NHS demonstrates commitment to volunteering in the Western Isles

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A Western Isles organisation that encourages and supports members of the community to volunteer has received a grant from NHS Western Isles, to ensure it is able to continue to provide its valuable work.

NHS Western Isles recently presented a £12,000 grant to the Volunteer Centre Western Isles. The grant was presented soon after the local Health Board received confirmation that it had retained Investing in Volunteers (IiV) status, the national quality standard for organisations demonstrating a commitment to involving volunteers in their work.

The Volunteer Centre exists to actively encourage, support and promote volunteering, by engaging with both volunteers and volunteer involving organisations in the Western Isles. The organisation operates across the Western Isles and, in the last year, helped 323 volunteers into volunteering opportunities, and worked directly with around 200 organisations that involve volunteers.

Joint Manager of Volunteering Western Isles, Kirsty Macdonald, said: “The level of volunteering in the Western Isles is almost double the national average at around 55 per cent. This indicates a high level of activity in our communities, with many services provided by volunteers and a wide range of opportunities for people to engage in their communities.

“We consider volunteering to be a contributory factor to good health, both physical and mental, giving volunteers a focus outside of the home, social contact, enjoyable activity and personal satisfaction. Volunteers often report increased self esteem and confidence. We would like to thank NHS Western Isles for this funding which will enable us to continue to provide the service at the current level.”

NHS Western Isles Chair, Neil Galbraith, said: “The Volunteer Centre had a shortfall in its funding this year, and NHS Western Isles therefore took the decision to provide a grant to enable staff to continue to provide the valuable work they undertake. Volunteers play an important role across the Western Isles, in particular in the health service and in other third sector organisations and charities that work with us to support and care for individuals in local communities.

“Our volunteers play a very active role, from helping to shape service provision and helping to carry out audits, to supporting patients by providing social interaction or spiritual care. Our volunteers have been well supported by the Volunteer Centre, and we were delighted to be able to offer support in terms of financial assistance at a time that help was needed.”

Pictured is NHS Western Isles Chair, Neil Galbraith presenting the cheque to Joint Manager of Volunteering Western Isles, Kirsty Macdonald.