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Volunteering In Caithness

Thank you for looking in on Caithness Volunteers
Caithness Voluntary Group

Tel 01955 604648   Fax 01955 606498 Tel Evening 01955 604648 Email bill@caithness.org

Looking for Funding Ideas - check out our Funding Links Page.

Virtual Volunteering Handbook
This handbook is 138 pages and is free in PDF format. 
American Virtual Volunteering Project - for ideas in this area. 
Handbooks for Voluntary Organisations - 
Four free booklets aimed at helping small voluntary organisations improve their effectiveness are available by sending a Stamped Addressed Envelope and postage to the value of 1.80.
Titles are -
A Handbook for a Small Voluntary Agency;
Juggling on a Unicycle-Organisation for a Small Voluntary Organisation Agency;
Case Studies for Small Voluntary agencies;
Funding Small Voluntary Agencies
Contact - 
Centre of civil Society
LSE
Houghton Street
London
WC2A 2AE
Tel 020 7955 7375
Check out Environment Volunteering.

 

In this section we will try to give you some information on the many volunteering opportunities available in the county.  Check out our Jobs in the Voluntary Sector page for paid employment coming soon.
Why volunteer in Caithness?
Volunteering covers extremely many areas of local life and is integral to much of the enjoyment of individuals and ensuring that many agencies carry out their work to high standards.  Much of the information on this site gives an indication of the voluntary work carried out all over Caithness and in many areas including arts, health support groups, and many committees running many of the services for the elderly, disabled and other disadvantaged groups.  The number of voluntary groups in the county and areas where people volunteer is massive in a county with a low population. 

Some information on volunteering opportunities is available through this page but bear in mind that throughout the web site there is a growing amount of information on the voluntary sector in Caithness and that any of the groups might be looking for assistance whether to deliver practical services for a group or to be part of the management committee.

Do not be put off by any feeling that you lack skills in particular areas.  the voluntary sector is not interested in your qualifications but more in your commitment and willingness to have a go.  It is often possible to acquire new skills and increase confidence to try something new.  Many of the present members of groups will be only too happy to show you the ropes and assist you in getting to know what is required.   Mainly however people who are involved get a great deal out of from what they do - A sense of putting something into the community whether  running a young football group or organising Highland Games or the local darts league.  Mainly fun is the key word but if you have a wish to learn about particular areas whether about local wildlife or walking in the county which on the face of it are hobbies or pastimes remember that a volunteer is usually organising it for their own and other people's enjoyment.

The Community Database has a large number of groups who may be looking for volunteers listed under the following headings -
Animal Welfare
Arts
Community Councils
Churches
Clubs
Health & Welfare
Sport
Uniformed Organisations
Village Halls
Youth Organisations
Are you the outdoor type on occasion then check out the Walking Section where several groups and contacts can be found. Marie Curie Cancer Care Daffodil Day
March Each Year 

For the last couple of years Caithness.org has been helping to promote one of Marie Curie's biggest fund raisers of the year.  Not only do they need donations but each year an army of volunteers go into shopping centres and streets with the small daffodils to collect money their work.  Volunteers are needed to donate a couple of hours on the day to help with the collection of donations.  We have been in Safeways and the Co-op for the last couple of years.  Check it out any time and sign up for a couple of hours.
What is a volunteer?
A volunteer is someone who helps others and their community by giving their time and expertise.
They are unpaid but the work they do has great value and can improve the quality of life for other people (young, older, disadvantaged or disabled), animals, the environment, sports and leisure and much more.
Volunteering may mean helping an older neighbour or relative fighting for a cause you believe in, or socialising with like minded people.
Who Volunteers?
Voluntary workers come from all age groups(from young people to the elderly) and different backgrounds.
Your friends and neighbours may already volunteer and could tell you about their experiences
Everyone has something to offer inthe voluntary sector
Why Volunteer?
You may want to learn new skills, make new friends or re-enter the job market.
You may have more free time on your hands because of retirement or changing circumstances.
You may believe strongly in something and want to campaign to seek change.
To have fun and make new friends.
Advice and Support
Do you have a problem youneed help with, could you use your experience to help someone else, or do you just need someone to talk to?  The following organisations and agencies are there to assist you or to volunteer in.
Alzheimers Scotland - Action on Dementia.  Provides information and support to people with dementia and their carers.
Citizens Advice Bureau for information on a wide range of subjects. Volunteers man the office and help people who come in for advice.
Highland Users Group - Caithness Section -  Wick and Thurso. Self advocacy group for people with mental illness.
Caithness Volunteer Link for advice on voluntary work and practical volunteering experiences.
Arts & Culture
If you are interested in learning a new skill or developing an existing one there are voluntary groups who will be glad to see you.  Here are a few to get you thinking.
Wick Players
Thurso Players
Children and Young People
Youth Clubs - Thurso - Wick - Halkirk
and a range of groups running from the many Village Halls around the county.
Culture and Leisure Services.
Volunteers help with most of the sports activities in Caithness. Check out the Sports Section.
Swimming Clubs
need help to supervise and coach.  If you can swim but need qualifications to learn how to teach you may be able to gain the qualifications through the swimming clubs.
Many other opportunities are available once you start looking.
Clerical
Volunteers are always required to take on clerical activites in a variety of organisations and agencies.
Community Councils
There is sometimes an opportunity to volunteer for secretary or treasurer positions in Community Councils. Most are prepared to show you what is expected and support you while you get used to the job.  To be the secretary you will have to attend the community council area in which you live.  It is an excellent way to start to find out how the local authority makes many of its decisions affecting your own locality.
Most of the groups in the Community Database have a need for varying amounts of clerical assistance but this is often combined with other work which individuals do for the various organisations.

