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Two years volunteering with WEAll Scotland: reflections from the journey so far

Celebrating Volunteer Week 2024 with a guest blog from WEAll Scotland volunteer Alex Turner

Alex sitting at a table looking into the distance and smiling. She has a pen in her hand and on the table is an open journal and mug of coffee

I stood in line at the departure gate at Edinburgh waiting to board my flight. Heading to what exactly - freedom? Rest? An escape? I was on my way to join some friends for Midsomer celebrations in Sweden. Five weeks in Gothenburg lay ahead of me. Behind me lay months of stress, overwork and burnout.

I didn't have enough annual leave to book five weeks off work, so I had scraped together five days of paid time off sprinkled throughout my trip where I would continue to work remotely for the majority of it.

And at some point during those five weeks, sandwiched between early morning meetings with my team in Australia and hedonistic lakeside picnics and swims, I had an onboarding meeting with the Volunteer Coordinator at Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland (WEAll Scotland). We spent an easy hour chatting and connecting over shared interests in collective decision-making, community empowerment and fair and equitable futures. Not long after the meeting, I received onboarding materials, met the WEAll Scotland staff members, and before I knew it I was part of the WEAll Scotland team.

Why WEAll Scotland?

As a writer, storyteller, futurist and change-maker, I am deeply interested in systems change. My application to volunteer with WEAll Scotland reflected my passions for, and experience of, climate action, sustainability and doughnut economics. And I had been looking for practical ways to get involved with the Just Transition. With its clear message, WEAll Scotland fit the bill: 'we want to reprogramme Scotland's economy so it puts people and planet first.'

Since joining in summer 2022, I've been involved with blog writing, website copywriting, newsletters, WEAll Scotland strategy days, the Wealth of Nations 2.0 Conference and supporting the Wellbeing Economy Cross Party Group. I've also been commissioned to write a thought piece on new economic models for the future, drawing on some of my futures experience.

Volunteering with WEAll Scotland has been a pleasure since day one - the team is very close knit and everyone is incredibly respectful and supportive. It is also very flexible and I particularly love how they pay so much attention to individual skills, experiences and aspirations, offering involvement in projects tailored to everyone's needs, abilities and interests. Recently, we've engaged in discussions around how to help us volunteers gain even more from our voluntary experience with WEAll Scotland.

Looking ahead

As I carry out my specialism in Sustainable Communities, I hope to build more experience in engaging our network and the wider public in creativity workshops as a forum to harness creativity to address inequality and drive positive change.

I'm waiting to hear back from a PhD application, feeling somewhat nervous but extremely excited and grateful to have come this far. Volunteering with WEAll Scotland has allowed me to contribute to a cause I deeply care about, in a supportive and inspiring environment, and that has given me a renewed sense of purpose and community.

Two years ago, I sought solace in Sweden from what I felt was a stress-inducing and unfair system. Joining the WEAll Scotland community has been about practicing hope through action. There is still a lot of work to do - the coming months will likely see huge change, but I'm looking forward to continuing on this path and being part of what happens next.


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