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Category Archives: Volunteering

Commonwealth Reflections…

A Blog Post by Nigel Royle – UWS Careers Adviser

The events have been staged, medals awarded, and the celebrations are over but memories of the Glasgow commonwealth games this summer live on in the volunteers minds as we reflect on those eleven amazing days. The volunteers of Glasgow 2014 can proudly say that WE WERE THERE.

From the time the games were awarded to Glasgow, UWS staff and students took an active interest in supporting the games for example through the student led LEAD 2014 programme involving students and school pupils from all over Scotland, a two year staff secondment to the Games organising committee, and significant academic research around major sporting games.

From several UWS students’ perspective, their involvement in the pre-games volunteer programme was transformative. UWS students Royce Thomas and Taylor Sexton had similar games journeys both starting as “Frontrunner” volunteers leading up to the games meaning they were in prime position to gain full time paid roles when they came up. They both played key roles in the volunteer management during the games themselves.

Taylor describes how “Confidence was a big thing for me….. the support was incredible… My confidence has increased significantly and it shows when you put your mind to something and want to achieve you can!”

Similarly, Christine McKelvie, an HR student, was a volunteer interviewer and gained experience directly relevant to her studies and no doubt helpful to her future career plans.

The volunteer workforce roles varied from people working with the press, sports officials, results technology, team liaison, ceremonies cast and city hosts to name a few. The workforce represented a microcosm of the labour market where students as volunteers could develop a whole range of skills to enhance their employability.

As the games drew closer more students and staff were selected for their games time volunteer roles. Some, such as those selected for the Host Broadcaster training initiative gained skills directly relevant to their studies in television production and live sports broadcasting. Attending events and seeing some of these trainees sitting at mixing desks or directing boom mics you would have thought they were seasoned professionals. This experience will add weight to their future job applications. Others like Chris Gentles, a Business Technology student were selected as volunteer team leaders and were able to develop their leadership and organisation skills.

As a spectator services volunteers my role was known as the face of the games. Our friendly smiles and lively banter kept the crowds in buoyant mood as they queued on their way into Hampden Park or climbed the steep hill from the bus stops up towards Cathkin Braes Mountain bike park. Our training was focussed on customer service with an emphasis on equality and diversity. My motivation for this role was to welcome people to Glasgow and just to be part of an amazing event. Watching Alistair Brownlee romp home in the Triathlon and seeing Jo Pavey and Eilidh Child take their silver medals were stand out moments for me but so were many of the laughs and fun we had as a team. One of the rewards many people are still talking about is lasting friendships that formed during the games.

The eleven days went by in a whirl of activity. If I wasn’t on shift I was a ticketed spectator at an event or soaking up the atmosphere at Glasgow Green, George Square or at the BBC on Pacific Quay. Everyone I have met who played a part in making the games happen seems to have a similar story. Chris Gentles echoes the sentiments of many:

“I am able to look back on those two weeks of my life as two of the most enjoyable/challenging weeks ever!”

Volunteering has the potential to transform, providing skills and experience and bringing people together towards a common goal, and developing lasting friendships. The Commonwealth Games will not happen again in Glasgow in our lifetimes but the legacy will hopefully mean a generation of us are hooked on the experience of volunteering. In the words of one young spectator writing about the volunteers’ crucial part in the games

Through the volunteers…

“the games full spirit will live on
something a new city will be built upon”


What is Volunteering?

What is Volunteering?

•Volunteering is essentially giving your time freely to a third sector organisation
to participate in activities which benefit others
• Volunteering opportunities are unpaid where a person volunteers their time for
a charity; voluntary or fundraising organisation; statutory body; religious or
other similar charitable community; or a cadet force. Organisations out-with
these definitions are required to pay NMW
• Volunteers may get money to cover expenses (e.g. food, drink, travel or
equipment) but this is not guaranteed

Why Volunteer?

• It is a great way of gaining experience relevant to your career choice
• It allows you to network and meet new people in different organisations you
can make contacts and discover a wide range of career options
• It can increase self-confidence and allow you to develop skills (eg leadership,
self-reliance, negotiation, team-working, budget-setting and project
• You can normally decide how many hours per week or month you can commit
to volunteer
• Employers look favourably on applications from people with voluntary work
experience as it shows a healthy work-life

What’s expected of a volunteer?

