Volunteering: everyone benefits

East Lothian has the third highest number of volunteers of all the counties in Scotland. That means more than one in three of you volunteer your time, making you some of most generous and philanthropic people in the country.

We discovered this statistic in our preparations for Volunteers Week 2017, which will run from 1-8 June.

I’ve talked before about how important Leuchie House’s award-winning volunteers are to the running of our charity. Quite simply we wouldn’t be able to operate without them. Last year they worked over 4,000 hours for us, taking part in just about everything that we do - assisting guests at meal times, office work, fundraising, helping with guest activities and outings, gardening, decorating and much more. They bring so many different skills and perspectives that enhance our service in numerous ways.

One of the many positives about volunteering is that everyone benefits. As we prepare to highlight volunteering opportunities at Leuchie during Volunteers Week, it was important to us to find out from our current volunteers what they get out of it.  A quick survey revealed some fascinating insights into what motivates our volunteers to give up their time.

Those in S5 and S6 at school talked about building their self-confidence and social skills, as well as giving themselves an edge in higher education and job applications. For students, it provides invaluable work experience to supplement their academic learning. For women temporarily out-of-the-workforce bringing up children, it gives them an opportunity to refresh their skills and learn new ones before tackling the job market.  Working people told us that volunteering at Leuchie gives them a reality check and a different lens through which to view the stresses of their working lives. Our retired volunteers said it keeps them connected and introduces them to lots of interesting people. All of them talked about the personal satisfaction it gives them.

So if you are not yet part of the 38% of East Lothian people who volunteer, there’s no better time. Whatever your skills, and however much time you have to spare, there’s sure to be a role at Leuchie you’ll find rewarding. We’d love to hear from you!

Mairi O'Keefe, CEO, Leuchie House. Published in The East Lothian Courier, 25 May 2017

To find out more about volunteering opportunities at Leuchie House, please contact Nicole Turner: email nturner@leuchiehouse.org.uk or phone 01620 892864.