Tell us a bit about what you do and what the key challenges are?
We have a number of centres. As I said we've got three day centres in Glasgow. We have a befriending service, digital inclusion service and we have welfare services and income and benefits maximisation and across all of those areas we have volunteer opportunities. So as I said, our main aim is to combat loneliness in the older generation, and have them come into the day centres and we have volunteers in our befriending service to visit people. So in terms of volunteer opportunities, we have across the centres in different services.
What kind of activities can students expect to get involved in?
We have students volunteering across our organization. If students were to come into the center, it can work quite closely with our service users as support assistants or support escorts, helping people on minibuses and get involved in the activities that we put on, like carpet bowls, bingo or if they have any skills or hobbies or our befriending services that students can sign up to befriend an older person and visit them or give them regular telephone calls. We also look for people's help out in our kitchens, do a bit of gardening or painting most to set up a new digital inclusion project. And we have supplied over 100 iPads to service users to keep them in contact with friends and family online. And we're looking for volunteers to help them get set up the phones and iPads. And you don't need to have any kind of special training. We'll provide training for everything. We just ask that you have a positive attitude.
How much of an impact have UofG student made since volunteering with GFG?
Over the years, having Glasgow University volunteers has been such a great experience for our organization. We couldn't do anything that we do at the organization without volunteers and every time we've had uni students in we've been super enthusiastic, positive, friendly and we're so grateful for everything they do for us and we couldn't do what we do without them.
What would you tell other students who are thinking about volunteering?
I would tell a student to just speak to us and get involved. We have so many different opportunities, whether that's regularly volunteering or one off events, and we're happy to cater to your needs. And it's a great experience to get some extra training, meet new people, build up your confidence and as well potentially make lasting connections with older people in Glasgow.
What has student volunteering meant for your organisation this year?
For us, this year has been really important coming out of the pandemic to try and get volunteers to help get our services back up and running. We wouldn't have been able to do that without volunteers. We really heavily rely on volunteers and having Glasgow Uni volunteers has been amazing. Especially connecting the older and younger generations is great. So it's been amazing.