• Charities and organisations need volunteers that they can rely on. Although it is
not paid work you are still entering into an agreement with them. Before you
get started you should be clear about how much time you can donate to
volunteering. If you are a full time student you should remember your workload
will vary throughout the year

• If you find an opportunity that you are interested in you should find out as
much as you can about it. Most projects will have a volunteer manager and they
should give you information about the role

• Some voluntary projects may need you on “as and when required” basis. Others
require regular involvement

• You don’t always need relevant experience to be a volunteer, training is often
provided and is a good opportunity to learn new skills

Remember to register with the UWS Volunteer Recognition Award, this is an initiative to recognise the time students give up to volunteer for the University, Students’ Association or other organisations. The scheme reward and recognises students’ voluntary activity which is undertaken in addition to their studies. For more information email:

Volunteer Opportunity – Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine

Mentoring Support for Ex-Service Men and Women and their Families
TimeBanks’ new Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine project is working in partnership with the charity Erskine, to offer one to one volunteer support for ex-Service men and women (veterans) living in Glasgow and Edinburgh who are recovering from mental health issues – and to help their families adjust to civilian life.

Volunteer mentoring can be a powerful tool to reduce the risk of social exclusion in veterans and family members, to signpost them to services and build supportive social networks; therefore strengthening the family unit as a whole.

As a volunteer mentor you will have the opportunity to meet other mentors and engage in a rewarding volunteering programme. You will help in the recovery of veterans and help their family members to lead independent lives, to identify goals and build confidence.

We ask that mentors provide support once or twice per month, over a period of three to nine months. You don’t need any special experience – just time, patience and an understanding of the issues that are most important. TimeBank provides full training and you will be required to join the PVG (Protection of Vulnerable Groups) scheme – you need to be 21 years and over to be a mentor.
If you’d like to volunteer as a mentor, you can complete our online application at:
Or call Ali, the project co-ordinator on 0141 814 4510, mob: 07437 437 867 or email

Volunteer Week – Competition Time!!!

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To Kick off Volunteers Week, 1st June – 7th June, we are giving three lucky volunteers the chance to win…. A Hudl Tablet.


All you have to do is like us on Facebook  – Volunteer Renfrewshire or follow us on Twitter @Stephen_Engage

Upload a  Selfie of you in your volunteering role with the hashtage #unselfieren.

For every selfie of you, an unselfish volunteer in Renfrewshire, posted up to Facebook or Twitter with our hashtag, will give you one entry into our prize draw at the end of the month.



BBC Learning at the Quay-Digital Learning Zone Event – Volunteer Call Out

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Volunteers needed to help out during the Commonwealth Games at :

Digital Learning Zone Event 26-30 July 2014

BBC Learning will be rolling up at BBC Pacific Quay in Glasgow for five days from Saturday 26th July to Wednesday 30th July.

Over the five days learning will deliver inspirational content for young people and families, focused around one of Learning’s key priorities – digital creativity.  The activities will draw on content created earlier in the year for the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham.  There will also be additional material created in conjunction with BBC1’s Waterloo Road based around numeracy and health.

The idea is to offer interactive, fun taster sessions based on one of the Sherlock Holme’s games as well as partner introductory coding activities.

Looking for volunteers to help out on any of the above days.  You don’t need to be an expert in technology or online stuff as we will have people available to cover this, but are looking for people who are outgoing and confident talking to the public and families.

Volunteers need to be at least 18 years of age and if possible live within reasonable travelling distance from Glasgow. (reasonable travelling expenses will be reimbursed)

If you would like to volunteer please email Catherine Garvie – with your preferred day/s where you live and a contact telephone number.


Your World….Your Challenge….

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International Citizen Service (ICS) is a UK government funded development programme that brings together 18-25 year olds to make a difference in some of the poorest communities around the world.  Led by VSO, it’s delivered in partnership with respected development organisations.  So you know you’re in good hands.

ICS volunteers spend 10-12 weeks working alongside local volunteers on community development projects in Africa, Asia or Latin America.  It’s your opportunity to gain sought after skills and experience, helping you to inspire change back in the UK.

Take on the ICS challenge.

