FOCUS: S COT L A N D
Issue 2: 2011
Vocal Campaigner. Annie Lennox on volunteering, engagement and addressing inequality
THE MAGAZINE FOR VOLUNTEERING AND THE THIRD SECTOR IN SCOTLAND
Focus on: whats inside
EDITOR DESIGN POLITICAL EDITOR PHOTOGRAPHY NEWS TEAM
Selina Ross Ritchie Marshall Martin Docherty Daren Borzynski David Robertson Urvashi Gulati John Hughes Tony Connelly Shona Thomas Drew Davidson
How Ireland is marking 2011-05-11
Literacy, Dolly Parton & The Scottish Book Trust
Marian Harkin, MEP
Michelle Winthrop of DfID answers our questions
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Focus Scotland is a service of WDCVS Scottish Charity No: SC032003 T: 0141 941 0886 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.wdcvs.com
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Focus on: Volunteering
Do volunteers want to be rewarded for their volunteering? by urvashi gulati
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Focus on: Volunteering
olunteering, by definition, is a leisure time activity, with people engaging in volunteering when they are ready to spend their free time or off days in a social cause, and aren’t busy caring for family members, or fulfilling some other obligations.
and adult volunteers have aspirations from volunteering activity, and though monetary rewards may not be what they are looking for, intrinsic or extrinsic rewards in form of satisfaction achieved or appreciation received may serve the purpose.
People volunteer for a variety of reasons - a desire to learn new skills, to make a difference, give something back to the society, or simply have fun. People also volunteer as this is what they love to do; hence volunteering may itself be a rewarding activity. Some people volunteer for a sense of accomplishment. When we speak of reward, we need to understand what kind of rewards volunteers may expect.
In another study based on volunteer work and reported subjective well-being for a large panel data set for Germany by Meier and Stutzer (2006), it was found out that volunteering is rewarding for volunteers in terms of higher life satisfaction. Volunteering here could be self- rewarding for people who place more importance on intrinsic life goals, but for people who are extrinsically inclined, and who volunteer instrumentally in order to get a material reward like a better job may not find volunteering to be internally rewarding. This may lead us to assume that such people need some external rewards either to keep working or to remain enthusiastic, which may be in form of a certificate, or a sponsored dinner, or so on.
Volunteers do not look for a monetary reward, which does not mean that they do not want to be rewarded at all. Volunteers may expect intrinsic or extrinsic rewards from volunteering. ‘Recognition of efforts’ is what volunteers often desire. Reward in the form of ‘appreciation’ a volunteer gets is significant too, instilling a feeling of confidence and makes him believe that his work is important. It keeps bringing volunteers back again and again. Volunteers thus expect to be rewarded and made to feel as though their involvement is making a difference. If volunteers are not rewarded at all and their efforts are not recognized, it may cause disappointment and a feeling of desertion. At times, it may also cause a volunteer to doubt his abilities that he may not be doing a good job. Volunteers should be rewarded to keep up their motivation level, and to make them feel them valued. In a study conducted in 2006 on ‘Youth Volunteering in Ireland’, an attempt was made to explore what motivates young people to volunteer. Though a number of motivating factors such as a sense of satisfaction, social responsibility, and personal development were reflected, the opportunity for young people to socialize stood out as a particularly significant motivational factor to volunteer. In yet another study, Leventhal et al.(2008) combined quantitative and qualitative data in order to understand the motivations, benefits and commitment of youth volunteers comparing these aspects with those of adult volunteers in same organization in Israel. The most important motivation combined altruistic and egoistic motives. Both adult and young volunteers agreed that volunteering made them feel good about themselves. This again is a reward for volunteering. However, the next significant factor was that volunteering could help them in future. 70% young volunteers agreed while 39% adults agreed to it. This reflects that both young
On the same note, a study in South Africa by Olagoke (2010) revealed the perceptions of rewards among volunteer caregivers of people living with AIDS working in faith based organizations in South Africa. It reflected that volunteer caregivers derived intrinsic rewards related to self-growth and personal development on the job. Besides, they also derived satisfaction by improvement in health behaviours of the people, and enjoyed extrinsic rewards in form of appreciation and recognition shown by community members. According to ‘Volunteering England’, different people value different forms of recognition and there are both formal and informal ways of showing how much you value your volunteers. The ways to reward the volunteers may involve volunteer events or certificates, or may be an informal way as going out for lunch, to the pub and so on. What is significant is rewarding them; it does not matter whether publicly or not. Taking an overall perspective, volunteers often receive intrinsic pleasure from volunteering, but in general, we all love to be treated well and thanked when we have given up our time to a cause. Hence, volunteers should be rewarded even if they may not ask for this overtly, but they will appreciate and feel good about it, which may have a positive impact on their productivity and retention. So let us convey a warm thanks to all volunteers around the globe appreciating them for their time and efforts, and motivating them to keep up the good work.
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A VOCAL CAMPAIGNER Artist, singer, songwriter, and raconteur Annie Lennox needs no introduction and FOCUS Scotland recently had the opportunity to talk to one of Scotlandâ€™s most vocal advocates for women and childrenâ€™s rights, fighting for the right to education, health care and access to information critically around HIV / AIDS.
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n 2010 Annie was appointed the Special Envoy of the Scottish Parliament Commonwealth Association Branch and last year started assisting the Scottish Parliament in developing its partnership with the National Assembly of Malawi to establish sustainable links to help share ideas and ways of working. Importantly, Annie reported recently to the Scottish Parliament on the impact of Scottish aid to one of the planets most disadvantaged nations. Wearing a T-Shirt embossed with the statement “HIV POSITIVE”, Annie told political editor Martin Docherty how volunteering plays a part in her life. In December 2010 the Queen issued the Christmas honours list in which you were included for the volunteering work you undertake for HIV/AIDS charities. How important are recognition awards for raising awareness, and promoting civic duty? Although receiving awards is a nice bonus, it has nothing to do with my motivation to engage in the work I do. Thousands of people do incredible things and never receive much recognition. They carry on doing what they’re doing in any case, because that’s where their passion lies. For me, I gratefully accept the awards I’ve been given as signs of encouragement to keep using and strengthening my platform as a campaigner and activist. Volunteering has been a big part of your life, from volunteering for Live AID to your recent Christmas Cornucopia album whose profits have had a direct impact on the work of your foundation. How important is volunteering to you? I prefer to think of what I do as “engagement” with issues that I’m passionate about. In this way it’s like a two way street…I invest my time, energy and commitment to a cause because I want to catalyse some kind of positive change or response. In return I get the benefit of seeing change taking place, and taking part in the process. It’s the opposite of apathy and impotence. It’s getting off the couch and participating. Nothing could be more rewarding in human terms! The work of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Scotland (CPA) as an Non-Governmental Organisation seems to fit well with your own ethos. Can the work of the CPA Scotland to promote democracy and civic society still be relevant to the modern world and importantly is your work with them playing a part in bringing their work to a wider audience? Very much so…The Commonwealth has 54 member
states stretching across every continent on earth. Over half of the Commonwealth’s billion people are women and girls. To become a Commonwealth member, countries must commit to upholding certain agreed values and principles, including the protection of human rights. That’s a pretty good starting point, and I do feel I have something to contribute here. My recent visit to Malawi as an envoy for the Scottish Parliament gave me an opportunity to meet and talk directly with MP’s from the women’s caucus, as well as the presidential first lady. This would have been hard to do without my connection to the Scottish parliament! Since 2005 the Scottish CPA has built a relationship with both South African and Malawian parliamentarians. What do you see as your role as a volunteer (special envoy) for the Scottish Branch in promoting a better understanding of HIV / AIDS in our three nations and what has your volunteering work allowed you to do in practical terms? The issue of HIV /AIDS carries a great degree of stigma, which results in the subject very often being marginalised, when in fact, it should be right at the heart of the health agenda. Western countries respond to outbreaks of swine flu and bird flu as epidemics requiring emergency actions. When these outbreaks occur, the front pages of daily newspapers are filled with stories. HIV/AIDS has no such front line coverage, despite the fact that it continues to impact upon millions of people’s lives. I believe that my interest and passion as a campaigner can contribute to help bridge the gap between the organisations I represent, who are doing amazing work…the media, who need to “not forget or ignore”…. members of the public, who possibly don’t know anything about the situation, and those in power, who can do a great deal to support those who are most affected. I work in a variety of ways. I work with various organisations at different levels..either giving presentations or interviews for TV, radio or print ( Comic Relief, UNAIDS, Oxfam, The Scottish Parliament, The Mayor’s Office in London, Treatment Action Campaign, M2M)…By making films to highlight and illustrate the human stories behind the pandemic.. or by raising money to directly financially support projects…Check out my website www.annielennoxsing.com to find out more Across the U.K. much is being made of the role of FOCUS SCOTLAND |
volunteers in our society, especially in the Big Society debate. Aside from the politics of it all; how do you think we as a society can ensure that social action is life long journey especially for young people? I don’t think there are any guarantees. In my opinion the world is a crazy place, with pockets of intelligence, humanity, compassion and determination for the good. What else can I say? I have no prescription for the ultimate solution!
