Volunteering Handbook

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Volunteering Handbook

Spinal Injuries Scotland supports people across Scotland from all backgrounds to develop and use their Spinal Injuries Scotland supports people across Scotland from all backgrounds to develop and use their valuable skills. valuable skills. Our team is supported by over 70 volunteers who are united in our mission. This Our team is supported by over 70 volunteers who are united in our mission. This information is designed to give an overview of the volunteer opportunities we offer and how our information is designed to give an overview of the volunteer opportunities we offer and how our volunteers play a vital role in the work that we do. Here you will find information about your induction volunteers play a vital role in the work that we do. Here you will find information about your induction and training process, important policies and procedures, useful contacts and other essential information and training process, important policies and procedures, useful contacts and other essential information to get you started on your volunteer journey with us. to get you started on your volunteer journey with us.

Welcome to Spinal Injuries Scotland

Dear Volunteer,

Spinal Injuries Scotland (SIS) is the national voluntary organisation concerned with helping new and long-term spinal cord injured people, their relatives, and friends, along with those involved in the management, care and rehabilitation to see the possibilities of living life beyond the injury.

Our Charitable aim is “the advancement of health”.

With over 60 years of experience, we deliver a nationwide, membership focused service, which is delivered through programmes and projects designed to meet the needs of our members. Having a spinal cord injury (SCI) is a traumatic and life changing event. The process of rehabilitation can be both a physical and an emotional challenge.

The challenges we have faced over the past few years have seen us adapt and develop the delivery of our services but we can only continue to grow with the support of our volunteers.

Our appreciation goes to all our volunteers, whether new or long-standing, for their continuing efforts in supporting people living with a spinal cord injury.

We hope you find this Volunteering Handbook useful and that it provides you with the insight and knowledge you will need to join us.

From all at Spinal Injuries Scotland

Backing you for life!

What We Offer

Volunteers are vital to Spinal Injuries Scotland (SIS). Volunteers are integrated into the structure and operations of the charity and contribute strongly towards our aims and objectives.

Our Volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and have a range of skills. Our opportunities are flexible, you can give a few hours or a few years of your time. Whatever way you choose to get involved, we can guarantee you will have an impact on our work and the lives of our members.

Our Vision

‘Act as an agent of positive change for all spinal cord injured people’

Our Mission

Our mission statement specifies the areas where we aim to improve the environment with and for people with spinal cord injury:

“Backing you for life, removing barriers and promoting equality of choice, control, dignity and freedom for our SCI community in all areas of life in all parts of Scotland”.

Our Values

We will use our enthusiasm, energy and resources to encourage our members to concentrate on the future and support them to achieve their goals.

We are committed to tackling exclusion by promoting understanding and inclusion on behalf of our members.

We will promote respect and integrity for our members through our plans, words and actions.

Flexible Impactful Connected Balanced Enjoyable
Backing you for life!
A quality volunteer experience is... Time well spent Inclusive Voluntary Meaningful

Volunteering Roles with Spinal Injuries Scotland (SIS)

There are several different ways in which you can contribute as a volunteer to our charity. Our Roles can be best described as Peer Support Volunteer, Social Volunteer or a Fundraising Hero.

If you struggle to get out, you could volunteer from home; maybe hold an afternoon tea party or coffee morning with your friends. Everybody loves a piece of cake, and our nation is famous for elevenses and afternoon tea. Get quizzical. Host an online quiz and invite participants to donate or maybe have a virtual bingo night!

Many of our volunteers carry out more than one role in any given year but you are free to choose the one(s) which best meet your needs, skills, and availability. Certain roles require PVG (known as Disclosure/Police Check).

“After breaking my neck, I spent 15 months in the spinal unit. During that time the peer support volunteers from Spinal Injuries Scotland helped myself and my family come to terms with how life was going to change for us all. I wanted to volunteer and do whatever I could to offer that support to others in the same situation.

I’ve loved my time providing peer support as it gives me a sense of purpose while paying back some of the help that was so appreciated when I was recovering. Spending time talking to patients after they have had a spinal injury has helped to rebuild my confidence and I find talking about my own experience is a great way for me to continue living the best life I can” .

