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The Road to Recovery

Lessons Learned from Scotland’s Volunteering Response.

Full Report:

The ‘Road to Recovery’ report explores the actual and projected impact of COVID-19 on volunteering in Scotland during the pandemic and over the longer term. Research evidence was drawn from the period March 2020 – August 2021. This Scottish Report ‘forms part of a UK-wide research study involving a wide range of academic and practitioner partners.

Summary Report:

The ‘Routemap’ is a summary report which highlights the key lessons learned and the ‘implications’ to help inform Scotland’s response to future crises, and to improve volunteering in the longer term. It has been designed to support the development and implementation of Scotland’s Volunteering Action Plan.

Section Reports

Section 1: Introduction

Context, research methodology, key definitions, Scottish evidence base, structure and navigation of the report. 

Section 2: Pre COVID-19 -the Scottish context

Section 2 describes the Scottish context prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. This includes key characteristics of volunteering in Scotland, the policy context for volunteering, resilience policy and planning, and infrastructure organisations’  resilience preparedness.

Section 3: During COVID-19 – The Volunteer Response

Section 3 analyses overall volunteering participation during the first lockdown, split by formal, mutual aid and informal volunteering. Also, the mutual aid and informal volunteering response is described in detail (March 2020 – May 2021).

Section 4: During COVID-19 – The Volunteer Involving Organisations Response

Section 4 examines the business impacts of COVID-19 on Volunteer Involving Organisations (VIOs), the effect these business impacts have had on formal volunteering, and the number of volunteers engaged. The organisational challenges facing VIOs in the involvement of volunteers are examined; and their response to these organisational challenges. The section concludes with role of volunteering in meeting the needs of beneficiaries and society more widely.

Section 5: During COVID-19 – Scottish Government and Infrastructure Organisations’ Response

Section 5 considers Scottish Government’s resilience partnership structure and support; Scotland’s voluntary sector resilience response; the role of infrastructure organisations during COVID-19; the coordination and collaboration of infrastructure organisations; the ‘Scotland Cares’ campaign, and funding.

Section 6: After COVID-19 – The Long-Term Recovery

This section examines the evidence relating to Scotland’s long-term recovery – both during COVID-19 and post-pandemic. It starts by analysing projected adult volunteering participation rates after COVID-19; and then presents the views of VIOs and infrastructure organisations on the priorities and support required for Scotland’s long-term recovery.

Section 7: Lessons Learned and Priorities for Action

This section identifies the lessons learned: how to strengthen Scotland’s volunteering response for future crises; and how to build on the positive legacy from COVID-19. It concludes with suggestions for how to turn ‘evidence into action’; and the connectivity of this research to Scotland’s Volunteering Action Plan.