“I think it’s important that we wake up to the vast inequalities and injustices that exist in the world, and realise that we all count, and have the means to contribute to change.” Along with Kate Nash, Paloma Faith, VV Brown and others at EQUALS Live you will celebrate women’s achievements, and raise awareness of the | FOCUS SCOTLAND
inequalities that women still face around the world. Where do you find the time? Needless to say..Time is a precious commodity! I have a small group of fantastic people around me who work tirelessly to put my world into a viable shape that I can handle. Apart from that, it would be impossible to function! The media spotlight is often thrown on the negative aspects of life. How important is it for you in your professional life to use the spotlight to promote work in the HIV / AIDS field especially when it impacts women and children? Well of course we live in a media driven age that is fuelled by the alliance between “celebrity” voyeurism and exhibitionism. We’re continuously hypnotised by the ever consuming consumerist culture, so that “real life” becomes synonymous with “reality” TV. We have little idea about what exists outside the comfort zone of our own bubble….yet we’re the most over informed humans that have ever existed. I could go on…
Focus: interview Do you think it is important for people in public life not just musicians and artists like yourself to support the work of civic society and charitable work? I think it’s important that we wake up to the vast inequalities and injustices that exist in the world, and realise that we all count, and have the means to contribute to change. I can’t tell anyone what to do.. that’s up to them. But I do think that education has a tough gig over the powers of consumerism, media and corruption, from the top to the bottom. As a woman and mother, I feel so privileged to have received the benefits that arose from the sacrifices of women before me, and I want to be part of a collective voice that says that women shouldn’t have to suffer with the unspeakable misery of lives dominated by poverty and oppression. Let me just put it like this… •
Forty to 60 per cent of women surveyed in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru, Samoa, Thailand and Tanzania said that they had been physically and/ or sexually abused by their intimate partner.
Women perform more than 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of the food, earn 10% of the income, and own 1% of the property.
One woman dies every 90 seconds in pregnancy or childbirth.
Globally…ten million more girls than boys are out of school.
Women hold only 19% of the world’s parliamentary seats
75% of civilians killed in war are women and children
Domestic violence causes more death and disability amongst women aged between sixteen and 44 than cancer or traffic accidents.
96% of the UK’s top 100 companies directors are men.
In the 50 largest publicly traded EU corporations, women make up a paltry average of 11% of top executives, and 4% of CEO’S and heads of boards.
The amount spent in the erectile dysfunction market is four times greater than the amount spent on maternal and newborn health in poor countries.
rolling out the red carpet
Volunteers Week ‘Star Appeal’ campaign launched to thank volunteers. Volunteering in Scotland today rolled out the red carpet to thank volunteers within Scotland for the hard work and commitment to their communities with the launch of the new ‘Star Appeal’ campaign from third sector interface organisation WDCVS. The campaign is designed to recognise the dedication of many of the volunteers through Scotand. Volunteers’ Week is an annual event that aims to raise awareness of volunteering across the UK highlighting the contribution of over 1 million adults in Scotland who each year give their time freely, while encouraging others to get involved in volunteering. “This campaign has been designed to show the effect volunteers have within their communities and how there truly are stars in every street” said Ritchie Marshall, Head of Marketing and Communications of West Dunbartonshire CVS. Anyone wishing to find out more about volunteering within Scotland and how they can “star” within their community can can visit www. volunteerscotland.org.uk text volunteer to 80800 or call the helpline on 0141 941 0886. FOCUS SCOTLAND |
Focus on: Volunteering
volunteering and me: CHRIS MCEWAN Chris McEwan tells us about his volunteering journey
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Focus on: Volunteering Leaving the army after 4 and a half years, Chris McEwan signed up for a college sports course – and there his volunteering journey began with the Sports Development department of the local authority. “ I really enjoyed coaching primary aged children football, hockey and athletics on my days off from college” said Chris, “I enjoyed the enthusiasm and the sense of fun the children bring to all they do, and it gave me experience in coaching with younger children.” After being unemployed for a while Chris decided to sign up for the Princes Trust Team Programme, a 12 week personal development programme which includes a residential element together with team challenges and local community projects. While on the Princes Trust programme, Chris contacted the local authority to find out if the team could help clean up the overgrown Millburn Gardens close to where he lives in the village of Renton. The team got involved in helping cutting back trees and rebuilding the path. In the future, there is also the prospect of the footbridge being rebuilt and the area being used more by those in the local community and of future Princes Trust teams assisting with the up keep of the area. Not content to stop there, the team also went up to Skye where they spent 5 days on a clean up on a nature forest walk area and built a footpath in Luss. To raise money for their trip to Skye the team carried out a sponsored bike ride around Millport where one of the team set a new course record for the team. While on the team programme volunteer centre staff visited the Team to talk to the group about their volunteering and to register the group for MV Awards which recognise young people’s volunteering contribution. Team members achieve 100 hours of volunteering from their involvement in the programme. Chris was keen to get involve in volunteering with youth work after his time with the Princes Trust and was matched with Streetlinks a local youth organisation. Chris volunteers regularly with Streetlinks on a Thursday night at Knowetop Farm in Dumbarton. He is a hip hop dancer as a hobby and once the young people at the group found out they were keen on learning some moves from him! They are looking to set up a girl group with the possibility of auditioning for future talent shows. Chris has also kept up his commitment to sport - volunteering with the Wednesday night group at Bellsmyre and at the Faifley group based in Skypoint on a Thursday and he is keen to get more involved in local sports initiatives using his football coaching skills again.
Chris enjoys working with children and young people and has learned a lot from the experience he’s gained from volunteering. “ I think volunteering is great. We have a laugh and it’s not hard work at all And the 3-4 hours a week easy to fit into my life” he adds, “I’ve really benefited from volunteering with Streetlinks. The sessions are well run and I’ve learned to use different methods when working with young people.” Chris has certainly gained from the positive examples staff members have shown him when working with young people and Streetlinks have benefitted from Chris’ enthusiasm and leadership approach especially his teaching of hip hop dances. Chris added, “I’d recommend volunteering to anyone who is interested in gaining experience in a specific field as it offers you a chance to try it out before jumping into a job in something you haven’t tried before.” Chris has achieved a MV Award for 200 hours of volunteering with Princes Trust and Streetlinks.
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Focus on: Volunteering
EUROPEAN YEAR OF VOLUNTEERING: IRELAND
By elaine bradley, CEO, Volunteering ireland
e may only be into the year but the European Year of Volunteering 2011 has already turned out to be a resounding success. It all began with the launch of eyv2011.ie in January, Ireland’s dedicated website for EYV2011. Non-profit organisations, volunteers, students and companies in Ireland are encouraged to promote their activities for EYV2011 on the site.
light on…all the good that happens in this country”. President McAleese reminded those present of the “essential role” volunteering plays in society, stating that if voluntary activity stopped there would be a “psychological ice-age”. The President said, “That is how essential volunteers are, how critical they are to our civic well-being, our civic resilience and our civic strength.”
On February 12th, EYV2011 was officially launched by the Patron for the Year, President Mary McAleese at the Opening Ceremony in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin. The Ceremony was a great success and included many performances from The Garda Band to The Latvian Choir. The event was even featured on RTE’s Six o’clock News. Over three hundred volunteers, guests and organisations from both the Republic and Northern Ireland came together to celebrate the commitment of up to one million active volunteers in Ireland.
Northern Ireland Minister for Social Development Alex Attwood said, “There is a wealth and diversity of volunteering across Ireland. It is part of our national character. It is witnessed in every town and townland, city and county. Volunteers contribute enormously and it’s important to recognise the cross border nature of volunteering with many organisations working on an all island basis”. Volunteering Ireland has recruited well known personalities who are involved in volunteering to be Ambassadors for EYV2011. These ambassadors include Marian Harkin MEP, Irish television personality Claire Byrne, Presidential hopeful Senator David Norris, Chief Executive of Barnados Fergus Finlay, Managing
Speaking at the event, Volunteering Ireland’s CEO Elaine Bradley said that as National Coordinating Body for EYV2011, Volunteering Ireland wanted to “shine a 12 | FOCUS SCOTLAND
Focus on: social enterprise Director of Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia Mary Davis, Founder of Chernobyl Children’s Project International Adi Roche and past Ireland Involved Awards Winners Marie Carroll, Christine Buckley and Anna Hughes.
