Find out everything you could possibly need to know about volunteering with Young Scot through #YSHive.
What is the age limit for volunteers/participants?
Our volunteers can start volunteering from 11 up until the age of 26. Age requirements will be mentioned on the project opportunity.
Does it matter where in Scotland I live?
Not at all! Volunteers and ambassadors come from all over Scotland. We work all over the country and pay your travel expenses, and accommodation (if needed).
Do I need experience volunteering?
Nope! We’re looking for volunteers to be curious in the topic/issue and willing to get involved.
Do I need a Young Scot Card or Membership to volunteer?
No but we encourage you to have both! We share information about these services and your entitlements when you start volunteering.
Who are your current volunteers?
In 2019-2020 we supported over 700 young people to get involved in different projects and opportunities. We celebrate diversity and believe that a mix of lived experiences is vital for successful projects to make change happen!
Our volunteers have different ages, locations, backgrounds and personal stories. Some have volunteered with us at a one-off workshop, on a short project for a few months and others have been with us for years! Have a look at some of our volunteer stories to find out more.
Which organisations do you work with?
We usually have over 20 live projects with different organisations including the Scottish Government, Historic Environment Scotland, Co-op Foundation and Glasgow City of Science. We also work with local authorities and other local/national organisations to support our volunteers including LGBT Youth Scotland, Who Cares? Scotland, Intercultural Youth Scotland, Inclusion Scotland and many others.
How do I agree to volunteer?
We provide you with information to make an informed decision about participating and holding your details. This is called consent. If you are under 16, we will also request your parent/guardian/carers permission.
This information will be used to support you during volunteering, but also in case of an emergency. We have a Child Protection and Safeguarding policy to keep you and staff safe. More information will be shared with you start a project.
You can opt out or adapt your commitment at any time, with no judgement from our staff.
Who runs the sessions?
Each project is run by a specific Young Scot staff member who you will get to know. All #YSHive staff members are members of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme, so for those under 16, with parents/guardian/carer permission we will be able to look after you while with us.
How do you keep in touch with volunteers?
We keep in touch regularly through text messages, emails, one to one phone call, group video calls, online on Basecamp and at meetings. We work on the best approach for communication with you individually and as a group.
Does it cost anything to volunteer?
All of our opportunities and events are free.
Will my travel costs be covered?
All travel costs are covered so you won’t be out of pocket. We can pre-book your train travel for you or you can bring your receipts along to meetings, and we’ll reimburse you on the day.
Do you provide overnight accommodation?
Where required we will pre-book overnight accommodation, particularly for those travelling longer distances. We will always seek permission around accommodation plans before booking.
What about dietary requirements?
Food will be provided when meetings are held around meal times and snacks are always provided. We'll always ask you about any food allergies when you volunteer with us. During meetings, food will be ordered based on preferences you provide us in advance - or sometimes we'll take your order during meetings.
What if I have a disability?
Everyone’s needs are different, and we are happy to make any reasonable adjustment. This may include how you process information (memory), interacting with others, regulating your mood/emotions, writing, speaking, hearing, physical barriers etc. We will work with you to agree the best plan for support either with our staff or if needed, access to personal aids/assistants/carers. We will also make sure that all venues for our meetings are fully accessible and inclusive, including available quiet spaces. We will request information in your consent form related to your needs and may have regular chats with you to make sure we can support you in the right way.
What if I need extra support to attend?
We can provide information and resources in whatever format you require, just let us know. If English isn’t your first language, we can book an interpreter. We will request information in your consent form related to your needs and may have regular chats with you to make sure we can support you in the right way.
What if I have cultural or religious requirements?
We can accommodate your religious or cultural needs during the project. Let us know what you need to help you get involved. For example, we can accommodate dietary needs and prayer space.
What if I attend school or have other commitments?
Where appropriate, we will provide a letter as evidence of your volunteering to give you time off school, or as evidence for government benefits.
