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The Road to Recovery Mini Expo

‘Expos’ are about working together with sector leaders, volunteer involving organisations, volunteers and the Scottish Government to share research and insight on key issues affecting volunteering – it’s about ‘Evidence into Action’.

In June 2020 we hosted ‘What’s changed: Now and in the future?’ which provided insights on the impact of COVID-19 during the first lockdown. See the presentations and videos here.

A year later we reflect back on what we have learned and how this can help inform the ‘Road to Recovery’. This Expo is a key output of the ‘Mobilising UK Voluntary Action’ research study funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council.

Analysis of your views

From the key partners of the Mini Expo

'Volunteering for All’ is our shared goal, and at no time has this aspiration been more relevant than in supporting Scotland’s recovery from COVID-19. This Expo has provided us with new evidence, insights, and creativity relevant not just to Scotland, but with wider application across the UK. In addition to the slides and videos from the Expo, we have analysed the views from the breakout groups, the ‘waterfall question’ and the ‘chat’ on Zoom. This is valuable evidence which we would encourage you to share widely to reach those who were not able to attend the Expo. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our partners who helped in the planning and delivery of the event, and to all the delegates who brought the discussion alive.

This Expo was the first knowledge sharing event for the research study ‘Mobilising Voluntary Action in the four UK jurisdictions: Learning from today, prepared for tomorrow . Funding from the UK Economic and Social Research Council has enabled teams from across the four nations to gather evidence on the impact of the pandemic on voluntary action to help inform the recovery and preparedness for future crises. A key part of our study is the sharing of evidence across the four UK nations, as policy making for voluntary action is devolved. Such a spirit of reciprocity is a ‘win-win’ in that Scotland is benefiting from the wider evidence base from four jurisdictions and importantly England, Wales and Northern Ireland gain insights/ideas from Scotland.

The Expo provides a valuable touch point into what is important from the front line. The outputs from the Expo provide rich material for a number of policy areas, including resilience, health and wellbeing, and community development. The evidence suggests that, in response to the pandemic, organisations have adapted to provide services in ways that we could never have imagined before. Thoughtful consideration is evident of the balance between “digital shift” and safe in person support for those that need it most. Volunteers have proven highly flexible and innovative but there will always be a huge value in the personal relationship that comes from face-to-face volunteering. All of this provides valuable learning to inform the development of the Volunteering Action Plan.

Presentations from the ‘Road to Recovery’ Evidence Sessions

Research Presentation

Shared Reflections

Jen Reston, Aberlour; Paul Wilson, Volunteer Edinburgh; and Sam Buckley, Edinburgh Coronavirus Support share their views from a Volunteer Involving Organisation, TSI and mutual aid organisation respectively.

Panel Session

Lindsay Armstrong, Volunteer Now; Felicitie Walls, WCVA; and Jo Stuart, NCVO give their insights, drawing upon their experience from outside Scotland, in a discussion with Calum Irving, Scottish Government.