‘How to Convert a Supported Business into a Social Firm’
Various exhibitions have also been running throughout the country which celebrate the value of volunteers. “Volunteering Is,” an exhibition by abstract artist Mairead de Blaca opened on April 7th at European Union House in Dublin and will run until the 21st of April. “Volunteers in Action”: photographic exhibition by Maureen McDonnell is organised by the Dublin City North Volunteer Centre and Dublin City Libraries and will tour North Dublin until July 2011. Maureen McDonnell’s photographs illustrate the variety of ways in which Dubliners volunteer their time and energy. “We Volunteer” a photographic exhibition by Campus Engage, the national network for civic engagement in Irish higher education. “We Volunteer” aims to celebrate EYV2011 by highlighting and promoting student volunteering. The exhibition will visit third level campuses all over Ireland and will run until the end of the year. Volunteering Ireland have also been encouraging companies to get involved during the year and held an event in January entitled EYV2011 for Companies. This event served to introduce EYV2011 and suggested ways in which companies could get involved during the Year. During the next months, there are many more exciting events and activities taking place in Ireland in honour of EYV2011. Ireland Involved Online will be launched by Volunteering Ireland in May. This is an integrated web platform which will be used by the Community & Voluntary Sector, the general public and businesses. The website’s aim is to streamline and improve volunteer management for these three sectors. The EYV2011 Roadshow will be in Ireland from the 22nd to the 28th of August and promises to be a hugely entertaining week. Finally, Volunteering Ireland will also hold its fourth annual Ireland Involved Awards in November. These awards recognise and celebrate the extraordinary work that is being carried out by volunteers across the island of Ireland. For more information on what is happening in Ireland during the European Year of Volunteering 2011, please visit http://eyv2011.ie/
ocial Firms UK is the national support agency for social enterprises committed to employing people at greatest disadvantage in the labour market. At least 25% of a Social Firm’s workforce is severely disadvantaged because, for example, they have a learning disability, mental health problem, a prison record or a history of homelessness or drug or alcohol misuse. Social Firms UK has produced a much needed guide to help supported businesses convert into sustainable social enterprises. The Guide covers the ‘What’, ‘Why’ and ‘How’ to create a modern business ready to meet complex and economic goals, whilst also supporting and empowering some of the most disadvantaged people in the community. Invaluable practitioner insights into unique journeys towards Social Firm creation will ease the way for other supported businesses to make that transition and remain sustainable. The Guide costs just £5 to members of Social Firms UK and £25 to non-members (including p&p). Call 01737 231 363 or email email@example.com For more information visit www.socialfirmsuk.co.uk
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The Imagination Library initiative comes to Scotland
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cotland’s looked after children are to receive a free book every month until their fifth birthday thanks to a new partnership with country and western superstar Dolly Parton. The Dollywood Foundation has been working nine to five with the Scottish Government and Scottish Book Trust to bring the Imagination Library to Scotland. Each of the country’s 3,341 looked after children under five will build up their own personal library of up to 60 books, improving their literacy and encouraging their parents and carers to read with them. Dolly took some time from her busy schedule to talk to Focus Scotland about the Imagination Library and its new Scottish venture. Q: What inspired you to launch the Imagination Library? A: My two word answer is –“my father” –but I bet you want me to give you a longer answer than that! As I have said many times, Daddy was one of the smartest people I have ever known –but he had trouble reading and writing. It really held him back. Before he passed away, he told me that he was more proud of the Imagination Library than anything I had ever done. That meant a lot to me then and in many ways, as time goes by, it means even more to me now. Q: You have contributed to many charitable causes. How important is it for you to be able to give something back thanks to your success? A: I think life would be pretty empty if all I did was sit around and think how to please me today. I certainly enjoy everything that I have worked so hard for but we all know that is not enough. I have tried to do my part -- we have created lots of jobs with Dollywood and Dixie Stampede and of course, the Imagination Library has grown beyond my wildest dreams. I have been truly blessed so it’s only right to share those blessings with others. Q: The media spotlight is often thrown on the negative aspects of life. How do you feel that such a positive focus on literacies might help improve the lives of women and children? A: It probably would be better if the media asked “What are you reading” rather than “What are you wearing” –but it is what it is. I have been lucky because when I was a little kid, I dreamed of a life beyond our little cabin. I was just born that way. However for most people education is the way to a better life. Education is the key to success –for everybody. I just hope we can help women and children love books because if they
love books and reading, they will love learning. Q: You will be visiting Scotland soon. What inspired you to work with the Scottish Book Trust and the Scottish Government in bringing the Imagination Library to Scotland? A: Really and truly, they chose us. It is an honor to know that people like the Book Trust and the government value what we do. I know this will be a great partnership—and I can’t wait till later this year when I perform in Glasgow Q: If you could share one special book with everyone what would it be? A: My favorite book is The Little Engine that Could. It is every child’s first book in the US and Canada’s Imagination Library. I don’t think it is as well known in Scotland and England but it is a timeless book because the message is so wonderful. You can do anything you set your mind to do—you just have to keep saying “I think I can. I think I can.” It’s really the story of my life –except now I think I’m more like the The Little Engine that Did! Marc Lambert, Chief Executive of Scottish Book Trust, which currently runs the successful Bookbug book gifting programme with the Scottish Government, said: “We are really delighted to be working together with Dolly Parton’s excellent Imagination Library and the Scottish Government to create this new provision across Scotland which complements and deepens the impact of the Bookbug programme. “It’s a real first for the UK that has come about because we all share the same strong values and are determined to make a fundamental contribution to the lives and prospects of all children in Scotland, especially those who are looked after. Literacy, reading and above all access to quality books are some of the key building blocks in the early years which help lead to fulfilling and productive lives, which is exactly why this innovative initiative is so important and worthwhile.” The Scottish project is due to start by early summer, with books chosen by a committee of childhood development, literacy and education experts. Children’s minister Adam Ingram said the scheme aimed to ensure looked-after children were given some of the same life chances as others. “Research also shows that children whose parents and carers talk to them frequently have better language skills than those who do not and that the presence of books in the home can have an important impact on long-term achievement,” he said FOCUS SCOTLAND | 15
Focus on: Volunteering
VOLUNTEERING AND ME MICHAEL FISHER
Volunteering can be a lifetime activity. Here Michael Fisher takes us through his journey
lthough Michael Fisher’s volunteering experiences has started during his time at university, it was in 2001, that it gained momentum. That was the year that Michael became a board member of Glasgow’s Chinese Healthy Living Centre (CHLC), associated with the Chinese Community Development Partnership (CCDP). His wife Amy is from Hong Kong and through her he became acquainted with a wide range of Chinese people in Scotland’s Chinese community. With a variety of qualifications that include Project Management and Engineering qualifications, Michael has brought his long experiences in the industrial, commercial and academic 16 | FOCUS SCOTLAND
(as a university lecturer) sectors and put them to good use in the third sector. The CHLC was established to serve the West of Scotland’s Chinese people with a variety of much needed services, mainly to help overcome some of the problems of language and cultural differences and the resulting isolation that people can suffer. Seeing the need, Michael accepted the Board position, knowing that he could add value in areas where the organisation lacked specific areas of expertise. As is normal, one thing led to another and he was next asked to accept another voluntary position as editor of
Focus on: Volunteering the Chinese Community News (CCN), a dual language Chinese newspaper for the West of Scotland. Michael is clear that in any profession it is initially a challenge to see the wood for the trees but that common issues and opportunities for improvement and innovation become apparent. “There are many similarities between the industrial/commercial sectors and the voluntary sectors” Michael told Focus, “one focuses mainly on profit while the other is motivated to deliver social benefits. Both sectors can benefit from each other because numerous, largely unexplored synergies exist. The danger of over-specialisation is that it tends to narrow some people’s views of what, as a whole, are multi-dimensional issues.” Michael is an advocate for holistic and inclusive approaches to management; he regards it as an essential cultural component in organisations that want to deliver their services or products efficiently. However, he also feels that ‘flat management structures’ are not always effective; they need effective and strong leadership if they are not to be torn apart by differing opinions. Having served in H.M. Forces Michael has a number of ‘lessons learned’ to pass on, “No plan survives contact with the enemy,” another being, “If you don’t know where you are going, how do you know when you’ve got there?” “When you next think of H.M. Forces” he says, “consider how much they achieve with so little.” They are a source of inspiration for us all…best practice teamwork in action. The economic recession and a simultaneous corporate takeover of the plc he worked for led to redundancy of Michael’s position. With more time available, he decided to explore further opportunities to use his skills in a meaningful social context. That was when he contacted West Dunbartonshire CVS who initiated the process of finding him a suitable voluntary position. After some research, Michael was introduced to the Davie Cooper Centre (DCC) in Clydebank and, in October of 2010, he met with Jackie MacDonald and John Davidson who manage that charity. Almost instantaneously all three agreed and things started to take off from that point. The Davie Cooper Centre is a charity that is now planning to build and operate a Family Centre for Children and Young Adults with Special Needs. The facility will be constructed on a three-acre plot of land beside Great Western Road, at the north side of Clydebank. It will provide indoor & outdoor play
