I'm writing this in the middle of Volunteers' Week 2021. In normal times this would be a week of high activity, getting out and about, meeting with groups, thanking volunteers, drinking tea, possibly dressing up as something from an ancient TV show. Obviously things have changed a lot in the last fifteen months and this year all our thanking has been done online. Here at VASLan we've spent the week cheering for volunteering, and as well as our own cheers, we've been sharing the cheers of a variety of organisations who also wanted to let their volunteers know they're appreciated. You can check out all the cheers here!
As the country entered lockdown in March 2020, a huge number of people signed up to volunteer, often for first time, as, ironically many volunteer involving organisations had to close their doors. However that didn't stop people wanting to help out, and everywhere new mutual aid groups sprung up, with hundreds of people collecting prescriptions, doing the shopping, taking meals for people who were suddenly unable to leave their houses due to shielding. In Lanarkshire we have been privileged to witness the successes of these groups, and the way they have evolved and grown as the situation has changed, bringing together whole communities in a time of crisis.
However, whilst green health has become a part of many more people's lives during Covid, with daily walks, planting seeds and outdoor get-togethers, unfortunately green health volunteering has had to take a bit of a back seat for much of the last year. Finally however things are starting to take off again, and gradually organisations are advertising for new volunteers. For example High Mill in Carluke are looking for volunteers to help with a variety of gardening tasks and the Simon Community are recruiting volunteers to support staff with maintaining the outdoor spaces at some of their residential sites in North Lanarkshire, as well as promoting gardening as a beneficial activity to their residents. You can check out other volunteering opportunities on the Volunteer Scotland portal, or get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Perhaps you are already a volunteer and are taking a few minutes this Volunteers' Week to have a sit down and put your feet up. You deserve it. While you are at it, you could watch our latest video which is a guide to making your own herbal bath salts using ingredients that you have foraged as well as things already in your kitchen cupboard. Then when you're done, you can have a good soak! Happy Volunteers' Week!