Volunteering is formal

4 April 2016

My world of volunteering and welcome to it.


Recently I’ve been invited to visit the Resonate Together initiative in Alloa and the Men’s Shed in Galashiels. Both have made an incredibly positive impression on me.

I took a few photos of the Resonate Together knitters, who I met during one of their sessions (see far below), and also snapped the Men’s shed while I was there. Both places have a lot in common. A spirit of togetherness, enjoyment, shared wisdom, camaraderie and mutual support.

The term “mutual support” being my point here. In 2001 the United Nations held the International Year of Volunteering and defined self-help and mutual support as one of the main forms of volunteering worldwide. To this they added citizen engagement (campaigning and advocacy) as another pillar that describes volunteering worldwide.

Mens Shed

Whilst the UN also recognised “service volunteering” as a key theme (what we might think of as formal volunteering) we too often get stuck here.

What these initiatives show is that old fashioned notions of volunteering being just a formal activity is well past its sell by date.  

What’s also striking is how the 3 forms of volunteering can be seen in both the Men’s shed (a growing movement that started in Australia) and Resonate together.

What’s beyond argument is the value of people coming together informally and sharing a spaces for shared activities and projects. Brilliant and all power to your elbows!

Alloa Res