facilities and short-stay or overnight accommodation, respite and home support services. Jackie’s, John’s and the DCC team’s efforts have resulted in gaining Planning permission, initial designs and a substantial input from a wealthy and philanthropically minded individual. Other sources of funding are needed and being explored. Detailed specifications for the Centre are now being finalised together with long-term sustainability and other essential management processes for the design and build phases and the operational programme. Currently Michael does not find it difficult to find time to complete his voluntary work, but he says it was more of a challenge when he was working full-time. Volunteering for him was a choice. He feels personal satisfaction from volunteering because he is able to be of value to communities who are in need of his skills for the greater good. His wife Amy is a Chartered Teacher in Glasgow. As a full-time teacher, she also does voluntary work in Glasgow’s Christian Church Chinese School where she assists with staff development. In his involvement with voluntary organisations and charities, Michael has substantially developed his awareness and understanding of the difficulties they encounter. In today’s Scotland, where statutory compliance drives so much of everyone’s lives, it is difficult, if not impossible, for charities to manage all of those complexities together with the special areas of knowledge and bureaucracy that are involved. It is in that area that he welcomes opportunities to use his professional skills and experience. The most significant and variable factors in any work or social environment are people, their needs, wants, personalities and their individual strengths and weaknesses. Too often they are trapped by the external constraints that governments and others place on them. There lies the big challenge. Michael proposes that if there is one message to bear in mind, it is that the needs of individual people and society are the same; neither can survive without the other. We jointly need to channel our collective energies, skills and knowledge in the right directions. “Think about it…if the 60 Million+ people of the UK all pursued one objective at the same time, there’s nothing that would stop us….except, perhaps, 1 Billion+ people from China marching in the opposite direction!” he says, encouraging new volunteers to seek out and get involved in voluntary work and to help find and deliver solutions that benefit everyone, including you. “After all, that is the meaning and purpose of ‘society’ and ‘civilisation’… isn’t it?” FOCUS SCOTLAND | 17
Focus on: Volunteering
EUROPEAN YEAR OF VOLUNTEERING: ROMANIA
By Simona Marica, Coordinator of the secretariat of VOLUM â€“ The Federation of Organizations Supporting the Development of Volunteerism in Romania
omania welcomed the decision to declare 2011 the European Year of Volunteering and started preparations since the fall of 2009 when a first round of consultations was carried out in the framework of the National Conference on Volunteering. Following more concrete steps taken at the European level, Romanian organizations continued to debate the priorities of Romanian volunteering movement for the EYV 2011, fully aware of the extraordinary window of opportunity such an event as an European Year of Volunteering offers for the volunteering movement in the country to pursue and even fulfil some if its most important objectives. Based on the above mentioned consultations and considering the specificities of the described context, seven national priorities have been set forth for the EYV 2011 in Romania. Each priority has a set of subsequent activities and is matched with one or more objectives of the EYV 2011.
priorities. This National Strategy will set clear objectives on the short, medium and long term, clear allocation of responsibilities, and specific evaluation criteria.
Elaborating the National Strategy for the Development of Volunteering in Romania and its implementation plan for the next 3 years is one of the seven national
Creating an online platform to manage the volunteering supply and demand at national level is another priority in EYV 2011. This platform aims to be a
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Improving and harmonising the legislative framework which regulates the volunteering activity in Romania is the second national priority. The International Year of Volunteering 2001 has given an extraordinary impetus to the volunteering development with the adoption of the Law on Volunteering, as a form of public acknowledgement which this movement needed to advance. Although it has been modified several times since its adoption, the Law on Volunteering still has its shortcomings. Beyond the necessity to change this fundamental law on volunteering in Romania, there are several other regulations which mention volunteering in connection to different fields of activity and which are not appropriately harmonized with this law.
Focus on: society landmark for the promotion and identification of existing volunteering opportunities on the market. Organizing volunteering actions which will underline the impact this movement could have on local communities and on volunteers is another national priority. The goal is to widely raise the general public’s awareness of the value of volunteering for the local community, of the individual benefits for volunteers and of the potential of volunteering as a form of social responsibility assumed at individual and institutional levels. The National Week of Volunteering is one of these actions. The National Week of Volunteering aims at mobilising as many stakeholders, communities and volunteers as possible, in order to carry out as many volunteering activities as possible over the course of one week. Another national priority is the proper recognition of the value of volunteering for Romania. In this sense, activities to communicate the importance of volunteers and to publicly acknowledge volunteers and their actions will be organized. Furthermore, this priority will materialize in the implementation of a system for the recognition of competencies and learning acquired through volunteering activities. Organise a national recognition event with the support of the central state authorities is among the seven national priorities. This event aims at becoming a tradition of the next years. The European Year of Volunteering 2011 opened in Romania on February 4th with the National conference dedicated to EYV 2011, organized in Bucharest. The National Conference gathered 195 participants from 22 counties: volunteers, representatives of NGOs and public institutions that involve volunteers, representatives of companies that support employee involvement in volunteer programs. Representatives of key national institutions addressed the participants. “This year will not solve all issues of volunteering. Our aim is to develop a National Strategy for the Development of Volunteering in Romania by the end of this year and to make this year just the start of further work in the field.” mentioned Vladimir Simon, director of the national coordinating body. The conference kicked-off the 4 working groups that will feed the desired strategy. They focus on relevant issues to volunteering field in Romania: “Definition and legal framework for volunteering”, “Recognition of skills and learning acquired through volunteering”, “Ethical code for organizers of voluntary activities” and “Employee volunteering and corporate social responsibility”.
Re-shaping Care for Older People.
cots have never enjoyed overall better health than they do now. Older Scots are no different. We are living longer, healthier lives, looking after ourselves and each other and staying active in our communities. In future years Scotland’s older people will form a greater proportion of the population than ever before. For the majority of us this will not make a huge difference to the lives we lead. But many of us will need some help. It may be with our health, looking after ourselves at home or staying in touch with others in the community. Older people might need services provided by the NHS, local authorities, voluntary and charitable organisations or the private sector. 25 per cent more older Scots will need some form of care in just the next six years. In response to this challenge, the Scottish Government announced in March, the Re-shaping Older People’s Care initiative, allocating £70 million in 2011-12 within the NHS Budget to a Change Fund for NHS Boards and partner local authorities to redesign services to support the delivery of new approaches to improved quality and outcomes. The Change Fund will allow partners to implement local plans for use of their combined resources spent on older people. Plans for use of the funds have been developed in partnership by health boards, local authorities and the third and independent sectors. They focus on reducing delayed discharges, reducing unplanned emergency admissions to hospital, and making more innovative use of care home placements alongside improvements in care-at-home provision and housing-related support, and supporting unpaid carers. It is hoped that the Fund will act as a powerful catalyst for change in promoting more effective joint planning, commissioning and delivery of services across the health, social care and housing spectrum. To find out more about the Change Fund plans in your area contact your local Third Sector Interface.
FOCUS SCOTLAND | 19
CAP IN HAND MARIAN HARKIN, M.E.P.
Marian Harkin MEP placing volunteering at the heart of Europe
20 | FOCUS SCOTLAND
t’s not often that a senior member of the European Parliament quotes the Proclaimers during an interview but Marion Harkin is on a one MEP mission to place volunteer at the centre of the European project and she won’t be doing it Cap in Hand; from Sligo to Cracow Marion is criss-crossing the European Union taking policy makers and government to task on their volunteering policies; something that comes naturally to someone who has been an active volunteer for some time. Covering nearly a decade fighting the west of Ireland’s corner including fighting for objective 1 status, Marion Harkin has been a volunteer who felt forced to take the fight first to Dublin as an independent member of the Irish Parliament only to discover that the regional policies of the European Union had a major impact on community and volunteering activity. Viewing Ireland as a centralised state, Marion Harkin views the European Union as a more decentralised and progressive place in which to promote volunteering and community action. Volunteering has also been central to Marion’s journey to Brussels; from volunteering, to community work eventually to frontline politics as an independent member of the European Parliament for Sligo and Leitrim. As a member of the European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, Marion is keen to make sure that the committee along with the other structures of the Union and Parliament recognise how important volunteering is to our common European society. Taking on the role of chairing the European Parliamentary interest group on volunteering has been critical to promoting frontline volunteering activity to the attention of Members of the European Parliament. “Whilst many MEP’s are aware of the work of volunteers there are very many who have no knowledge at all about volunteering or the voluntary sector. If you imagine the competing interests there are E.U. level - the Parliamentary Interest Group during the European Year of Volunteering has a key role in getting these MEP’s to see what is happening in their own back yards. For them it is essential to understand how frontline volunteers must be supported by MEP’s and that they as Parliamentarians don’t buy into the Illusion of Inclusion as one of my colleagues called it. It is critical that we remove barriers to frontline volunteering, create opportunities to transfer learning through volunteering and ensure that we have the evidence to back it up across the European Parliament and Union”
Although talking up the role of European Year of Volunteering, the question needed to be asked as to how EYV sits within devolved frameworks in countries such as the U.K. and Spain. Does it undermine the role of subsidiarity in giving power to as local a place as possible. “A main point for me is to make sure that what we do in the volunteering Interest Group does not become a barrier to inclusion for any part of the Union. The European Alliance / European Centre for Volunteering which includes representative organisations from across the Union now includes 35 networks, are asking for outcomes that are volunteering lead not from the European Parliament or any other” But is EYV just another “one off event” destined for the dustbin of other Years? “We hope it won’t be. Throughout the year we will be working with the alliance to have concrete proposals to put to the European Commission maybe to get a green paper or commission communication, in order to kick start a process of including volunteering within the working of the Commission and Parliament. The next Union Year links directly with EYV, the year of Active Aging; and volunteering is going to be critically to promoting a healthier older life and in promoting intergenerational volunteering. We will need to be innovative in dealing with an aging population and volunteering will play a pivotal role” Marian Harkin is clear that EYV is a call to the community and volunteering sector to be as innovate as everyone else in developing volunteering opportunities for changing demographics. “Absolutely, we all need to recognise that volunteering opportunities need to fit the requirements of the volunteer, whether it’s via your laptop at home etc, innovate ways of involving people in volunteering and in community action are critical. We only need to look at how social media has played its part in mobilising and informing people in Egypt. It might not be traditional volunteering but innovation in social media offers great opportunities” The current European Union economic climate poses many challenges across the public and private sector and it is clear that lessons need to be learned and shared across many fields. However to date procedure and economic necessity, not social opportunity has led the way.
