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25th February 2022

'The Road to Recovery'

Volunteer Scotland has published its report on the lessons learned from Scotland’s volunteering response to COVID-19, research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

The report explores the actual and projected impact of COVID-19 on volunteering in Scotland during the pandemic and over the longer term. It highlights key lessons learned which are relevant to:

  • Volunteer Involving Organisations (VIOs)
  • Local authorities, TSIs and local partners
  • Scottish Government, funders and national organisations supporting volunteering

The report will also help to inform the current Volunteer Action Planning process being led by Scottish Government, Volunteer Scotland and partners.

Selected themes include:

  • The challenges faced by VIOs and how they have responded to COVID-19.
  • The importance of supporting volunteers’ health and wellbeing; provision of volunteer training; and volunteer coordination and support.
  • The contribution of digital platforms, new volunteer roles, and new hybrid systems in supporting formal volunteering.
  • The role which mutual aid has played and the vital role of informal volunteering, through people helping their neighbours, which has strengthened communities.
  • The critical role that funding has played in supporting VIOs and the work of the TSIs, local authorities and partners.
  • The heightened importance of the recognition and celebration of volunteers’ contribution – not just by VIOs, but also by Scottish Government and national organisations responsible for supporting volunteering.
  • How the crisis has brought organisations together to collaborate so much more effectively in the delivery of solutions at pace.
  • And vitally, how we can learn from these impacts, capture what works, and help to improve not just the resilience of Scotland’s third sector to future crises, but also how we can embed such innovations and good practice over the longer term.

This report is testimony to the extraordinary and heroic work of organisations and individuals during an unprecedented time.

Further information:

The report ‘forms part of a UK-wide research study led by the University of Northumbria involving a wide range of academic and practitioner partners: Mobilising UK Voluntary Action. A key element of the research study was a survey of VIOs and infrastructure organisations conducted by Scottish Government in collaboration with Volunteer Scotland: see Scottish Third Sector Perspectives on volunteering during COVID-19: survey report