Helping young people into volunteering

26 September 2019

Want to make your volunteering more inclusive? Start with travel expenses argues Zara todd from project scotland. 

PSCurrently in Scotland 50% of volunteering opportunities do not pay travel expenses, this is one of the many barriers facing young people wanting to volunteer which the YouthVIP report identified earlier this year. 

At ProjectScotland we believe that all young people should have the opportunity to volunteer regardless of their background or life experience as we know volunteering can transform lives and help people find new passions, confidence and skills.

Through our work with young people we have learned that there are some key elements which support young people to volunteer here are three:

  • Flexibility – young people have busy and complex lives, not to mention a lot of young people still have education commitments.
  • Mentoring and clear management – many of the young people we work with have experienced things that have knocked their self-confidence, having a mentor can provide much needed reassurance.
  • Visibility and accessibility – many young people who contact us don’t know what volunteering opportunities are out there or how to apply.

We are constantly working to make our offer more inclusive. We have recently established YVIE - Youth Volunteering Innovation and Engagement, a youth advisory board of 9 young people from across Scotland who advise the organisation on our work at a strategic level. The group are working with our trustees and leadership team to ensure that young people drive our approach.

We know that young disabled people experience additional barriers to volunteering and you only have to look at NCVO’s Time Well Spent report to see that young people and disabled people have the lowest levels of satisfaction in volunteering. We believe this doesn’t have to be the case and that something needs to be done to change this in Scotland. We are starting a project supporting disabled and non-disabled young people to research the barriers preventing young disabled people from volunteering. We hope the project will provide much needed insights into the issues and challenges, as well as propose some solutions to support young disabled people and the sector to engage in inclusive volunteering.

The National Inclusion in Volunteering Group coordinated by Volunteer Scotland has produced a series of Top Tips for Inclusion.