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Caithness News Bulletins February 2005

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Volunteering In Caithness   Volunteering Highland In Caithness for Opportunities
Maureen MacMillan MSP Congratulates Community Service Volunteers
1,640 years of full-time 'gap-year' volunteering showcased to Scottish Ministers and MSPs

The impact of full-time volunteers on public services and on the lives of the people they support is being showcased to MSPs and Ministers at the Scottish Parliament today Wednesday 23rd February.

It comes with the publication of a report by CSV, the UK's largest volunteering and training charity, that demonstrates how an army of full time volunteers support homeless young people, young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties, and people with learning and physical disabilities.

1,500 young Scots have volunteered the equivalent of 1,640 years of their time on placements all over the UK over the last ten years. This year alone, full-time volunteers on CSV placements in Scotland will contribute the equivalent of 16 years of their time.

CSV's report reveals that 76% of full-time volunteers feel the experience offers a chance to experience independence, with 71% indicating that volunteering gave them a chance to mature. 90% of CSV full-time volunteers indicate that they would like to carry on volunteering in the future. The report also shows that the majority of its volunteers are aged between 18 and 34 years old with a two-thirds (65%) take-up of opportunities by women and a further third (35%) by men.

The report is being launched at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 23rd February at the invitation of Maureen Macmillan MSP who has two children who have volunteered full-time with CSV.

Maureen Macmillan, MSP for Highlands and Islands, has put down a motion in the Scottish Parliament congratulating the CSV initiative. She said " I am very pleased to support CSV in encouraging young people to volunteer in their gap year. My son and daughter both did so, my son after he had done his degree, my daughter between school and university. What they did was full time hard work, one with homeless people, the other with a lady who was disabled. It was very worthwhile and was needed by the people they supported but it also did my children a great deal of good too. It opened their eyes to some of the realities of life, it strengthened their characters and matured them. I would not hesitate to encourage other young people to take up the challenge. I'm sure they won't regret it. "

CSV volunteers work with a variety of groups and individuals including young people at Quarriers, a supported living project in North Ayrshire. Many of the young people are particularly vulnerable and have difficulties in forming and sustaining relationships.

Speaking about three recently recruited volunteers, Ian Hughes, Service Manager at Quarriers said: " CSV volunteers bring something unique to the field of social care.and have contributed significantly to our work. There is little doubt that the volunteers are on a steep learning curve given the difficulties associated with working with young people who are often difficult to motivate and suffer from low self-esteem."

Claire Reid, from Fife, and now studying at the University of Glasgow, gave her time to support a final year student with cerebral palsy in Coventry. Claire said: "I get a sense of achievement from having done something unselfish. The skills I have learnt - such as effective communication and team work - will be useful for any kind of career."

Claire Stevens, Director of CSV in Scotland, said: "CSV was the first to pioneer full-time volunteering for young people and forty years on we are still the experts and biggest provider of such opportunities. Young people have long recognised the enormous benefits to be gained by undertaking a sustained period of voluntary service and we are delighted that government is now waking up to the value of it both to volunteers and the communities in which they serve. Thanks to a Scottish Executive grant of nearly million, CSV will be able to offer even more young people the chance to volunteer, particularly young people who may need extra encouragement and support to get involved because of learning difficulties, rural isolation or other challenges. "

The event at the Scottish Parliament will also reward the work of CSV volunteers. Six awards will be presented in categories that will include the best volunteer in a supporting role, the most innovative project for working with volunteers and an award for life time achievement.

CSV (Community Service Volunteers) is the UK's leading volunteer organisation and creates opportunities for people to take an active part in the life of their community through volunteering, training and community action. Each year 164,000 people give 4.1 million hours of their time as volunteers. More than 2000 people volunteer through CSV's full-time volunteering programme every year including 150 young Scots.

CSV offers full-time volunteering opportunities to people over 16 years of age who commit to between 4-12 months on community projects. They receive free accommodation, food and travel expenses, plus a weekly living allowance. Further information on how to volunteer full-time is available on 0800 374991 or www.csv.org.uk

See Also
Volunteering In The UK

Voluntary & Community Web Sites
Voluntary Sector Information
Voluntary Sector & Non Profits in the USA
Voluntary Sector & Non Profits - Worldwide
World Wide Volunteering Opportunities