Give something back this Volunteers’ Week
Volunteers are crucial to the work of Victim Support Scotland, helping people affected by crime recover from the experience and empowering them to rebuild their lives. Over 550 volunteers currently provide direct support to victims and witnesses all over Scotland via telephone, office appointments, home visits or in the courts. This Volunteers’ Week, we are calling for more people to step forward to help.
Volunteering with Victim Support Scotland can be challenging but is also extremely rewarding. Based either in court or in the community, volunteers provide emotional and practical support, information, and guidance through the criminal justice system.
Ralph is a former IT professional from Glasgow who volunteers with Victim Support Scotland in the courts as a Witness Service Supporter. After retiring three years ago, Ralph was looking for a new opportunity and found the role at Victim Support Scotland was exactly what he needed.
“Having worked in a technical role in IT, moving to a people-facing role with Victim Support Scotland is very different – I really enjoy it. Appearing in court can be highly pressured and before undertaking this role, I wasn’t aware of how anxious witnesses can become. If my support can help relieve some of that anxiety, I’ve done a good job.”
He thoroughly enjoys his volunteering and urges others to get involved. “I have not regretted volunteering for a moment, so if it’s something you would consider, just get in touch with Victim Support Scotland and find out about the different volunteering opportunities. It’s life-changing.”
Kate Wallace, CEO of Victim Support Scotland, emphasised the important impact volunteers have in the charity. “Our volunteers are the lifeblood of what we do. They provide critical services to those that have been traumatised by crime, and support them up until the point they feel they no longer need our services.”
In January, Victim Support Scotland achieved three-year accreditation for Investing in Volunteers, the UK quality standard for good practice in volunteer management. Kate explained, “It was a rigorous process, with Victim Support Scotland being assessed over nine criteria standards, but we came through with flying colours. This shows our volunteers, and potential new volunteers, how much they are valued and gives the charity confidence in our ability to provide an excellent volunteer experience.”
Kate commented, “A number of our volunteers are students who find it invaluable to gain experience of working within the criminal justice sector. We offer comprehensive training and support and find that the skills learned by our volunteers are highly valued when young people are starting out in their career.”
If you are interested in volunteering with Victim Support Scotland contact your local office or call 0800 160 1985.