Volunteering for all – A week to celebrate inclusivity in volunteering

As part of the wider Volunteers Week Scotland celebrations, Scottish Drugs Forum is acknowledging the vital contribution that volunteers make to our work.

From 1-7 June 2018, Volunteers’ Week Scotland will see a huge range of events take place in communities all over the country.

This year the theme is ‘Volunteering For All,’ an opportunity to highlight that volunteering is for everyone.

This year’s inclusive theme is one that SDF encapsulates through predominantly hosting volunteers with lived experience of drug and alcohol problems.

SDF has a proud history of recruiting, training and supporting volunteers with lived experience through our pioneering peer research; research that is steered and conducted by people with lived experience of the issue being studied.

Peer research allows the voices and experiences of people who have experienced, or are experiencing, problem substance use to be heard where decisions are being made.

Through volunteering with us, volunteers gain work experience, training in research design and implementation, knowledge of a variety of drug-related issues, and support that, for some, is a valuable part of their pathway to education, employment or further meaningful volunteering.

Over the past year, SDF has expanded its capacity for volunteering through the recruitment of our National Volunteer Coordinator, Rebekah Moore, who believes that volunteeering makes a huge contribution to SDF’s activity:

“It is a privilege to be able to work with the range of volunteers we have at SDF. We often hear from our partners that they are hugely impressed with the enthusiasm, knowledge and commitment shown by the peer research teams.

“As all of our current volunteers have had experience of problem substance use, they are able to create a rapport with the people they interview and are able to gain a more accurate and open response than someone who has not shared some of the same experiences.

“One of the best parts of my job is to see the transformation that takes place throughout the time a volunteer is with us. Often when volunteers join, they will have low self-esteem and lack belief in their ability to contribute meaningfully. After putting into practise their new skills, the sky truly becomes the limit and many go on to employment, further education or our own Addiction Worker Training Project.”

On Thursday the 7th of June, SDF hosted a gathering of all our volunteers at the Scottish Youth Theatre to say thank you for the hard work they have shown over the past year.

Photos from the day can be viewed here

SDF currently has active user involvement and peer research groups in East Dunbartonshire, East Ayrshire, Tayside and Fife.

SDF are always looking for new volunteers to join the organisation, so if you are interested please get in contact with Rebekah at rebekahm@sdf.org.uk or call 0141 221 1175.

Click here to find out more about our peer research projects

Click here to find out about the Addiction Worker Training Project