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VANL holds a database containing hundreds of volunteering opportunities in North Lanarkshire. You can view current volunteering opportunities on this database by visiting www.volunteerscotland.org.uk
Remember, you can ask one of VANL's volunteer development advisers about any of the areas of volunteering that are highlighted by calling 01698 358866.
Several volunteering groups throughout North Lanarkshire are under-staffed and often look for extra support to help with administrative and office duties. These might include answering the telephone, greeting customers, assisting with filing, working computers, handling incoming and outgoing mail, etc. This type of volunteering can be particularly useful for people looking to gain office or administrative experience, or those who have had office experience in the past and want to give time to a relevant volunteering cause in their community.
There are a few excellent opportunities in this area that involve giving advice or information to members of the public, often to elderly or vulnerable citizens. Organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau have opportunities for volunteers to advise the public on issues such as benefits, debt, employment, law, housing and other relevant issues. Full training is provided for people who are interested in these types of opportunities. There are many other organisations that involve giving advice to excluded groups such as people with a disability, elderly people, etc.
Working with animals is a popular area of volunteering and hence sometimes difficult to find regular placements in. Opportunities include things like taking a sick or abused animal into your home for caring, working hands on with animals at local zoo’s or country parks that have enclosures for animals, and helping out with organisations are involved with animal rescue. You can also help animals by fundraising for animal charities, such as the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, who have charity shops in North Lanarkshire.
Opportunities exist within North Lanarkshire to advocate on behalf of vulnerable or excluded groups, such as people who suffer from physical or learning disabilities, sufferers of mental health difficulties, the elderly, or some other group. Organisations such as North Lanarkshire Disability Forum, for example, advocate on behalf of their disabled client group. People who become involved in advocacy are often involved in several volunteering groups within their community.
There are several local art, music and drama groups based throughout the communities of North Lanarkshire, many of whom use volunteers to help run their service. This might involve assisting or supervising participants in an arts of crafts class, or helping out at an organisation with a bigger remit of promoting arts in the area. One such group is North Lanarkshire Arts Association, who recruit volunteers to help organise arts exhibitions, music festivals and other arts events in the area.
Befriending or mentoring another individual can be one of the most rewarding volunteering opportunities available. Opportunities in befriending / mentoring exist in different capacities. Examples of available opportunities in this area include ‘buddying’ a child who has came from an underprivileged background, befriending an elderly person, or mentoring a young adult seeking employment. Groups like Community Service Volunteers often look for volunteers to befriend children referred from the Social Work department. Full training is usually provided to people who want to volunteer in this setting.
There is a wide range of volunteering opportunities in caring settings available in North Lanarkshire. These include supporting and/or caring for individuals or groups of people who suffer from a physical or learning disability, mental health difficult or sensory impairment. There are a variety of different settings in which this type of volunteering can take place, including helping out at local day care centres, volunteering in a hospice, hospital or other health setting, or through providing respite care through day trips or short breaks. With competition for employment in the caring sector so high, many people find volunteering a good route to gain skills and experience in this field.
Volunteering opportunities in catering mostly come in the form of local lunch clubs, or with local voluntary services like WRVS Meals of Wheels. Additionally, opportunities exist to help out with catering at local church groups, or by providing meals to homeless persons through soup kitchens run by the Salvation Army, or at lunch clubs for the elderly. VANL also provides REHIS Elementary Food Hygiene training for volunteers working in a catering setting.
Charity shops throughout North Lanarkshire constantly look for volunteers to give some time to help out with shop tasks such as serving customers, operating a till and handling money, organising the shop display, and helping out with sorting in the stockroom. National charities such as Oxfam, British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK have shops throughout North Lanarkshire.
Volunteering with children or young people can be positions of high responsibility, but can also be some of the most satisfying. Opportunities available include helping out at a local playscheme or after school care service, where duties may involve supervising children, co-ordinating activities and helping organise day trips. There are also several parent-toddler groups in the area that seek the help of volunteers, often in conjunction with a local school or church. You can also work with young people through organisations like the YMCA, or by becoming a helper at another youth club or group in your area.
There are many voluntary groups that have volunteers sitting on their committee or Board of Directors. Being involved with a committee may involved attending meetings to help shape the direction of a particular volunteering cause, or helping a particular group work towards that cause. This may involve tasks such as minute taking, or helping organise volunteer activities, etc. This can be a very responsible and rewarding type of volunteering.