Drivers
There are lots of activities out there for people to do, but sometimes it is not easy to get to them.  could you give a lift to someone to let them take part in social events.
Chest Heart & Stroke Service requires volunteer drivers to take members to and from the group - full details on their page.
Womens Royal Voluntary Service - Thurso and Wick require drivers for much of their work.  Men are welcome to offer their services.

Education
If you have a good basic education and are prepared to share your skills with others then you may be interestd in volunteering your educational skills.
Lead (Linking Education & Disability)  Volunteers with computer skills are always welcome to help support home learning in the students own home.
Adult Basic Education - Volunteers are often required for adult education in a wide variety of classes.  Literacy and numeracy skills an advantage.
Employee Volunteering
If you work in a local business or organisation you may be interested in Employee Volunteering.
Becoming an employee volunteer means -
  - Having fun with colleagues away from the everyday working environment.
  - trying out new activities or sharing existing interests.
  - developing new skills.
  - buiding positive relationships with work mates.
Employee volunteering lets people  -
  - help their community and increase a sense of community belonging.
  - increase team working and pride in the work force.
  - motivates employees, improves moral and enhances their company's image.
Environment and Animals
If you have a particular interest in helping to improve the environment and quality of life of animals you may be interested in the information below.
Pets as Therapy
Volunteers are required to take suitable pets to visit peopel in residential and nursing homes.  Contact 0131 448 2594
Useful contact numbers
Cat Protection League
01463 225138
International League for the Protection of Horses (Aboyne)
013398 87186
Fundraising
Most of the organsisations in the Community Database undertake some form of fundraising.
Health and Social
Some groups have close links with Hospitals and Care Homes.  You may be interested in this if you have any previous health training or would like to improve your health skills.  Many groups are in the Community Database Health & Welfare section.  For example Red Cross volunteers receive first aid training and can attend events giving first aid cover.  therapeutic teams visit hospitals and residential homes.
League of Friends for Caithness General Hospital and the Dunbar Hospital offer a range of activites for volunteers.
Management
Most voluntary organisations have a volunteer management committe.  If you have recently retired, have management skills or would like to learn management skills you may be interested in this type of work.  Here are a few examples -
Citizens Advice Bureau
Crossroads
Caithness Voluntary Group
Caithness Volunteer Link
Highland Volunteer Development Agency
Also check out the Community Database.
Your Views
Many voluntary groups give you a chance to air your views or be heard on particular topics.  They may also assist you in contacting the relevant people or organisations.  If you have ideas, views or information which you think might help the community why not contact -

Community Councils
There are ten Community Councils in CaithnessThey have a statutory obligation to comment on local planning and council services.

Unemployed and Voluntary Work
Voluntary work need not affect any benefits you may receive while you are looking for a job.

Voluntary work can -

  - show employers that you can commit yourself to a job.
  - help you use and improve your skills.
  - give you a chance to develop new skills.
  - put you in touch with new people - who may be able to help you find work
  - give  you a chance to work with other people
  - help to boost your confidence whilst helping others.

It needn't affect your Jobseekers Allowance

You can do as much voluntary work as you like as long as you remain available to take up paid employment and actively seek it.  that means your Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) payments won't usually be affected by voluntary work so long as :
  - you continue to look for employment as agreed with your employment adviser.
  - you can be contacted promptly if a job opportunity arises.
  - you are willing and able to start a job or attend a job interview at 48 hours notice.
  - you don't get payment apart from expenses incurred in doing other voluntary work such as your fares or       
    the cost of any special clothing needed to carry out the work and it is reasonable for you not to be paid by the organisation you work for.

For information on volunteering issues and matters affecting volunteering check out the web sites of the following Scottish Voluntary Bodies -
Volunteer Development Scotland  http://www.vds.org.uk
Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations  http://www.scvo.org.uk

Practical Help on the Web for Voluntary Groups
There is an increasing amount of free services available to voluntary and charitable groups on the web.
here are some we have found