One of the biggest challenges that charities in Edinburgh, and all over the country, face on a long-term basis is volunteer recruitment. Every year, volunteer managers spend countless hours on lengthy recruitment processes and word-of-mouth is still the most common way to attract new volunteers.
Despite a huge surge in volunteer applications during lockdown, in a time of economic uncertainty, the third sector has been hit particularly hard and not-for-profit organisations need our support more than ever.
Here are five charities in Edinburgh who are doing really valuable work and would appreciate your support right now!
U-Evolve is a young people’s mental health charity based in the North of Edinburgh. They recognise that mental health services in Scotland are hugely overstretched and young people often don’t receive the support they need until they reach crisis point.
U-Evolve work with local schools and youth groups to provide a support for young people who are struggling with their mental health before they reach this point!
They do this through one-to-one counselling, as well as group workshops were young people learn new skills and work together on creative projects. During Covid-19 they quickly pivoted their services to move their counselling online and make sure their users had access to tablets or smartphones to access their support.
U-Evolve put young people first in everything they do, and work alongside teachers, parents, and front-line professionals to help them reach their full potential.
LifeCare Edinburgh are a charity who help older people to ‘keep on living independently and enjoy the things that make [them] smile’.
They run a number of services such as Help at Home household support, Outreach support to get out and about on social visits or appointments, and the Cottage day club for people with dementia.
LifeCare go over and above with their support services: they strive to create a community space where both young and old people come together and feel comfortable, they value quality of life and companionship, taking care to match their beneficiaries with the most suitable volunteer, and they take time to get to know their people – no ‘rushed, functional fifteen-minute home visits’.
The Rock Trust work with young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. They help people to avoid, survive, or move on from homelessness by build personal skills and growing their social and support networks.
They provide a variety of services from long-term, one-to-one counselling, to emergency support for young people in crisis, to assistance for people who are ‘simply struggling to access an expensive and competitive rental market’.
They believe that homelessness is ‘more than rooflessness’ and work to break the cycle by providing opportunities for relevant training, employability skills, and practical support such as a Rent Deposit Scheme.
People Know How are a charity ‘focussed on developing innovative solutions to address social issues’. They use a four stage approach – Ask, Research, Do, Share – to support various projects across Edinburgh.
Recent projects include
- Reconnect which supports adults who struggle with digital exclusion or social isolation through one-to-one befriending,
- the Positive Transitions Service which supports school age children and their parents or guardians through a range of individual and group projects with opportunities to get outdoors, get creative, and make school a better experience for everyone,
- and, more recently, refurbishing and delivering digital devices to isolated people during Covid-19!
People Know How were founded on the ‘principle that people know how to identify their needs and the solutions that will help them fulfil their potential and solve social issues’, they believe it is their role to ‘[unlock] ideas for a better future, today’.
Edinburgh Dogs and Cats Home’s mission is to ‘rescue, reunite and rehome stray and unwanted dogs and cats and ensure they have the happiest lives possible’. They aim to give ‘unwanted and mistreated animals’ a second chance for a happy home and they have a 70% success rate in reuniting lost dogs and cats with their owners!
They have an open-intake policy meaning they accept any dog or cat that comes to them in need, they do everything in their power to nurse unwell animals back to health, and work to rehome them with the right family for them. They also carry out advocacy work with the Scottish Government and other organisations to protect and promote animal welfare in the UK.
They do not receive any government or statutory funding and exist purely because of the dedication and passion of their team members and the partners who support them!
Want to volunteer?
If you love the sound of these charities and want to support similar work in Edinburgh and other cities across Scotland, get in touch to find out how Social Good Connect can help coordinate your employee volunteering efforts.