International Volunteers Day 2015

Jack Tannock
Pictured: Jack Tannock

This Saturday is International Volunteers Day – a day created by the United Nations in 1986 to celebrate volunteers around the world. I myself have been volunteering with the Scottish Refugee Council for over two years now and have gained a great deal from the experience. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone (in fact I frequently do). However, it’s not just with the Scottish Refugee Council where this experience can be found and volunteering for any organisation will almost always be a rewarding experience and a chance to expand your horizons.

But don’t just take my word for it. I asked some of our volunteers here to put it in their own words:


“I have been volunteering with Scottish Refugee Council for almost a year now and it’s a lovely place to work and full of great people doing great work.

“I got interested in finding out about the reality of the situation facing refugees and asylum seekers rather than relying on what is available in the press and so got in touch directly with the charity to see if they offered any training on this.  They suggested I come along to an upcoming volunteering open evening to see what roles they had on offer and while I was there I found the perfect volunteer role for me. It was like it was meant to be!

“I would definitely recommend that people get involved in volunteering generally - it is a great way to help support the incredible work that is going on in Scotland and you get the opportunity to learn so much, on the job and in context. Get involved – you will not regret it!”


“The Scottish Refugee council has been a great experience for me. Meeting lots of new and interesting people has been a definite highlight and they are a welcoming group of people who made me feel like part of the team.

“I got involved after I had the chance to volunteer at Refugee Festival Scotland 2015 which was abuzz with laughter and great people. I would recommend volunteering to anyone.”


“I’ve been volunteering here for three years on and off.  I started in the media and communications team working on the Stop Destitution campaign for the first nine months. Then I moved to the project-delivery side. I’ve only been free to come in once a week but it’s always rewarding when you have direct contact with people who are refugees – either new arrivals or people who have been getting Scottish Refugee Council’s support for a while – and you feel that you have been able to provide some information or advice or support to them, even for a short period of time.”

For many, voluntary work will be a temporary thing and most will go on to more formal employment. But that doesn’t mean that any of us take our voluntary work less seriously and (if and when the day comes) each of us will leave our voluntary positions all the better for the experience and with a whole host of new friends and new life skills.

For these reasons and many more besides, International Volunteers Day should be a chance for us to thank any volunteers we know, encourage others to take up volunteering and maybe even do a little volunteering ourselves. Lastly, if I could add my own little testimony, then it would be simply to say that I have loved every minute of my time volunteering here at the Scottish Refugee Council: the people are wonderful, the cause is worthwhile, and the experience is great for the future. Plus every so often, someone brings in home-made food for us to try and it’s always delicious. Free home-made food… who can say fairer than that?

International Volunteers Day is on Saturday December 5, 2015.

The Scottish Refugee Council will be looking for new volunteers in the New Year – please keep an eye on our website, Facebook or Twitter for more details.

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