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  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) volunteering - third sector perspectives: survey report

    Created: 03/02/2022

    The Scottish Government has recently shared its findings from a survey undertaken to gather insights into the experiences of Scottish third sector organisations and other stakeholders involved in supporting volunteering during the pandemic.

    The Scottish Government and Volunteer Scotland are reviewing all the findings from the survey. As a direct next step, findings will be used to help inform and shape the development of the Scottish Government’s volunteering policy, and the new Volunteering Action Plan for Scotland in particular. The findings will also help inform the wider policy response to the pandemic and lessons learned from it.

    By way of summary, the survey shows that:

    • Volunteers were an essential part of the COVID-19 response, and that their engagement has helped to support many vulnerable people through an isolated and difficult time.
    • Volunteer-involving organisations showed incredible adaptability and resilience, pivoting their work to be able to meet newly emerging needs, and finding ways to adapt their programmes for online and remote delivery wherever possible.
    • The spread of informal volunteering and mutual aid groups showed that people are more than ready to step in to help others in their communities – and that they don’t need to be part of formal volunteering programmes and structures to do so.
    • It seems likely that hybrid and flexible models that combine the best aspects of remote and in-person volunteering may emerge from the pandemic, but that this will require continued investment in digital inclusion as well a recognition that on-line models do not work well for all volunteers, programmes, and service users. 
    • Volunteering had gained in visibility and recognition as an essential part of local and national emergency responses.
    • Volunteer Involving Organisations and infrastructure organisations stressed that providing support and coordination for volunteers, ensuring their wellbeing, and operating hybrid on-line/in person models for volunteering and service delivery are resource-intensive activities.
    • There was clear feedback that more dedicated funding is needed to support volunteering within volunteer-involving organisations and volunteering coordination and support capacity at the level of TSIs or local authorities.

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