Local volunteers spoke with real passion about their commitment to volunteering within their local communities at the launch of the Council’s new Volunteer Framework.
The Council recognises the positive impact volunteering has on our communities and has developed a framework which sets out a number of commitments including a commitment to enhance the quality of experience for existing volunteers; to develop a range of volunteering opportunities across Council services and encourage elected members and employees to volunteer within East Ayrshire.
A key part of the new framework is the Employer Supported Volunteering scheme which enables all employees to take a day special leave each year to volunteer locally. This could potentially represent 6000 days of volunteering and gives employees the opportunity to share their skills while improving connections with the local community.
At the event Anne Martin, a Team Leader from Vibrant Communities, who was involved in developing the new framework and is also a volunteer, spoke about her own volunteering experiences with the Volunteer Centre’s BEE Busy Be Friend project and the huge rewards that helping others can bring. Anne was also the first employee to undertake a placement as part of the Employer Supported Volunteering scheme, spending a day with the Coffee Mates lunch club in Kilmarnock. Coffee Mates is a community group formed by adults with learning difficulties who run a weekly lunch club.
Literacy volunteer Ian Watson spoke about his experiences as a volunteer with the Essential Skills Service for the past four years. He described how he first became involved as a volunteer after retiring from full time work and how volunteering has helped to maintain his own self-confidence while giving something back to the community.
Councillor Tom Cook, Depute Leader and Spokesperson for Improving Community Safety and Equalities said: “We recognise the vital contribution which volunteers make and the positive impact they have on both the Council and the wider community.
“There may not be a financial reward for volunteers but there are many other rewards and benefits. It can be a powerful driver for positive change both personally and socially. Volunteering can empower people to fulfil their potential, acquiring new skills and knowledge whilst passing on their own experience to others and contributing to the vibrancy of their own community.”