VCB Blogs

Here you can find Blogs written by, or for Volunteer Centre Borders about the topic of Volunteering.

VCB Executive Officer, Gordon Brown has submitted the first one here.

gordon brown

Show us your Assets

Early this year I read with interest that Channel 5 are going to be reviving 'Blind Date'.

Not just because it brought back memories of the Saturday evenings of my youth spent in the company of Cilla, 'our Graham' and questions such as 'If I was making a cocktail, what ingredient would you be?' but also because some people have referred to volunteer centres as being the dating agency for the voluntary sector.

It really is an apposite analogy. People come to us looking for the perfect volunteering role and we try our best to find them a match made in heaven from our database of opportunities. But unlike online dating agencies we don't rely on complex mathematical algorithms. We value the human touch. So when someone comes to us looking to volunteer, we don't just present them with the 'top ten' of the day.

The first question we always ask is – what do you WANT to do – what are your skills, interests, hobbies? Of course, sometimes people are quite specific and know exactly what they are looking for, other times they have a rough idea but are open to suggestions. And then there are those for whom talking about their own attributes is very difficult.
Scots are notorious for being reluctant to 'blow our own trumpets' – for a fear (perceived or otherwise) of being told we are 'getting above ourselves'. As a result, self-deprecation is a common Scottish trait – (I've tried it but found Im not just very good at it).

I once read an article by Dr Carol Craig, who wrote the book 'The Scots' Crisis of Confidence' in which she noted: 'because of a fear of judgement by our peers, Scots have developed an inherent sense of privacy lest we are ridiculed or criticised.'
Dr Craig concluded that, as Scottish society is far from equal, the "don't get above yourself" mentality only serves to reinforce, rather than challenge, inequality.

I found this interesting because it lies at the heart of what VCB is trying to do when it talks about identifying 'hidden assets'. Everyone has skills, interests or hobbies that define them as a person and brings them happiness/satisfaction/fulfilment; emotions which could be heightened by sharing with others.

However, we first have to encourage people to be introspective AND then to be prepared to admit to their own talents AND then be prepared to at least consider volunteering these in the right environment.

So if you are considering volunteering but not sure what is the right role for you, come along to VCB and show us your assets – who knows you might get a pleasant surprise, surprise.