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Good news for Volunteering and for Scotland's Health and Wellbeing

This report highlights the major challenges facing our society in terms of demographic change, labour market and skills shortages, mental and physical ill-health, social isolation and loneliness, and poorly connected and engaged communities. However, it also presents wide-ranging evidence on the extraordinary contribution of volunteering in helping to address these challenges and in improving the health and wellbeing of Scotland’s people.

It achieves this through:
• Improving the health and wellbeing of volunteers
• Supporting activities and sectors which foster the health and wellbeing of the wider
population such as physical activity and sport
• Supporting Scotland’s health and social care sector.

Volunteering also fosters social connectedness and is embedded in communities for the benefit of those communities. It is inextricably linked to the health and wellbeing of engaged communities and resilient neighbourhoods. However, the greatest health and wellbeing impact from volunteering is for those who are most disadvantaged and excluded in society, and this applies both to the volunteers themselves and those who they are supporting.

This is a really ‘good news’ story for volunteering and for Scotland’s health and wellbeing. It is also a strong foundation upon which to further develop the contribution of volunteering. There are big societal challenges facing Scotland and it is vitally important that volunteering is responsive, adaptable and focused in managing this change.

This report describes these challenges, identifies the opportunities and gives clear priorities for how volunteering can optimise its contribution to Scotland’s health and wellbeing over the next 20 years. This includes a list of 10 key recommendations which support the implementation of Scotland’s ‘Volunteering for All: Our National Framework’ and the attainment of health and wellbeing indicators in the ‘National Performance Framework’.1

6th November 2019