How do you tackle discrimination?
We will ensure we are a safe and trusted place for you to volunteer. We do not accept any form of discrimination or prejudice to anyone on our projects based on your life experience, background, culture, or identity. This includes age, disability, gender identity, parenting and caring responsibilities, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. If this ever does occur, we have a complaint process in place for you/staff to share your concerns. You will be taken seriously and supported throughout.
How long will the project/opportunity last?
All projects vary in length – from one hour to two years! Key dates will be shared on each opportunity page.
What will the time commitment be?
The level of commitment will be shared on each opportunity page. Participation and volunteering opportunities can be as short as a quick 10 minute survey, a half day workshop, through to two years volunteering! We’re flexible. It’s up to you how much time you’d like to commit but the more you put in the more you’ll get out of the experience.
All sessions are flexible with volunteers able to arrive late/leave early, attend remotely etc. All we ask is that you communicate with staff so we know you are safe.
What kind of activities do volunteers do?
Every project is different. We run digital tasks, small workshops, attend events, residential meetings (staying with us for two days including overnight, usually at the weekend), meetings with important decision makers and key experts, site visits (depending on the type of organisation). We have a project space online that you can use to work on the project remotely and social with your team too!
Talking of socialising, we try to ensure there is time to get to know each other and socialise on projects – so cinema dates, escape rooms, meals out, outdoor activities etc!
What kind of activities do volunteers do during COVID-19?
We are currently delivering most of our activities online using video based sessions on Zoom and other platforms like Basecamp and MURAL. This includes individual chats, small sessions, bigger workshops and events. We are able to support you to do this if you are unsure or don’t have access to the right equipment.
Will I have access to other opportunities?
Opportunities come up at Young Scot all the time! As a volunteer, we will share opportunities with you that will be linked to your project, or may be to do with something else you are interested in.
You can also find out about other opportunities through Young Scot Membership.
What training and certificate do you offer volunteers?
Every volunteer will have access to the same basic training, to develop the core skills required for your project and for your CV. This includes confidence building, digital skills, communication skills and influencing skills. We also encourage you to sign up for Saltire Awards, Youth Achievement Awards and other types of formal accreditation. You will receive more information about training when you attend your first meeting.
How can I apply to be a volunteer?
We share opportunities on young.scot/YSHive and on the Get Involved page. We accept application forms in multiple formats and happy to make any reasonable adjustments to help you.
How does the Selection process work?
Once you’ve sent through your application you may will be asked to attend a next stage to find out a bit more about you. We need to make sure this is the best opportunity for each applicant.
If you attend a selection day, you will work in small groups and chat to our staff. If you can’t attend, we will arrange a phone/video call to go through similar questions.
The project team will then be selected by staff and current volunteers, based on criteria agreed for the project. If you’re not selected for that particular project, we will share other opportunities with you.
Where will the residential/meetings be held?
During COVID-19 restrictions, we are delivering all project meetings online based on Scottish Government guidance.
The details of first residential called the ‘Kick Off’, will often be mentioned on the opportunity page. This is usually in Edinburgh at the Young Scot office, but the other meetings will depend on what works for the group. We will provide the location, directions, and any other plans ahead of time.
What should I bring with me?
Just you, some thoughts from your own experiences/opinion, and maybe a notebook, but we’ll provide the rest. If something specific is needed, we’ll let you know in advance.
Is there is a dress code?
Most of the time, whatever you normally wear! We will let you know if you need to be more smartly dressed for an event, but wouldn’t expect you to spend your money on smart clothes to attend.
How do I complain?
We have a clear complaint process that supports you to share your experiences and feelings with a staff member you feel comfortable with, with clear actions to follow. You will receive more information about this when you start volunteering.
Got another question?
Get in contact with us (or your parent/guardian/carer/worker can contact us if you are more comfortable with that) and one of our staff can arrange a chat. Email YSHive@young.scot to get in touch.
Find out more about #YSHive.