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Volunteer Development Scotland Ltd. (also known as Volunteer Scotland).
Charity registered in Scotland SC013740 and a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland, No. SC106743. Our registered Office is Jubilee House, Forthside Way, Stirling. FK8 1QZ

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Various Volunteering Opportunities: Support Group Facilitator; Volunteer Befriender; Volunteer Fundraiser

Neil's Hugs Foundation is a well-established charity in West Lothian and are expanding into the Clackmannanshire area. The group are developing a safe, compassionate and confidential space where support groups can meet for:
• Anyone who are experiencing poor mental health
• To support people who have lost loved ones to suicide
• Families who are supporting a loved one who attempted suicide.

The Foundation seeks to provide a safe place to talk and listen and support each other. They aim to reduce loneliness and isolation people with poor mental health experience.

Neil's Hugs are developing a one-to-one, 12 week Befriending Service to aid people who are experiencing anxiety and poor mental health to build confidence and skills. Volunteers can help in offering this one-to-one support by becoming Befriender, which will:
• Aid in achieving people's desired outcomes
• Help people become more active in their local community.

Volunteers can help in facilitating groups. Often people find it difficult to talk to people they know, so Neil's Hugs have also established a number of groups. The Support Groups are designed around providing a safe space for people to talk. The groups allow members the space and time while offering a compassionate, listening ear. The Foundation also utilises activities such as art therapy:

  • Listening Ear Service which is a phone or video service (Zoom) where volunteers support individuals who are experiencing poor mental health by giving them space on a weekly basis to talk. The volunteer’s listen and give support to those who just need someone to talk to.

  • People who have lost loved ones to suicide can attend a weekly Support Group that provides peer-support for families and friends who have lost a loved one to suicide. This too is a safe place to talk about loved one and to have peers involved in people's grief and loss.

  • The Gardening Group is among the newest developments at The Foundation. They have now linked in with the Wimpy Park's Garden who have offered an area for volunteers and those grieving to develop into a reflection garden.

Volunteers can:
If the above roles are not suitable, there are always extra help needed in raising awareness of suicide in communities and raising funds to help keep these vital projects going.

Experience required

Ideally, applicants should have skills in the following:

  • Good listening skills

  • Compassionate and caring understanding personality

  • Works well in group settings

Travel expenses

This is claimed by the volunteer, and submitted to Volunteer Manager.

Expenses can be paid whenever the volunteer prefers.

Mileage paid at 0.45p (per mile).

Training details

Neil's hugs provide training to all volunteers in topics such as:

  • Suicide awareness

  • Mental Health First Aid

  • Greif and loss training

  • Trauma awareness


Taster/Induction includes:

  • Induction policy procedures

  • Adult and child protection awareness

  • Lone working

  • Safety awareness

  • Incident reporting

Training in topics such as:

  • Suicide awareness

  • Mental Health First Aid

  • Grief and loss


Minimum age: 18
Volunteers will be PVG checked to work with vulnerable adults. Must be over 16 if mature in nature, however 18+ is preferred as distressing themes are common such as dealing with mental health issues and possible past traumas.

Frequency & commitment
Flexible around term and school holidays.

Volunteers (aged 18-25) taking part in this opportunity are eligible to claim Saltire Awards hours for their activity.
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