FOCUS SCOTLAND | 21
“So far most activity has been to look at regulation on insurance and supervision which is badly needed, particularly with the common currency. Parliament has been looking at good governance but this does not answer your question. Is there a more long term opportunity for change? I don’t see it, though I would always personally be looking out for impacts on Credit Unions and try and protect their interest. I don’t see evidence of community banking and other such initiatives from a social perspective has been grasped yet. If it is ever going to happen, this social change its going to be lead by the volunteers not by Ministers of parliamentarians. That will be tougher to do that than people expect” Much is made of the rights of citizens in volunteering. Do you agree that citizens also have a responsibility to defend democracy in Europe and one way to do that is to volunteer? “Earlier today I spoke about the roles of representative and participative democracy and how we can effect change by participation. This is something that is within the capabilities of every European citizen. Whether you are the Chancellor of Germany or heading out to school, I think most of us as human beings want to do something to contribute 22 | FOCUS SCOTLAND
someway; and I think if the structures are there to facilitate that volunteering we can effect change not just political change but making sure five older people get a hot meal, that’s real practical change. Improving the quality of life for our community our family, about effecting change and all citizens should have the facility to do that if they choose.” Last year we celebrated 20 years since the collapse of the Berlin wall and the ending of the division of Europe, a process in which civic society played a prominent if not central role. Do you think that countries such as Ireland, the U.K. and the rest of old Europe can learn from civic society in Eastern Europe on hands on civic engagement? “I think most people in old Europe would consider that their governments have legitimacy but that does not mean that every position they take is necessarily in the interests of citizens and I have serious questions about decisions in Ireland and whilst we may be able to change our politicians at the ballot box that is not always the answer to the question. In Ireland we are seeing more independents taking a stand as individual members of the community at elections and that will certainly move on in Ireland though I don’t know about the rest of Europe. Citizens are reclaiming power at
Focus on: Volunteering
volunteering and me : gayle dorman
ayle Dornan may only be 18 years old but when it comes to volunteering she’s already an old hand. As a shy, not so confident teenager, Gayle was finding it hard to get a Saturday job so turned to volunteering as a way of improving her confidence and getting some experience. “I really enjoy my volunteering in the Cancer Research UK shop” Gayle told Focus. “I like working with the customers, meeting new people and helping out. At first I was shy but now I think I’m much more confident and I find a whole lot of things easier to do. I’m even more confident handling money something I was unsure of before.”
one level but when I see what is happing is leaving Irish citizens with a burden of debit they can never pay back at one level. There are it would seem two parallel universes in which people are living their everyday lives which have positive outcomes where as government and business live in another in which they are powerful and determine the parameters our everyday lives are defined by” Marion Harkin recognises the challenges facing the modern European Union and knows that if volunteering could achieve one contribution to today’s challenging economic climate it would be focused on social value; “I think if volunteering could achieve one thing it would be to raise awareness amongst citizens of the value of not for profit institutions and I don’t just mean financial impact; of the significant role they can play as volunteers in improving the quality of life. If that can happen through recognising, celebrating, applauding and valuing volunteers that would be great” Marion Harkin MEP – Independent Sligo and Leitrim W: marianharkin.com TW: twitter.com/MarianHarkin FAB:facebook.com/marianharkin
But its not only Gayle that is proud of her achievement and the new skills she’s learned. Her family and friends have very supportive, nobody more so than her father. He added, “ Volunteering has been great for Gayle. She has come so far from the shy girl she was. She’s really matured now and its even improved her college work and helped her make new friends. She can go out and do so much more on her own now.” Across her college and volunteering life, Gayle has developed a range of new skills, but she also feels that she has helped the organisation she volunteers with. “I think that through my volunteering I have opened some people’s eyes to what people with a learning difficulty can bring, as a colleague and as a friend. “ Gayle’s growing confidence is obvious and volunteering has really helped her to celebrate her achievements. In February, Gayle was awarded the 200 hour MV award for volunteering – something which sits proudly with her impressive range of other awards. Three bronze Duke of Edinburgh awards for physical, volunteering and skills activities which can take 2 to 3 years to complete, a warrant badge earned with the 1st Old Kilpatrick Girls Brigade for teaching young juniors and explorers and now working towards the Queen’s Award – Gayle is not one to rest on her past achievements. “Volunteering has been great for me. I have had so much fun and I’m so proud of myself. My advice to anyone thinking of volunteering? Go for it!”
FOCUS SCOTLAND | 23
Focus on: society
By Shona Thomas
few weeks ago I asked my work colleagues what they knew about the Big Society and was met with a wall of blank expressions; it was apparent that they knew virtually nothing about it and, if the truth be told, neither did I. So, I started surfing the net and found a number of articles that spoke about giving empowerment, control and freedom to people in society to solve problems and build the type of communities they want. I thought to myself, O.K., this sounds great, but it still does not answer my question: what is the Big Society? I soon realised that I was not alone in trying to answer this as it would appear that civil servants themselves are scratching their heads over it. It then occurred to me that I was looking for something tangible and realised this was the reason I was having so much trouble defining it: the Big Society is not something you can touch; it is not something you can pick up and hold in your hand. After wading through the seemingly endless deluge of articles on the subject, I finally struck gold and came across the definition I was looking for. The Big Society is a response to a variety of challenges that Britain is currently facing. At its core is a vision that our society will commit time and money to keep its communities active and thriving, through voluntary work and philanthropy. It was launched as part of the 2010 Conservative manifesto and plans include setting up a Big Society Bank, to help finance various projects, and to introduce a National Citizen Service, where 16year-olds will be actively involved in helping their local communities. In brief, the aims of the Big Society are: To give communities more power Local communities will have the power to decide how 24 | FOCUS SCOTLAND
they would like to shape their neighbourhoods and will have greater freedom to save local facilities. Neighbourhood groups will be created and community organisers will be trained. To encourage people to take an active role in their communities There will be a drive to encourage people to volunteer their services, to give generously to benefit the public and to develop the skills of the young people in society through a National Citizen Service (at present this is a pilot scheme running in England only). To transfer power from central to local government Local councils will gain more autonomy in terms of decision-making and how money will be spent. To support co-ops, mutuals, charities and social enterprises These groups will have more involvement in running of public services. Funds from dormant bank accounts will establish a Big Society Bank to finance neighbourhood groups, charities, social enterprises and other nongovernmental bodies. To publish government data The public will gain the right to see data published by the government and the police. The Big Society is supported by the Big Society Network, whose current projects include: The Big Lunch Scheduled to take place on 5th July across the UK, The Big Lunch aims to bring local people together to share skills and ideas. More information can be found at www.thebiglunch.com.
Focus on: society Abundance Currently active in Edinburgh and a variety of cities in England, the aim of this project is to collect unwanted local fruit and distribute it to areas that need it most. Your Local Budget The aim of this project is to get the general public more involved in council spending. Buddy Radio Running in South London and Maudesely, this project was set up to help people in the community with mental health problems by linking up healthcare professionals with friends and family. The Balsall Heath Neighbourhood Forum An example of a community group that came together to help regenerate an inner city area of Birmingham, which had suffered greatly from high amounts of crime, prostitution and dereliction.
of waffle’ and ‘a diversion from spending cuts’. Some politicians, and members of the public, would even argue that it is a concept that was up and running long before the Conservatives put it high on the political agenda. Concerns have been raised that volunteers will be ‘used’ or that they will not receive adequate skills training. There is also the question of who will do all this volunteering: could the responsibility fall on the unemployed? On a positive note, the Big Society may give control back to people who, for such a long time, have felt that they have not had any say at all. People will have the opportunity to gain skills, have a sense of purpose and demonstrate motivation and commitment to future employers. Perhaps it will restore a fading sense of responsibility and citizenship into society.
