Support to Volunteer

Our Health and Wellbeing Team offers extra support for those that need it

Our team of specialist advisers works with people from all walks of life who wish to volunteer but have experienced some health or personal problem which needs to be considered. Our role is to give a bit of guidance or support to help make the jump from thinking about volunteering to actually doing it. 

We can provide additional help and guidance to volunteers who have individual support needs, such as health issues, a history of offending behaviours, or who would benefit from employability coaching. We can help you find a placement, that suits you, and work with the organisation involved to ensure that you have a positive experience of volunteering.

If you are thinking about doing voluntary work but you are not sure how to go about it, then come along to our friendly information sessions which we have every Thursday between 2 and 4 pm. You don't need an appointment, just drop in and you can even bring a friend or support worker along with you. 

At our information sessions you can

  • Find out the things that you should think about to help you decide if voluntary work is for you
  • Get lots of information on the range of voluntary work available
  • Get a variety of leaflets about volunteering to browse through and take away
  • Find out information on specific volunteering issues you might have questions about such as Welfare Benefits and Disclosures.

Call our main office on 0131 225 0630 or email to find out more about our information sessions.

Royal Edinburgh Hospital Hub

The Volunteer Hub at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital (REH) was established in Sept 2008. We give guidance, support and advice about volunteering to patients who wish to volunteer.

Since opening we have worked with 289 patients; successfully placing 140 in volunteering (as of 01.05.13). The majority of people we work with have complex mental health problems, addictions or forensic histories - many have additional support needs and low expectations of their abilities. Many require long term support to sustain voluntary work.

We have developed “inpatient opportunities” within the hospital to act as a stepping stone to volunteering in the community. This includes bird feeding, administration, DIY, library work and car washing. These activities help people to develop new skills, gain structure and routine and try something new. Patients report improvements in their concentration, enjoyment at having structure and meaning to their week, and increased fitness levels.

We work very closely with REH staff – particularly occupational therapists – and with volunteer involving organisations to ensure that everyone benefits from this unique service.

What people tell us:

  • "This was my first interview in 15 years. It was scary, but very exhilarating. I got the volunteering job and I was so proud of myself" - Current inpatient
  • "After being in a secure unit for more than 10 years I went to my first Christmas Party at a charity shop I volunteer in" - Current inpatient
  • "The last time I did voluntary work was over 20 years ago. I now volunteer in the Hub as an admin assistant. I enjoy picking up the phone and placing stationary orders. I am really shy and it builds my confidence" - Current inpatient
  • "He (the patient) really enjoyed the work we have been doing .... he is getting a lot out of it ....he even joined a singing group afterwards" - Occupational therapist
  • “The Volunteer Hub enables our patients to try out work in a familiar and supported environment, which is a crucial step in helping people build or develop skills for work, and gain the confidence to try out new things. This has helped introduce the idea of work early on in the patient’s journey. It is essential in helping people to move on and engage with volunteering or paid employment in the wider community" - Occupational Therapist

The Volunteering Hub also features in this short video by the Scottish Association for Mental Health:

Steven and Ian's Story - Buddying

Steven and Ian's Story

Case study on the success of buddying support to volunteer.

Read full story

Jo McFarlane

Jo McFarlane

Jo McFarlane has worked in various roles within the voluntary sector in Lothian, and now devotes her time to poetry and writing.

Read full story

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