Community Connecting is an innovative service that works across Edinburgh. We help isolated older people get involved with activities in their local communities, and take up hobbies both old and new. It has an immensely positive impact on their quality of life.
All it takes is a couple of hours of your time a week. By becoming a volunteer community connector, you’ll make a massive difference to an older person in your community. You don't need special skills, we give you all the training that you need. All we ask is that you have:
- An hour or two spare each week
- A good sense of humour
- Good communication skills
- An interest in making the lives of isolated older people better
After training you will be matched with an older person for up to four months. You'll quickly build a good relationship with them and support them to achieve their goals. Examples of things our volunteers have supported people with are:
- Building up the confidence to travel on the bus again
- Meeting new people after a bereavement or illness
- Discovering a new or long forgotten hobby or interest
- Volunteering looks great on your CV and can make you stand out from the crowd. Use it to demonstrate your experience, your interpersonal skills, and your strong work ethic.
- As part of the recruitment process you will be enrolled in the Protected Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme - now a legal requirement in Scotland for anyone wishing to perform regulated work involving children or vulnerable adults.
- You'll be able to take part in role-specific training courses for our volunteers. At the end of your training you'll get a certificate outlining the subjects covered. As well as this, we frequently offer our volunteers the opportunity to participate in externally-sourced training on subjects like stroke awareness and dementia care.
- For under-25's, our volunteer opportunities are Saltire Award compatible and we also offer 3, 6, 12 and 18 month service certificates that can be used as evidence for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards' volunteering section requirements.
- It feels good! In exchange for just a couple of hours each week, you get to feel great, knowing that you're making a real difference in someone else's life.
What happens if I need to change my shifts for a couple of weeks in the middle of a match?
No problem! Most matches last for a maximum of 16 weekly sessions, each of which is arranged separately between you and the person you are matched with. We all have other commitments, and it’s just as likely that the person you support will need to change dates or times at some point during the match. So long as everyone is made aware in advance and you complete all the sessions in your match within a reasonable amount of time, it doesn’t matter too much when they happen.
I’ll be moving away for an extended period in six months’ time, can I still volunteer?
Yes! Our matches last for a maximum of 16 weeks each. At the end of each match, you’ll be invited to a support and supervision meeting with your volunteer coordinator, where you’ll have the option to either temporarily or permanently withdraw from the service.
How much will it cost me?
Nothing! We cover reasonable expenses (including travel) and the application and training process are free too. If you’ve been resident in the UK for at least 5 years*, the background checks are free too!
*If you have been resident in the UK for 5 years or less you may be required to provide a police report from your previous country of residence which may or may not require a fee to be paid – contact us for more information.
Community Connecting is delivered by different organisations for different areas of Edinburgh:
Volunteer Edinburgh and Places for People deliver Community Connecting in the North West and South East health and social care sectors in Edinburgh. To volunteer with us, just get in touch by emailing us at email@example.com, calling 0131 225 0630 or dropping in to see us at Volunteer Edinburgh, 222 Leith Walk, Edinburgh, EH6 5EQ.
- Scott Williams – 10 September 2015