Volunteering and Public Service Reform in Rural Scotland

SRUCThe SRUC (Scotland's Rural College) has published research exploring volunteering in rural areas and what this might mean for the reform of public services in Scotland. Using data from the Volunteer Scotland survey,Volunteering in Scottish Charities (2012) and the Scottish Household Survey, the research found that:

- Rural volunteers often play multiple and diverse roles.

- Rural volunteers also often report carrying out service-oriented and more generalist roles, supporting the findings from other research that suggests rural volunteering could seen as substituting public serves rather than being additional to them.

This has implications for the sustainability of voluntary participation in rural areas and requires that policymakers recognise that the capacities of volunteers to engage with the public service reform agenda vary socially and geographically


Volunteers have different motivations

Eliane Reid, Assistant Chief Executive of Volunteer Development Scotland, said: “We welcome the SRUC report which is a clear demonstration of why it is a mistake to view all of Scotland’s volunteers as being alike - their experience and motivations differ for a host of reasons, including where they live.

“Local and national policy needs to pay more attention to the motivations and experiences of individual volunteers - whether urban or rural based, formal or informal - and greater recognition and celebration of what they give to Scottish society. This would help practitioners understand that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to volunteer involvement is inappropriate and ineffective.

“Volunteer Development Scotland is developing a Volunteer Charter which will champion and recognise the contribution of individual volunteers and of the wonderful organisations and groups who are led by and involve volunteers.”