Steven, Irvine C2/C3 Complete

Here are quotes from some of our current volunteers on why they decided to get involved:

“After my injury I had a lot of questions for SIS volunteers that would come to the spinal unit. There wasn’t an aspect of living with a spinal cord injury you couldn’t quiz them on or just have a wee vent to. So when I was asked to be a volunteer it was a definite yes, I thought it was a pretty good way to pay back the kindness and conversation that was shown to me.

Volunteering gave me a boost to further my skills & network with others. I’ve met some incredible people & made some long lasting friendships along the way so far.”

Keira, Dunoon, L2/L3 , Complete

“I had a car accident when I was 16 and I spent a number of years not really knowing what I wanted to do with my life.

I went onto college and further education, then I was asked about volunteering with SIS. It brought a sense of purpose I didn’t know I was missing. I then had an opportunity to become a member of staff and I haven’t looked back since. I honestly feel it was the making of me.”

Laura, Glasgow T6/7 Complete

you for life!

Peer Support Volunteer

Our Peer Support Volunteers all have a SCI and are inspiring, living their lives to the full, providing critical support for people who have sustained a catastrophic spinal cord injury. In the National Spinal Unit this one-to-one peer support is crucial to the patients on the ward to support their families and friends to help come to terms with a life changing injury. As well as taking part in rehabilitation and educational sessions we also offer assistive technology support.

This service is primarily based at the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit (QENSIU), but there are also outpatient clinics in Inverness, Aberdeen, Arbroath, Huntly, Glasgow, Dumfries & Galloway, and the Borders.

As an extension of these services, we offer 1-2-1 sessions and support to members in their local communities after discharge. These help them to gain confidence improve their ability to overcome physical barriers in their area and support those who may have become isolated due to lack of confidence.

We offer full training to volunteers before and during induction. They will be encouraged to attend other events as part of their training. There are various volunteering opportunities throughout Scotland, and you will have the opportunity to take part in focus groups sharing personal experiences of living with a Spinal Cord Injury.

Backing you for life!

Social Volunteer

We believe peer support can take place at any time whether it be at a coffee meeting or at other activities in an inviting and relaxing environment. At the coffee meets we also incorporate activities to allow people to try something new, perhaps take up a new sport or hobby or simply relax, watch, and be entertained from the side-lines whilst enjoying some refreshments and snacks. Our social media and website is updated regularly with more details.

We rely on volunteers from different locations across Scotland to attend our events whether you have a spinal cord injury or not, to engage in conversation and share stories and information as well as practical and physical support for those that need it.

We have a fun, fantastic and inclusive water sports programme available to our members free of charge with dates available throughout the year as well as our annual summer BBQ all held at Castle Semple in Lochwinnoch. Our members, as well as the SIS team of staff and volunteers all attend this fun filled day making use of the hand bikes, sail boats, kayaks and even an accessible power boat for the thrill seekers.

Backing you for life!

Fundraising Heroes

Spinal Injuries Scotland is a non-profit organisation and the continued support from our volunteers, and their success from fundraising events, allows us to provide vital services to our members with spinal cord injuries throughout Scotland.

Here are some photos of volunteering opportunities we have.

“Being a volunteer allowed me to give back to my community an make a positive difference in the lives of others. It's truly fulfilling be part of such a supportive network and to witness the transformation and growth that occurs when people come together to help one another.

As a volunteer, I feel privileged to contribute my time and skills to meaningful causes, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be inspired by the incredible individuals I meet along the way.”

Sharon, Volunteer, Glasgow

Without fundraising support, the charity would not be here today.

Backing you for life!

Getting Started

Welcome to the team! We want to make sure you have everything you need to get started, we provide you with an induction and continual access to useful materials and information. Your staff contact will usually be the Coordinator, or the staff member who manages the area of work in which you currently volunteer for.


SIS welcomes and respects the breadth of experience, skills, dedication and goodwill that volunteers bring. We have a few different types of volunteering roles within the charity and we will require you to complete a volunteer application form and meet with the Operations Manager for an informal interview to ensure that you are suitable for the role in question. We will base our selection on the ability of each applicant to fulfil the role, considering any effect volunteers may have on the safety of all parties and our charity’s reputation. Our volunteers will complete a PVG (formerly known as a Disclosure/ Police Check), reference check and attend bespoke training prior to commencing their role with SIS. Volunteers will sign a Volunteer Agreement on completion of all training and after meeting the required PVG and reference checks.

