To all our volunteers, a very big thank you!

Posted on June 7, 2020

Volunteer Trustee, Alan Masson gives thanks this #VolunteersWeekScot.

I am one of the Board members at ProjectScotland. I am also the chair of Get the Gen, its social enterprise company, which delivers intergenerational and mentoring training to raise funds for ProjectScotland’s work with young people. Volunteering is at the core of all that we do.

When I became a trustee around 3 years ago, I knew that we worked with young people aged 16-30 (our “Volunteers”) to assist them to tackle the issues in their lives and to assist them to move forward into education, training or employment. However, I did not immediately appreciate the essential role that volunteers play throughout the organisation and beyond.

I discovered that behind our Volunteers stands an army of other volunteers, whose aim is to assist them to achieve their goals. Our mentors, all 120  of them, are all volunteers. They work on a one to one basis with their mentees, bringing to this essential support role, the skills and experience they have learned from life and work.

Our Volunteers are themselves placed with a wide range of charities and other organisations, many of which are themselves manned or supported by volunteers.

Other young people from throughout Scotland, give up their time to volunteer as part of our Youth Advisory Board (Youth Volunteering Innovation and Engagement (YVIE)) whose members join our Board to share YVIE’s views on what we are or should be doing. Interaction with YVIE members informs the Board’s thinking and helps to keep us relevant. Calum Paul, one of the YVIE members was even a member of the recruitment panel for the Interim Director role which we recently filled. Not many people of his age have had such an experience, which will hopefully prove useful when he in turn has to sit in the candidate’s chair.

Our Board is made up entirely of volunteers, who give their time and expertise to help drive ProjectScotland’s strategy and provide the necessary oversight for its executive team. We have recently been joined by a number of new Trustees. Some of these are young(er) people, in the earlier stages of their careers, who are giving their time, expertise and outlook on life to help inform the work we do.

Why do they all do it? I couldn’t begin to answer that, because everyone volunteers for different reasons. By volunteering they not only give us something of themselves and their experience plus the benefit of their broad range of specialist skills but I am certain that they also benefit personally by getting a lot in return.

For me, at the age of 68, its an opportunity to offer ProjectScotland the benefit of 40+ years in the practice of the law, as a senior manager and as a judge. In return, I keep some of my skills relevant, I meet new people, I work with younger people and I get the immense pleasure of seeing what our Volunteers are able to achieve. Their success is my reward.

So to all our volunteers: those Volunteers past and present who have benefited from our programmes; those who are sharing their experience of life and work as Mentors, those who are helping us with placements; and those who are helping to drive our strategy both at the Board and in the YVIE, a very big thank you for all that you have done and are doing. Without you we would be nothing.