For the second year running, we were delighted that our volunteers were honoured at the Royal Garden Party at Holyrood Palace!  This year volunteers from our North Lanarkshire Befriending Project, Help at Hand, and the Co-Op (through our Employee Volunteering service) were all in attendance.

There are three royal Garden Parties held by the Queen each year, with the aim of celebrating people who have made a positive impact in their communities. The events welcome over 30,000 people to events at either Buckingham Palace or Holyrood Palace, and the attendees are nominated through sponsors.

Our volunteers and guests, from projects running across Scotland were nominated to attend as a gesture of thanks for their commitment to their roles supporting vulnerable people in the community.

Evelyn at North Lanarkshire Befriending Project summed up her befriending experience:

“Befriending is not a hobby or chore, it’s a life choice where you can help make someone’s else’s life that little bit better just by sharing your time. It’s not just the young person who benefits but as a befriender I have grown, and developed in my approaches and personal life.  Befriending can shine a light on someone’s darkest days.”

Janet, who volunteers for Help at Hand, spoke about how she got involved in the project:

“I retired 3 years ago and wanted to “give” something back to an organisation where I could see the difference I was making. I choose the Volunteering Matters Help at Hand Befriending Project and have forged a friendship with a lady who doesn’t have any living relatives and not many close friends. I can see the benefit she gets from our weekly meetings. It’s extremely rewarding.”

Two of the other attendees were staff from the Co-op who we’ve supported to volunteer through our Employee Volunteering service. Claire and Kirsty worked with the charity ‘Start-Up Stirling’ to transform their training experience for volunteers. They helped develop a series of online training modules, which freed up a lot of resources for the charity in terms of preparing the volunteers for the tasks they would be undertaking.  Further, Kirsty worked with Lynn Raynal at Volunteering Matters towards the end of 2017 and early 2018 to help produce a training module for our staff and volunteers around Safeguarding.

Claire shared her inspiration for working with her colleagues at the Co-Op for the community:

“Both myself and Kirsty were eager to get involved with Volunteering as the skills we have gained in our role are transferable in so many different ways, whether it may be looking at spreadsheets, updating Powerpoint presentations, actively listening to the needs of others and adapting ourselves to meet the needs of our audiences. We both feel very strongly about supporting our local communities and charities and will continue to do so as and when opportunities arise for us.”