Equal Opportunities and Diversity

You will be volunteering in an organisation that is committed to equal opportunities and diversity. This commitment is reflected through the charity’s policies and practices.

Responsibilities and Expectations

We want you to enjoy volunteering with us and we take our responsibilities toward you very seriously. As a SIS volunteer, you will also be a representative of the charity and as such we ask you to act appropriately.


In most cases you will need to be over 16 years of age to volunteer independently. Under 18’s will be asked for parental consent and we do not have an upper age limit for volunteers. There may be situations that require us to ask someone to stop volunteering, for example if health issues are considered a risk to the person concerned or others around them.


Volunteers may request reimbursement of reasonable out of pocket expenses, such as travel costs and refreshment. If devoting a full day to the charity, a sandwich lunch or equivalent may be provided. Payment of reasonable expenses must be authorised by your Coordinator in advance and receipts or tickets will be required at the end of the month. All expenses will be paid by BACS transfer by our finance department at the beginning of each month for the previous month unless under £10 which will be paid by your Coordinator.

Training and Development

You will have access to training and information to help you successfully carry out your volunteering role. You will be offered an appropriate induction, including information about the volunteering environment and any equipment you may be using in your role. If you choose to take on an additional or alternate role or activity as a volunteer, your Volunteer Coordinator will be happy to help you widen or develop your skills and knowledge accordingly.

Using Your Own Vehicle

SIS does not provide motor insurance for you as a volunteer. We recommend that you check with your insurer, but there should not be any additional cost. If we have agreed to reimburse your expenses for travelling in your own vehicle, we use the government standard mileage rate, which includes an allowance for insurance as well as fuel, maintenance, tax, etc.

Resolving Concerns

If you have any problems or complaints about your volunteering, please talk to your Peer Support Lead immediately.

The charity takes the concerns of the volunteers very seriously and will make every reasonable effort to resolve any difficulties.

Backing you for life!

Spinal Injuries Scotland’s Responsibilities:

To offer equal opportunities to everyone who wants to volunteer

To match your skills and experiences with the right role for you wherever possible, listening to your motivations and aspirations

To offer appropriate training and support for your role

To celebrate success and recognise loyalty and dedication encouraging two-way communication

To respect all our volunteers and listen to what you have to say

To reimburse agreed out of pocket expenses

To make necessary arrangements to ensure your health, safety and welfare as a volunteer

To encourage a positive and friendly atmosphere

To provide access to trained members of staff, to support, guide and advise you

To aim for high standards of efficiency, reliability and quality in your volunteering

To work in partnership with other volunteers, staff and the general public

Our expectations of you as a volunteer

To aim for high standards of efficiency, reliability and quality in your volunteering

To work in partnership with other volunteers, staff and the general public

To support, respect and adhere to our organisational policies, guidelines and management decisions. Including all aspects of equal opportunities, health and safety, data protection and the use of our brand.

To always consider and protect Spinal Injuries Scotland’s good reputation in your actions and conduct

To act responsibly and within the law

To let your staff contact know first if you have any problems so that we can find a solution together

To provide information about the charity’s research work, policies and procedures

To let your staff contact know if there are changes in your personal circumstances that may affect your volunteering

To have the best possible experience by getting involved and enjoying your volunteering

Backing you for life!


Christine Dodds

Patrick Cairney

Evelyn Morrison

Joanna Martin

Linda Bamford

Steven McGhee

Michelle Moffatt

Nathan MacQueen

Dr. Elizabeth Ferris

With special thanks to: Our Trustees: info@spinalinjuriesscotland.org.uk Honorary President: HRH The Princess Royal Spinal Injuries Scotland, Fullarton Court, Unit C, 11 Drumhead Place, Glasgow G32 8EY Reg Charity Number: SCO015405 Company No: SCO091206 Registered in Scotland Backing you for life! Our Ambassadors: Lucy
- Chair

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