Apply now at

For more information contact Kirsty McMahon.  Email:



Volunteering Opportunity with Citizens Advice Direct

Citizens Advice Direct (CAD) has teamed up with UWS to offer 30 undergraduate volunteering places for students.

If you choose to become a volunteer, Citizens Advice Direct can offer you:

  • In depth training in all areas of advice
  • The opportunity to be part of a friendly working environment
  • The promise that support will always be available either from your support advisor or from our up-to-date support tools network
  • The opportunity to work alongside & liaise with Senior Managers, Team Leaders, Staff and other Volunteers.

Volunteering will benefit you as a Student as Citizens Advice Direct will provide you with:

  • training on how to deal with clients, clarify issues and improve listening skills
  • an opportunity to put your academic knowledge to the test and use it in a practical sense to tackle client problems
  • on-going support, the opportunity to undertake a range of additional training and reimbursement for travel costs
  • the opportunity to gain extensive transferable skills which will enhance your employability and put you a step ahead of your peers when competing for graduate jobs.

CAD volunteers are normally expected to commit to approximately 6 hours per week for a 6 month period However, student volunteers can adapt these times to suit their academic and other work comittments e.g. 156 hours

Training starts on 1st of Feb and will run every Friday 12 – 3pm for 5 weeks to the 1st of March  

Important: By signing up to this training course and volunteering opportunity you are indicating that you will attend all 5 training sessions.

Register here:

BBC Blue Peter Olympic Tour are looking for volunteers!



Saturday 9 June at Levengrove Park, Dumbarton

Hitting the road in May 2012, the Blue Peter’s Olympic Tour is an exciting opportunity for CBBC fans to get up close and personal with one of their favourite programmes. Blue Peter and BBC Learning are producing a nine location tour taking place every Saturday for nine weeks. The tour will follow the route of the Olympic Torch Relay generating excitement about the Olympic Games along the way.

Blue Peter, presented by Barney Harwood and Helen Skelton will broadcast a 30 minute Olympic special for BBC Two & CBBC live from each location at 9am. After the show has gone live, the set will open to host up to five thousand children and their families. Different zones will include a history area, a sports report area, a sports science area and a traditional sports day area. The event will be a perfect opportunity for children and their families to learn about the sports and the athletes that make up the Olympics. We want to encourage children of all abilities to join in the sporting activities at our events, including the ‘UK Athletics’ National award scheme, the hands on exhibits from our university partners  and our fun Sports Day activities including family favourites: The egg and spoon race, the bean bag in a bucket race and the three legged race.

Join the Team

BBC Learning is looking to recruit a team of smiley, enthusiastic event volunteers, keen to help out and get stuck into the action and support the main events team.  Volunteers must be aged 18 or over. Roles on the day will involve helping in the different event areas mentioned above, including assisting the partners we have on site, such as UK Athletics and universities, working with the public at the entrance to our events, managing queues and distributing resources, answering queries from the public and maintaining and keeping the various interactive areas in order.

You may want to have a go at the activities on offer too! You will gain valuable experience helping out on a large-scale event and meet a diverse CBBC audience.


All staff helping at the event will need to be on site early in the morning for a safety briefing and be able to work all day (Exact times to be confirmed) If you are not local to the event area the team can arrange reasonable local travel arrangements for the Saturday morning.


The BBC cannot pay you to volunteer at the event, however we can reimburse you for ‘out of pocket’ expenses. This includes reasonable local travelling expenses (a return bus/tube/tram/rail fare) and lunch will be provided on the day. We cannot pay mileage or petrol. We can pay for reasonable parking expenses on production of a receipt. A valid ticket or receipt (or a photocopy of the ticket where a return ticket is needed to get home) should be presented by the volunteer to claim any expenses.

Personal Disclosure Form

Volunteers don’t need to be CRB checked but will be asked to sign a standard personal disclosure form used by the BBC.

This will be a rewarding and fun opportunity but you’ll be on your feet all day and in all weathers, so be prepared to get stuck in and keep smiling.

Contact:  or with a note of your telephone number and we will give you a call.

Voluntary Opportunities Fair – Paisley Campus 12th October 2011

Interested in volunteering? Come along to our Voluntary Opportunities Fair next Wednesday…

Click here to download the Voluntary Opportunities Fair Flyer for more information.





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