Volunteer Scotland & STUC give evidence to Local Government & Communities Committee

21 March 2019

Along with Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government & Communities Committee this week on the need for their recently launched Volunteer Charter.

At the meeting on 20th March at Holyrood, the Committee asked about:
  • The need for the charter in the changing employment landscape.
  • The key principles which help to underpin good relations between workers and volunteers.
  • How these new principles should be used as a guide by individual organisations in all sectors to ensure legitimate volunteering.

Young workers rights were also high on the agenda. Dave Moxham, Deputy General Secretary of the STUC, said: “The Committee wanted to know about the changing context for the volunteer charter. It was vital to include in our response the views of young people faced with the insecurities of the labour market and the importance of their voice in the design of volunteer roles. The positive reaction to the Charter thus far has shown the relevance of our joint response and need to promote and develop the Charter’s use across all sectors.”

Commenting after the meeting George Thomson, Chief Executive of Volunteer Scotland, said: “It was heartening to experience the very real interest of MSPs and the Committee in the Charter and its aims. They were particularly interested in the need to defend workers and volunteers from exploitation. Volunteers are not a substitute for paid employees.”

The Committee was also interested to hear Volunteer Scotland’s plan for volunteer growth and inclusion, which focuses on nurturing associational life rather than promoting formal volunteering.

George explained: “The way volunteering is thought about has been pretty stuck for a long time, but we’re shaking that up with our innovative CommUnity Bubble approach. We’re reaching out to people in their communities to get them talking about the issues that matter most to them and inspiring community action. It’s an approach centred on community spirit and empowerment that helps build friendly relations, encourages people to look out for each other and come together to do things with shared goals. Our bubble tent has already popped up in several places across Scotland and Europe, from miner’s welfare centres and refugee cafes, to Glasgow Green and charity hubs. We’re moving into an exciting period of change and the Committee’s questions are a testimony to that.”

The new Charter was launched at the Gathering held at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), Glasgow on 20February 2019. For further details of the charter, click here.