2023 marks the 39th year of Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), when we join thousands of charities and voluntary organisations recognising the contribution volunteers make across the UK.
The contribution of volunteers is often unseen and unrecognised by many, visible only through the incredible impact of their volunteering. Taking the time during Volunteers’ Week to celebrate their efforts and all they contribute to our local communities, the voluntary sector and society as a whole has never been more important.
So far this year, volunteers have contributed a staggering 8,815 hours to the Society. In 2022 847 volunteers gave 21,695 hours which equalled a £142,007 financial contribution.
Jo has been volunteering as a dog walker at the Ayrshire centre since the beginning of April 2023 and has been fundraising for more than 20 years for the Society.
Speaking of what volunteering means to her, Jo said: “I look forward to walking the dogs each week. Sometimes it’s the same dogs and sometimes there are new dogs to be walked. The variety of dogs I meet and work with makes each walking session different as each dog has its own character and personality. I feel as though I am helping to make a difference to each dog’s life while they are at the centre.
“The Scottish SPCA is a great place and they do such amazing work for animals. I would encourage anyone interested in becoming a volunteer to register their interest. They will find the work satisfying and rewarding knowing that they are contributing to help improve the lives and well-being of the animals at the centres in which they work.”
Ewan is a volunteer photographer at the Angus, Fife and Tayside centre. He says: “So far my experience volunteering with the Scottish SPCA has been very positive and rewarding, seeing animals go to new homes and knowing I’ve played a part in that process just fills me with pure joy.”
Janice Falconer started volunteering at the National Wildlife Rescue centre two years ago after taking early retirement from the pelvic health physiotherapy team at Forth Valley NHS.
She volunteers within the bird section and says: “Having worked clinically in the NHS, I felt that dealing with sick and injured animals might not be that different from dealing with people - careful handling and treatment, encouragement and soothing ruffled feathers!
“I particularly enjoy working in the bird section as there is so much variety from the tiniest nestling to majestic birds of prey. The best part of the job is releasing animals back into the wild knowing that the staff at the centre have worked hard to get them there and the volunteers have assisted in that process.”
Two of the society’s volunteers in the Dunbartonshire centre, Julie and Molly, speak of what volunteering means to them.
Julie, who has volunteered with the Scottish SPCA for 11 years, says, “The feelings that overcome me when I'm volunteering for the Scottish SPCA are uplifting, and enrich my life. I adore being around animals therefore just walking through the gates, and hearing the dogs starts those incredible natural 'feel good' chemicals bubbling.
“I have several long-term health issues and unfortunately had to give up care work, however volunteering at the centre keeps me busy and active, as well as helping emotionally. I believe it helps with my illnesses, strengthening my mind and body.”
Life-long animal lover Molly has been volunteering at the Dumbarton centre since January 2022, she says: “I’ve learned how to care for the animals safely and confidently and how to follow the daily routines.
“I have also learned about team working and making new friendships at work.”
Ellie Middlemass has been volunteering at the Glasgow centre for the past two years, helping to care for the dogs and cats.
Ellie says: “I started volunteering because I wanted to get experience working with a wide variety of animals. I enjoy getting to work hands on with animals and knowing I am making a difference in their lives.
“I have now been lucky enough to secure a job and I am absolutely delighted.”
Geraldine Forsyth who volunteers as a cat carer at the Lanarkshire centre, says: “I am a cat carer at the centre where I help feed the cats, check if the blankets need to be washed and give them lovely clean fresh ones. The section is swept, walls are wiped down, the floor is mopped and litter trays and dishes are washed and replaced.
“The best thing about volunteering is the satisfaction you get when cats come in and you know you helped them to trust people again it’s just so rewarding when you finally get the cats a loving forever home. The staff at the centre are all very friendly and so dedicated to helping all the animals it’s a pleasure to volunteer there.”
Volunteer programme manager, Lesley Toles said: “Our Society is incredibly lucky to have the support of over 700 dedicated and passionate volunteers.
“Volunteers are always at the heart of our Society community. Taking the time during Volunteers’ Week to celebrate and recognise their efforts and all you contribute to the Society is so important.
“A huge thank you to every single one of our volunteers - for everything you do, for your kindness and support, for your love of the animals and for giving up your time to help the Scottish SPCA.”
Find out more about becoming a volunteer on our website here: https://www.scottishspca.org/support/volunteer