International Volunteer Managers Day

Posted: 05/11/2019 | Adult Services, Care for Older People, Scottish War Blinded,

For most people in this country, November 5th is the day for firework displays and remembering past tales of gunpowder treason and plot. However, you may not know that November 5th is also International Volunteer Managers Day.

Volunteer manager James with volunteer Daichi

Celebrated every year since 1999 and today enjoying its 20th birthday, its aim is to recognise the people who lead, enable and empower our volunteers who make such incredible contributions within our communities.


At Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded we take volunteering seriously and have a bold ambition to build and develop volunteering throughout our services. To this end and amongst other endeavours we are currently working toward Investing in Volunteers accreditation. We believe that done well, volunteering brings a valuable extra dimension to our support of sight-impaired people that sits alongside and perfectly complements the ongoing work of our expert staff team.


For example, volunteers at our Royal Blind care homes in Edinburgh and Paisley spend quality time with residents to chat, read, play games, go for walks and much more. Our care home staff are able to perform their complex and vital duties knowing that residents are smiling and in safe hands. Meanwhile, our Scottish War Blinded befriending volunteers across the country play key roles within our outreach team, developing helpful relationships with vision-impaired veterans that help them overcome isolation.


We have many more volunteer opportunities available and have put a great deal of thought into these to make sure what we ask of volunteers is achievable, meaningful and clearly articulated. Detailed written volunteer role profiles are available for every opportunity we have.


Every potential volunteer for Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded goes through careful vetting, and those who are successful have access to a broad range of high-quality training including a compulsory induction. When volunteers are ready to take up their roles they are given a named “volunteer champion”: a staff member who is there to provide support and advice on-the-job, and who can be a ready point of contact for the volunteer. The role of this staff member is key, both for the volunteer directly and within the wider context of volunteering.


It’s fair to say we wear our hearts on our sleeves every day when it comes to expressing the gratitude our volunteers rightfully deserve, but today on International Volunteer Managers Day we give a special shout-out to some unsung heroes: the volunteer champions. These are the staff members who always go the extra mile to make sure that every hour our volunteers donate to us is meaningful, supported and recognised.


A charity needs three things in order to make a success of volunteering: great volunteers, meaningful and suitable volunteer roles, and effective volunteer leadership.


Our staff who take on volunteer champion roles make volunteering within Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded sustainable. Just as with volunteers themselves, we just couldn’t do it without them.


If you are interested in finding out more about our volunteering programme, click here.