Whether the Big Society will have a positive or negative impact remains to be seen. One thing is for certain: Britain is in trouble. Socially, politically and Further information can be found on these - and other economically. There is no simple answer to this but - projects at: http://thebigsociety.co.uk. clearly something needs to be done. Money has to The Big Society has received a massive amount of come from somewhere to pull us from the Elite Opticians hpl.qxd Page 1 wreckage of our society and it does not media attention that has not all been4/3/11 positive. On11:59 some smouldering occasions it has been described as being ‘fluffy’, ‘a load grow on trees; at least, not the last time I checked.
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Focus on: society
MENS HEALTH WEEK 2011
ational Men’s Health Week (NMHW) runs each year in the week leading up to father’s day. In 2011 it will run between the 13th and 19th of June. Running each year since 2002, NMHW and focuses on a different area of policy with the main purpose to raise the profile of men’s health and change men’s health-related behaviour, not least in terms of increasing their willingness to access health care and reducing the risks they take with their health. By highlighting preventable health problems, the campaign hopes to encourage men and boys to take early action helping with the detection and treatment of male related disease and injuries. NMHW gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for such disease and injury. Men’s health remains to be a concern in Scotland and research highlights the increase in male-specific cancers, and the growing prevalence of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and obesity. Male life expectancy is low, health service use is low, alcohol intake is high and violence between men and against women and children is on the increase. Men today pay a lot more attention to their appearance – as seen through the surge in male grooming products on the shelfs! But while grooming habits have improved, many men’s attitudes towards their bodies have remained unchanged. The NMHW message tells men it is time they stopped hiding behind macho stereotypes and started paying more attention to their own health. Former champion jump jockey Bob Champion raised a few eyebrows when he told an interviewer his testicular cancer was diagnosed 26 | FOCUS SCOTLAND
By drew davidson
by a vet. He went on to explain that he was in bed with her at the time. This exchange may have caused a few giggles, but it highlights a very serious issue – far too often, men fail to check their own bodies for signs of illness, and fail to take sensible and possibly life-saving precautions. Men’s health is not a subject discussed regularly if at all, and this is reflected in their unwillingness to seek professional advice on concerns about their health and wellbeing. Evidence shows that men see their GPs less than women and are more likely to wait until health problems become serious before they seek help. This year’s NMHW focus is on the use of technology in engaging men to seek advice on their health issues. Many men are reluctant users of traditional health services, such as GPs and pharmacies, and do not always respond to mainstream health awareness campaigns. However, men do respond to messages when the information is presented in formats that appeal to them. So, as enthusiastic users of wide range of new technologies (boys and their toys) – online systems, mobile phone applications, social networking, gaming - various help organisations are looking for ways to harness this interest in new technologies to develop health services, information and products that will engage men so they take action to improve their health and wellbeing. There is growing evidence that information and services provided through the internet and other technologies can be used to improve men’s health outcomes with 37% of men using the internet for health information in 2009, up from 31% in 2008, according to National Statistics data.
HEALTH & WELLBEING
Placement While Studying New Services
Helping Others Getting Recognised Retirement
Give Something Back
Into Employment Career Change
Use Spare Time
Bringing Communities Together
Meeting New People Use Your Skills
Change Your Community
Volunteer - Choose your destination. Whatever you want to do, wherever you want to go....volunteering can get you there. To book your journey visit call 0141 941 0886, text the word volunteer free on 80800 or visit www.volunteerscotland.org.uk
Focus on: Volunteering
EUROPEAN YEAR OF VOLUNTEERING: SLOVENIA
By JURE REJEC, Coordinator of the secretariat of VOLUM â€“ The Federation of Organizations Supporting the Development of Volunteerism in Romania
lovenia is a small country in the heart of Europe with only two million inhabitants. Volunteering is an important part of Slovenian consciousness, although there are quite a few challenges left for the future. European Year of Volunteering is in that sense definitely a great chance to demonstrate, exchange, improve and promote volunteering practices throughout Europe. The very beginning of the volunteering in Slovenia has started in the 19th century, particularly in the field of culture, education and economy. Shortly after Slovenian independence the Slovene Philanthropy, a non-governmental, non-profit, and non-political organization was established (1992), with the aim of developing and promoting different forms of humanitarian activities in the country. The objective of the organization is to encourage and spread volunteering and other charity work in the social field by developing programs of voluntary work, especially the voluntary work of youth and of the 28 | FOCUS SCOTLAND
elderly, by promoting volunteering through training and educating volunteers, organizers and mentors of voluntary work, raising the public awareness of the importance of volunteers and developing a network of volunteer organizations throughout Slovenia. Around 230,000 Slovenian volunteers Comprehensive research on the volunteer work that made the assessment of the extent of volunteer hours, types of work performed by volunteers and their contractors has not been carried out yet. Based on a review of partial analysis and research can be given a rough estimate of the extent of volunteer work and its contribution to the prosperity of the country. The national studies on volunteering show that the level of volunteering in Slovenia is quite low (10%-19% of adults carry out voluntary activities), but there has been a general upward trend in the number of volunteers active in country over the last ten years. Decrease is seen in scope of sports. The study Size, extent and role of the private non-profit sector in Slovenia (2004) notes in country were active between 280,000 and 350,000
Focus on: Volunteering volunteers, who have passed the 1,239,756 working hours, which represents a range of 7,125 full-time workers. On average, the volunteers performed 149 hours per month. On the other hand, s survey undertaken by Slovenian Philanthropy on voluntary organizations in the private and public sector in 2008 indicates a smaller number of volunteers. The study found a total of 182,128 of volunteers in 3,226 associations and 897 volunteers in a sample of 39 public institutions, but they performed altogether as much as 14,694,588 volunteer hours. Data in the survey of Eurobarometer (European Social Reality, 2006) shows quite a different picture - the extent of the active participation of the voluntary work in Slovenia was 35%, which is one percent higher than the average in the (by then) 25 EU countries. Who volunteer in Slovenia? In Slovenia the most active group of the population in volunteering are young people and young adults under the age of 30. Among the volunteers is dominated by employees with higher education levels. School and university students and seniors represent an important group of volunteers. A higher concentration of volunteers can be found in cities/towns with a large community of students. Sex structure of volunteers in Slovenia shows that most volunteers are male (58.7%), which can be explained by the high percentage of non-governmental organizations working in the field of sport. Women dominate among the young volunteers, accounting for 75%. Slovenian volunteers are active in volunteer work in various fields such as environmental protection, civil protection and rescue, culture, social affairs, human rights and civil liberties, education, health, tourism, sports and social responsibility. Volunteers carry out such administrative and highly professional work. Precise estimates of the contribution of voluntary work in the gross domestic product cannot be given, estimates range from 0.08% to 5%. Lack of regulatory framework Slovenia has defined a comprehensive strategy for the development of volunteering, which is scattered among different levels of regulation (national/local), sectors and departments. Because of that it is difficult to develop measures to increase its visibility and stimulating environment for faster development and to ensure stable conditions for operations of volunteer organizations. In the future, a clear determination of the role of state and local communities in the promotion, development and system support for volunteering is a necessity. In the absence of systematic monitoring and
evaluation is not possible to determine its contribution to the enhanced quality of life. Despite the long tradition, voluntary work in Slovenia is not properly regulated and implemented. Absence of regulatory framework makes undetermined rights and obligations of everyone involved in the process of voluntary work (volunteers, volunteer organizations and users of volunteer work), but that will change, because now Slovenia is in the process of developing a legal framework for volunteering.
