Clan Sheffield & Volunteering Research

19 October 2014

One thing to remember, never attend a conference where you have family! With Sheffield home to a large clan of relations introducing your work colleagues to Aunties, Cousins and various friends could be a treat, it’s when they volunteer stories of changing your nappies that make it all cringe worthy!!!

Needless to say, Sheffield and the conference were fantastic and so was the clan! Check out @VSSN_UK

Volunteering at a Community Music Festival?

In Scotland it’s always said we never need an excuse for a party and in truth festivals are parties in a grand scale; increasingly volunteers play a role in facilitating festivals and this research highlights thediverse nature of how volunteers get involved, how they are managed. The specific festival which is discussed in this research was attended by 1000 individuals and it became clear that one person was key to the delivery of the festival via volunteers. The research critically allowed the research team to identify 4 areas in which volunteer festival leadership should fit, Inspiring, Sharing, and Caring. So, what’s the impact for volunteering: this research highlights opportunities to influencing the design of volunteer leadership training and courses, enhancing opportunity development for potential volunteer managers in the emerging festival landscape and critically improving the experience of volunteers and enabling potential volunteers to access new and exciting opportunities.

Linda Wilks (Open University) @linda_w


Volunteering and the Welsh Language?

While at first glance this research may have little context in Scotland it highlighted the fact that in rural areas of Wales in which Welsh is a major language group there are higher rates of volunteering and also Welsh speakers (the vast majority who are bi-lingual) undertook more volunteering compared to those who only spoke English. It may be possible to draw both linguistic and cultural comparisons with Eilean Siar (Western Isles) which has substantially higher levels of volunteering than the national average across Scotland. Furthermore, the research highlighted the trend of non-Welsh speaking organisations who found it difficult to recruit in Welsh speaking locations, e.g. not having proper translations, not having signs in Welsh, and being perceived as not taking the local language seriously. This research challenges us to think beyond our own lived experience and consider the lived experience of potential volunteers. With low volunteering rates we should be thinking about the barriers to people living in our communities....time to ask them what these barriers are?

 Cynog Prys, Rhain Hodges and Robin Mann (Bangor University) @cynog_prys


Into the Unknown 

With an ever aging population, Scotland faces a range of service issues related to caring for the elderly, isolation and service improvement being only two of them. Interestingly this research highlighted the role of volunteers in reducing isolation in care homes and improving the level of care for residents in challenging existing practices and confronting bad practice in public and private sector care homes while enhancing the lives of those who call care homes, home.

In the private sector example the introduction of volunteers challenges the structure and culture of care with many staff leaving with the outcome of an improvement in care noted by the English Care Inspectorate; it should be noted that staff were not replaced with volunteers but by new paid employees.

This was a very interesting panel with much to be learned in how small amounts of volunteering can have a profound impact on the lives of others and impact the delivery of care services as well as challenging behaviours.

Kim Donahue and Matthew Hill (Institute for Volunteering Research) @IVRTweets
Rodger Bullock (Leighton House Care Home) Et al


Want to know more? Drop me an email or go to @VolScotMartin or dial 01786 479593

Other links: 

Institute of Volunteering Research:

Voluntary Sector Studies Network:

Voluntary Sector Studies Network Twitter:



blog comments powered by Disqus