Several of the administrative or office volunteering opportunities available may already involve working with computers, but there are also specific computing opportunities available including helping a local voluntary group set up a website or other computing systems. Some of this kind of volunteering may be performed at home. Online volunteering can also come in the form of helping other organisations write newsletters or websites.
If you like working outdoors, this could be the kind of volunteering opportunity for you. Volunteering opportunities exist in helping with conservation, environmental and gardening work, including helping clear footpaths, dead wood, ponds, etc. These opportunities are available to help maintain local areas of natural beauty, such as at Drumpellier Country Park, Palacerigg Country Park, and Strathclyde Park. Other opportunities include helping with gardening and clearing local cycle paths.
Many people give time to volunteering in a counselling setting to increase their chances of gaining entry into a further education programme, or of gaining employment in this competitive field. Opportunities exist to give advice and counselling support, both face-to-face and over the telephone, to people who have suffered domestic or child abuse through organisations like Childline. You can also become involved in with the Samaritans, where you can talk people through their problems.
Most opportunities centring on crime or safety involve either helping put in place preventative measures against crime, or helping people who have been the victims of crime. There are also a few neighbourhood watch schemes that have been set up and are run by volunteers in North Lanarkshire. Opportunities are also available to help support the victims of crime through organisations like Victim Support North Lanarkshire.
Sadly, there is generally always a need to supply disaster or emergency relief to other countries less fortunate that ourselves. Many national charities look for people to help stack boxes of emergency aid going out to parts of Africa and other disaster-hit areas in the world. Organisations like Clann Sona are involved with supplying emergency aid to orphans in Romania and Eastern Europe. Some extremely committed volunteers travel to these stricken areas helping deliver this aid.
If you run your own transport, or have experience of driving a minibus, then volunteer driving or escorting could be for you. Volunteer driving often involves taking clients or volunteers of volunteer-engaging groups to appointments or to their voluntary placement. For individual driving jobs like this, volunteers are often expected to have their own transport and receive an expense allowance for petrol. VANL runs a Volunteer Drivers Service. Minibus driving opportunities are also occasionally available, often through local schools or youth clubs.
If you have a particular interest in helping people who have addiction problems with drugs or alcohol, or are looking to gain experience in this area, a few volunteering opportunities are accessible in North Lanarkshire in this area.
Volunteering in an educational setting through volunteer tutoring or supporting core-skills learners is one of the most exciting and developmental opportunities available in North Lanarkshire. Things you can get involved with include helping adults improve their reading, writing and number skills, often on a one-to-one basis but sometimes in a group setting. The Adult Literacy and Numeracy Partnership in North Lanarkshire provides an excellent avenue for volunteering in this capacity.
Opportunities to work in a financial setting are available through community groups like Credit Unions, who use volunteers to help set up community bank accounts for local residents. Credit Unions provide a service of great value to many residents in the local area they serve, and there is often a great deal of responsibility placed upon volunteers who help out at these types of organisations.
Several national and local charities look for volunteers to contribute their time to help raise funds for a particular cause. Examples include being sponsored to do something for charity, or collecting money through local community events or something like this. National charities like Comic Relief and Children in Need heavily rely of fundraising, as does St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie.
Working with sufferers of mental health difficulties or brain injuries can be quite challenging, and often require patience, but can also be very rewarding for people who have a keen interest in this area. There are organisations in North Lanarkshire that specialise in helping people with mental health issues or brain injuries, such as Lanarkshire Association for Mental Health. Volunteers are often used to befriend people who suffer from these difficulties or to help co-ordinate activities with them, etc. For those who have good experience in working with this client group, opportunities exist to advocate on behalf of mental health clients.
Overseas and residential volunteering involves a great deal of commitment, but can provide some of the biggest challenges and most enjoyable experiences of a person’s life. Volunteering exchanges are available in hundreds of countries across the world, doing a variety of tasks, often to help needy groups of communities in particular regions. For more information, please contact VANL.
If one of your main passions is sport, then plenty of opportunities exist to get involved in helping people take part in sport and outdoor activities in your community. Many local football, athletics and other sports clubs or groups have dedicated volunteers as their coaches, and there are always openings for new volunteers to get involved in this area. You can also become involved in supporting disabled people in sporting activities through groups like Cumbernauld Venture Sports.
VANL can give you information and advice about any other areas of volunteering work that you might be interested in taking part in.
If there is a particular area of volunteering work that you are interested in but cannot find information about, please contact Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire on 01698 358866 for advice and guidance.