Although a law on volunteering has been in place in Slovenia since 2004, it is interesting to note that to date, this law has not been implemented. Its major goal are to place minimum standards for volunteers and volunteer organizations, to organize and carry out volunteer work for the systematic monitoring and evaluation of volunteer work and role of the state, in part of local communities in the promotion, development and system support for volunteering. It is expected that the law in the National Assembly will be adopted in the first half of the 2011. Regarding European Year of Volunteering, Slovenian government has established National coordinating committee with representatives from ministries and five NGOs. Public services, public sector, local communities and other NGOs are also invited to participate in the implementation of the EYV. In carrying out its activities, the committee consult and cooperate with many different partners, including civil society organizations and, where appropriate, with national agencies. The work of the Committee comprehend reporting on the European level on national implementation of the EYV, participation in coordination meetings at the EU level and the preparation of the Programme of the European Year of Volunteering in Slovenia. With aim to promote volunteering in Slovenia, committee also appointed ten ambassadors of the EYV â€“ one of them is Slovenian first lady Barbara MikliÄ? TĂźrk. FOCUS SCOTLAND | 29
Focus on: social enterprise
ommunity Jobs Scotland is a new job creation programme which will provide 2000 employment opportunities for young unemployed people across Scotland. Announced in February 2011, the programme will be managed in partnership by the Scottish Government, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition (SSEC), working alongside referral bodies such as Jobcentre Plus and Skills Development Scotland. This programme represents a £10 million investment over the financial year 2011-12 from the Scottish Government in the skills and employability of Scotland’s young people. The programme is designed to build on the success of the SCVO-led Third Sector Consortium which formed in 2009 to deliver the UK Government’s Future Jobs Fund. In the period October 2009 – March 2011, the Consortium of third sector employers created 2,202 sixmonth job opportunities, primarily for young people who had been unemployed for six months or more, representing real jobs in each of the 32 Local Authorities in Scotland. The opportunities provided varied greatly, demonstrating the rich diversity of the sector. Examples of jobs created include Recycling Operatives, Web Designers, Childcare Workers and Farm Assistants. The key purpose of Community Jobs Scotland is to support young people into sustainable employment through the provision of real work experience and work-based learning. To achieve this, the Community Jobs Scotland delivery partnership has agreed to the following criteria: •
Job opportunities will be primarily for 18 – 24 year olds, and must be appropriate to the needs
30 | FOCUS SCOTLAND
of this age group. In areas of high unemployment, some opportunities will be made available for 16 – 17 year olds and those aged over 25. Eligibility will be a minimum of six months’ unemployment. All jobs must last a minimum of 26 weeks (or 39 weeks for 16 – 17 year olds). Each job must provide at least 25 hours of paid employment each week. Employees must be paid at least National Minimum Wage, although higher pay where possible and appropriate will be encouraged. Jobs must be ‘additional’, meaning they should not replace or displace any organisational staff. This also means that employees must be additional to staffing requirements for the delivery of private or public sector contracts. All jobs must generate demonstrable community benefit.
Employers will receive up to a maximum funding of £6,175 to cover the costs of recruitment, on the job training, employee wages, employer NI contributions, supervision costs and the provision of equipment and uniforms where appropriate. Employers are also required to work with the SSEC to access an additional £750 of ESF employability support and training for their employee. This ESF funding is being provided through the SCVO-led ESF Priority 5 project. The original Third Sector Consortium of 214 employers has now grown to over 400 organisations who have expressed an interest in delivering Community Jobs Scotland. The first jobs are due to commence in early August 2011. If you would like more information, or want to create a Community Jobs Scotland job, please contact Susan Maxwell on (0141) 5595029 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Practical DIY Volunteer
Rolling out the red carpet for volunteers throughout Scotland If you would like to be a star in your community visit www.volunteerscotland.org .uk contact us on 0141 941 0886 or text Volunteer to 80800
A WORLDWIDE ISSUE Michelle Winthrop of DfID on climate change
limate change is a much used phrase but how much do we really understand about it? Michelle Winthrop has worked for DfID (Department for International Development) for 12 years, for much of the time as a Rural Livelihoods Adviser and now as a Climate Change Adviser, and took some time from her schedule to answer some of our questions. Q: What sparked your interest in Climate change? Most of my working life I’ve focused on working with people who rely on the land and other natural resources. In the last few years it has become really obvious that poor people who rely on natural resources for their livelihood are amongst the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change – water scarcity, ecosystem issues, uncertainty around temperatures . This obviously has an impact on the challenge of international development, but was especially clear to those of us working on natural resource issues. So, 6 months ago I applied for this position specifically focussed on climate change adaptation . The whole international development community is working on climate change to some extent , but my job happens to be right at the heart of the action at the moment. Q: Climate change seems to be a feature of many agendas. What do you think DfID’s work brings to the subject that it is unique? We (DfID) are the UK government department with responsibility for poverty reduction. We have been working in the poorest countries for a long time, giving us strong connections, understanding of context and important relationships. There are other parts of the Government working internationally on climate change (eg the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Dept of Energy and Climate Change, etc) but our mandate focuses us on the poorest countries. There is good evidence that people in these countries are struggling the most with climate variability, and are at real risk of seeing their livelihoods disappear altogether in the coming years. So supporting them to adapt to the threats that they face is essential if we’re to achieve the goal of reducing poverty- otherwise the progress we’ve made already may go into reverse. But aside from supporting the poorest to adapt, we need to adjust the whole development model. For many years the mantra has been that growth is the most effective way to reduce poverty – climate change forces us to think about sustainable, low carbon pathways of growth . We’re doing a lot of thinking around that , but there are FOCUS SCOTLAND | 33
Focus: interview a lot of visionaries out there, thinking about renewable energy and horizon scanning for the future. as well as helping countries how to adapt to the future. There are some tricky tradeoffs on the low carbon front- we need to talk to big influential countries like India, China and Brazil and understand their plans for growth and energy use. But we still must support smaller countries that don’t emit much, but have significant numbers of poor people, such as Rwanda and Guyana. These countries might be small, but their growth patterns will cumulatively affect overall emissions in 50 years time. Q: The challenge of climate change seems so immense can small changes really make a difference? They can actually. People are sometimes cynical when they hear messages about putting on a jumper, turning down the heating, take a train instead of flying . It might seem pointless to the individual to take action but if everyone in the UK were to make those small changes it would make an immense difference to emissions – there are a lot of us around. The website Act on CO2 (www.actonco2.direct.gov. uk) has a carbon calculator that’s actually quite fun- it allows you to examine different aspects of your life by asking some questions about your circumstances , and then proposes tangible actions you could take. Most people accept that climate change is a reality- the real challenge is to influence the people who are consuming loads without making those linkages. Q: What role do you see for civic society and NGO’s in moving forward the climate change agenda? Massive. Climate change is by definition a local challenge – it is directly linked to individuals and their behaviour. People and small businesses, faith groups, credit unions and other groups need to be the ones driving the response to the challenge. Civil society has to have a role to play in organising, channelling information and channelling funding. UK NGO’s have done some great work, particularly on adaptation - there’s some real innovation happening there. In a lot of the places where we work, while the national government may have capacity, local government does not, meaning civil society has taken a strong effective lead. Civil society has been especially effective in combating deforestation, for example in Central America, and Brazil. Q: Can climate change have any positive impacts? In the short term you could say possibly yes. In certain part of Africa, for example, rainfall is projected to increase in the medium term- that may help crop production in areas. More broadly, if you are fundamentally rethinking how growth happens 34 | FOCUS SCOTLAND
then there may be opportunities to eliminate long entrenched patterns of inequality. For example there is a project in Bangladesh where we’ve trained and provided seed capital to women’s groups to sell solar panels, whereas in the past they would have involved in low value type income generation. However, we mustn’t underestimate the threats- all the work on climate change currently assumes that we are looking at a 2 degree increase in temperature . But it could be as high as 3 or even 4 degrees. Scientists cannot be 100% sure that projected increases in temperature, glacial melt, sea-level rise, etc is as bad as it will get. There’s a real chance it could be a lot worse that we think, and a lot of uncertainty about what that will mean for our lives. So the emissions really do need to come down. Q: Is there are any role for volunteering? We have always been strong supporters of the principle of volunteering and we work with VSO who are an influential and strong partner in the field. More recently, we have launched a new venture, the International Citizens Service. It is a scheme that allows people between 18 and 22 to do 3 months volunteering in a developing country. By exposing them to real grassroots development they will gain skills and will have a better understanding of how inter-linked the world is, and how we can make a difference here in the UK. Volunteers can be supported by the scheme, but any volunteer who has the means to do so may be asked to make some contribution. There are also openings for older people to come along as team leaders. Schemes such as this help to broaden opportunities in international development to people who might not have normally thought about getting involved. But they also put a human face onto development – making issues more real for people. For more information, see http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Get-Involved/Volunteering/ International-Citizen-Service/. Q: If there was one key message you could send out what would it be? I suppose the one thing I would say is think about the world that our kids and grandchildren will inherit from us. I have a two year old and I often think about the world will look like when he is an adult, perhaps himself trying to support a family. His generation will only inherit one world , and we have a responsibility to make sure they inherit it in one piece. There’s not much I can do to convince a climate sceptic, but most people do believe it’s happening . If those people did just stop for a minute and think about the future for their kids, they may just make those changes.
