Friendly Award.  Managers will have better motivated volunteers, who will, in turn, have confidence that they are being looked after well. Volunteers can be sure that they are joining a group that will value and protect their interests. And having a Volunteer Friendly Award shows funding bodies that good practices are in place.

“ChildLine Schools Service submitted an excellent portfolio which covered all aspects of good volunteer management. VCB assessors felt that the evidence showed that volunteers could feel confident about volunteering there and would be well supported, protected and valued.”


ChildLine School Services Volunteer Kirsty Essery (middle) and Area Co-ordinator Tony Brown receive the Volunteer Friendly Award from Susan Swan, Volunteer Centre Borders’ Executive Officer.

Volunteer Centre Dundee is Volunteer Friendly

06 November 2012

Volunteer Centre Dundee's Investing in Volunteers accreditation expired this year so we thought that it was about time for us to put together the evidence that we are Volunteer Friendly.  It was a good time to review our practices as we've been recruiting new volunteers to help us with the administration of the Saltire Award and with delivery of services in the Voluntary Gateway, which we operate in partnership with Dundee Voluntary Action and Dundee Social Enterprise Network.

Two members of Dundee's peer assessor group got together at the end of October with some visitors from Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian to look at our portfolio of evidence.  We're very pleased to say that we've been approved as Volunteer Friendly!

Volunteer Friendly reaches three more areas

30 May 2012

With Borders, East Ayrshire and West Lothian now licensed to deliver the Volunteer Friendly Award and interface staff gearing up to work with groups in these areas, it's now possible for organisations and groups in 23 Scottish Local Authority areas to achieve the Volunteer Friendly Award.  To date, there are 104 Volunteer Friendly groups and organisations in Scotland.

Volunteer Friendly Award in Highlands

16 March 2012

Congratulations to Birchwood Highlands who recently achieved Volunteer Friendly Award from Voluntary Action Lochaber.

Caithness groups are Volunteer Friendly!

19 December 2011

At a recent award ceremony three Caithness voluntary organisations were presented with their Volunteer Friendly Awards.

Jennifer Macdonald, manager of the British Red Cross Shop in Thurso, Michele Whibley, manager of Homeaid Caithness & Sutherland, and Margaret Allan, manager of the Laurandy Centre Wick, were presented with the awards by Rob Gibson MSP.  Mr Gibson said “Caithness groups and individuals always show their true community spirit by volunteering.  The team at the Laurandy Centre, British Red Cross Shop and Homeaid have made many lives better as a result, congratulations to them all”  

The Volunteer Friendly Awards in Caithness are co-ordinated by Catherine Patterson based in Caithness Voluntary Group.  She supports groups while they are working on the awards and is the local contact. 

Jennifer Macdonald of the British Red cross Shop Thurso [centre left], Michele Whibley of Homeaid Caithness & Sutherland [centre] and Margaret Allan of the Laurandy Centre are seen here with Catherine Patterson [far left] and Rob Gibson MSP [far right] together with some of their volunteers at a recent ceremony in the Laurandy Centre, Wick.

Award ceremony for three Caithness organisations

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