Investing in Volunteers as Learners

Our 2015 Volunteer Impact Survey (36.5% return) showed that over half of our volunteers are seeking accreditation through volunteering.

Over three quarters of our volunteers are keen to access other organisations’ training opportunities as well as Lead’s own training. “I have moved into employment, then onto College as a result of my volunteering experience,” one volunteer said.  “It has allowed me to upgrade my ECDL” said another.

The Adult Achievement Awards (AAA) offer an accreditation route for volunteers to gain even more from volunteering.  Lead has been chosen as one of the organisations to pilot these Awards as part of the implementation of the Statement of Ambition for Adult Learning, highlighted in the Programme of Government for 2015-16. Our Learning Co-ordinators and a volunteer have now been trained in the delivery of the awards by Newbattle Abbey staff. Staff and volunteers are currently supporting learners and some volunteers across Scotland through the awards at SCQF levels 3 to 6.


We couldn’t offer our services without the support of volunteers and we were extremely delighted to be awarded our Investing in Volunteers Award again in October 2015, held since 2005:

George Thomson, Chief Executive Officer, Volunteer Scotland have awarded Lead Scotland the Investing in Volunteers Award. “Congratulations. On a personal note I have always appreciated the national exemplar you are in Scotland in engaging the whole community in volunteering. You literally see the best in folk and seek out ways by which anyone, whatever their circumstances, can express themselves through volunteering and bring about a lot of benefits. Well done and good luck for the next three years.”

One outcome from going through the process of Investing in Volunteers was the creation of Lead’s Dr Ethel Gray Volunteer of the Year Award to recognise and celebrate volunteering achievements.


This year’s winner, announced at our AGM, was Jan from Fife who, as well as her volunteering contribution, has taken up opportunities to learn a Supporting Adult Literacies qualification and has attended a REAL project workshop. “Receiving the Volunteer of the Year Award from Lead felt like an amazing acknowledgement of the work I share with our learners. As a Lead volunteer I have experienced a real sense of belonging to a truly worthwhile organisation.  I have been supported and encouraged to develop my abilities as a volunteer.  The opportunities to take part in personal development certificates has boosted my confidence on both a personal level as well as with learners and care providers.  Dawn, my coordinator,  values and appreciates my efforts and thanks me in person as well as in emails.  It is wonderful to feel so cared for and nurtured by Lead which in turn helps me to share this wonderful ethos with our learners.”

Hilary, a Moray volunteer who says just “go for it” was ‘Highly Commended’, recognising her personal journey through volunteering.

Volunteering brings health benefits as well as opportunities to learn; bringing people and communities together through shared striving. One of our volunteers recently said it gave them “a feeling of usefulness and self-worth”.

Good luck to those embarking on the Adult Achievement Awards and we’ll keep you posted with our experience on the pilot.