olunteers’ Week is a yearly celebration designed to shed light on the contributions that millions of people make throughout the UK and inspire others to dedicate some of their time to volunteering as well. The week also helps highlight the tremendous benefits that volunteering can have for both society and individuals. I myself am a recent university graduate having studied Social Sciences and Psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University. My time as a student opened my eyes to the intricacies of society and I quickly began to realise that some important areas of society are often supported, not by governments but, by volunteers. This realisation motivated me to try and support those who need it, I wanted to be part of something and try and make a difference. I also felt a humanitarian duty to dedicate some of my time to benefit other people; which I believe will broaden my horizons and give me some valuable life experience. Writing for this magazine is volunteer work that I felt drawn to, I enjoy writing and having the opportunity to do so while also contributing towards a just cause is rewarding in itself. Volunteers’ Week runs from 1-7 June and is supported by a wide variety of organisations and charities. Throughout the week there are a host of events such as award ceremonies and parties which thank those altruistic individuals who have regularly dedicated their time and resources to volunteering. Alongside the celebrations and gratitude, Volunteers Week acts as a podium from which the various groups and charities can promote: different volunteering roles on offer, recruitment events, taster sessions, networking and new campaigns. Volunteering can have tremendous outcomes for, not
only those in need, but for the volunteers themselves. Altruism is at the heart of volunteering, however, individual’s motivations for volunteering do not need to be entirely unselfish for them to be valid. In the current economic climate cuts are affecting many areas of society making the challenge of finding a job or starting a career more difficult than ever. Volunteering is something which many employers look favourably upon and may even deem necessary. Therefore, with the immense competitiveness in the job market, having some volunteering on your CV can give you the edge. This is not to suggest that volunteering should be used as a commodity in pursuing personal goals, volunteering is a compassionate motivation and the overarching reward for many is the knowledge that they have helped others. Volunteers’ Week provides information on how to be part of this and gives direction to those who have an urge to help but don’t know how to get involved. It also offers a fantastic opportunity to meet like minded people, share ideas and make contacts. It is more common now than ever before for people to volunteer in an area which they are pursuing a career in as it illustrates both, commitment and benevolence, a balance between pursuing personal goals and helping others. From 1-7 June the Volunteers’ Week campaign will attempt to draw out millions to take part in the movement. The celebrations give those dedicated volunteers the recognition and thanks that they deserve. It is also a fantastic opportunity for those looking for more voluntary work and for those who have never volunteered in their life. This summer we have the chance to do something different, something positive and something that can make a real difference. By Tony Connelly FOCUS SCOTLAND | 35
Focus on: society
EUROPE FOR CITIZENS T
win towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities and in some cases counties who are in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties. The European Union’s Europe for Citizens programme’s aim is to give the citizen an important role in the development of the European Union. The programme runs between 2007 and 2013 and it’s four action areas will provide strategic direction and funding in order to bring people closer to the European project. The aim of the project is to promote Europe’s common values and history, fostering a sense of ownership of the EU amongst the people who live within the union, developing ideas and activities with a European context are core components of the programme. Over the seven year period of the project Europe for Citizens will focus on four key actions to bring about change: ‘Active citizenship for Europe’, ‘Active civil society for Europe’, ‘Together for Europe’ and ‘Active European remembrance’. 36 | FOCUS SCOTLAND
Action 1, ‘Active citizenship for Europe’, aims to bring people from different parts of Europe together in order to promote mutual understanding, a sense of ownership of the EU and the emergence of a European identity. It focuses on town twinning, as well as citizens’ projects and support measures. In Action 1 of the programme the aim is to bring people from different parts of Europe together to promote mutual understanding as well as a sense of ownership of the European Union and the emergence of a European identity which will complement local and regional ones. Within the structure of Action 1 it supports two main types of activity: Town Twinning as well as participatory citizens’ projects. Town twinning is one of the most visible and lasting ways of bringing people from different countries together under the European banner, which is why the EU has been supporting it since 1989. Twining promotes mutual understanding, and is a conduit for cultural exchanges. EU support for Town twinning strengthens the strategic direction, as well as the European content, of such activities. One key part of
Focus on: society town twinning in the 2007-2013 programme is the idea of thematic networking. Each town co-operates with their own twinning partners, as well as with the partners of their partners. The plus point about this is that it can help them to explore a particular topic or theme, to share resources or interests, to gain influence or to face common challenges. Town twinning has long been an important mechanism for developing active European citizenship and a sense of shared identity. That is the reason why the new Europe for Citizens programme gives it a prominent position, expands its forms and activities, and allows it to develop its potential. The modern idea of town twinning in Europe was born as a grassroots initiative in the aftermath of World War II to heal the wounds of that traumatic conflict. It is one of the most visible and lasting ways of bringing people from different countries together under the European banner, which is why the EU has been supporting it since 1989. Today, thousands of twinning links in Europe create a powerful and robust network of citizens who are playing an important role in constructing an evercloser Union. Twining promotes mutual understanding, and is a conduit for cultural exchanges across the social spectrum. EU support for town twinning injects a structuring effect and strengthens the strategic direction, as well as the European content, of such activities. One major advantage of town twinning is that it involves large numbers of citizens directly, driving home the benefits of EU integration at the local level and helping citizens from different Member States to create a strong feeling of belonging and of a common European identity. Citizens’ meetings are the traditional mechanisms for town-twinning exercises. The Commission supports gatherings of a wide range of citizens and citizens’ groups from twinned towns, benefiting from the partnership between municipalities to develop strong, informal and personal relations between their citizens. Town-twinning meetings can foster friendship and mutual understanding by enabling citizens to get to know people from their twinned towns and to develop personal relationships with them. These gatherings could also help people become familiar with day-to-day life in their partner towns in other countries, and encourage them to experience cultural diversity, as well as their common cultural heritage. One versatile way for local communities to make their presence felt at the European level is through
networking around a particular theme. Profiled networks allow cities, towns and villages to build common ground and to pool resources in order to influence the European agenda and to get more closely involved in the policy-shaping process. The earliest form of town twinning in Europe was between the German city of Paderborn and the French city of Le Mans in 836. Keighley in West Yorkshire had an informal ‘Sister City’ arrangement with Suresnes and Puteaux in France beginning in 1905. The first modern twinning agreement was between Keighley and Poix-du-Nord in France in 1920 following the end of World War I The practice of twinning continued after World War II as a way to bring the European people into a closer understanding of each other and to promote cross border projects that were mutually beneficial. Coventry was twinned with Stalingrad (now Volgograd) and later Dresden as an act of peace and reconciliation and with a common theme, they were all heavily bombed during the war. Many German cities still are twinned with other German cities. The partnerships were established in the last years of former East Germany examples of these partnerships of Hanover and Leipzig where both have important trade fair grounds.
SCOTTISH CONTEXT Many Scottish towns are twinned with other towns throughout the world, a few examples of these are: Aberdeen
Stavanger, Norway (1990)
Aalborg, Denmark (1964);
Rostov on Don, Russia;
Klaksvík, Faroe Islands
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Focus on: opinion
By John Hughes of Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
ost of the provisions of the new Equality Act were implemented in the United Kingdom on the 1st October 2010. The Equality Act is designed to simplify and streamline the different strands of equalities and discrimination legislation, with a renewed emphasis on protecting individuals from unfair treatment in the workplace and wider society, whilst enhancing equality of opportunity for all in the drive to create a fairer and more equal society. This new legislation combines, extends and refines a wide range of existing pieces of legislation, including disability and race. The most significant change is that the Equality Act extends the existing protected characteristics to include: • age • disability • gender reassignment • marriage and civil partnership • pregnancy and maternity • race • religion or belief • sex • sexual orientation. Combining the different strands of equalities legislation into one combined, coherent law has practical benefits: the law should now be easier for individuals, public bodies and businesses to understand and, indeed, implement. Furthermore, the legislation encourages greater openness and transparency in how employers meet their general and specific duties and, by implication, employers must be held to public 38 | FOCUS SCOTLAND
account for their actions in respect of upholding equality and diversity. In this context, by reviewing their processes and systems of governance, employers are required to provide concrete evidence of how they foster an environment which eradicates unlawful discrimination or harassment. For some, this development might appear like yet another layer of constraining bureaucratic red tape. But there are some elementary strategies for action which emanate from the new single equalities legislation; for example, employers should update their equality and diversity policies, ensure that policies and practices do not disadvantage people with disabilities and ensure that employees understand that it is unacceptable to be harassed or victimised in the workplace. The Equality Act is about increasing protection from harassment or victimisation on the basis of any of the protected characteristics detailed above. The success of the Equality Act will be dependent upon the translation of the abstract principles of the legislation into concrete actions in the workplace and wider society. Ultimately, equality is about breaking down barriers, eliminating discrimination and ensuring equal access and opportunities. Achieving equality of opportunity is dependent upon recognising diversity, celebrating differences, both visible and invisible aspects, and valuing and harnessing individual potential. The Equality Act should serve as a legal, political and practical reminder to us all that in democratic societies, equality is and should be, a given, not a choice.
Rolling out the red carpet for volunteers throughout Scotland If you would like to be a star in your community visit www.volunteerscotland.org .uk contact us on 0141 941 0886 or text Volunteer to 80800