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Volunteering for change

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

Vince paddle boarding on a still river surrounded by trees

I have been a volunteer at the Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland (WEAll Scotland) for two years now. I decided to volunteer after seeing an advert for the volunteer programme as part of research I was doing for a book I'm writing on economy, society and self.

During my research, Wellbeing Economy principles caught my attention and interest. I believe that the economic system needs to be redesigned to meet the needs of all people while living in harmony with nature and the earth we call home - values very strongly aligned with what WEAll Scotland is trying to achieve.

I am not the most social butterfly and have a tendency to sit in my comfort zone. I can suffer from social anxiety when engaging with activities that involve meeting and working with new people. Volunteering with WEAll Scotland was a chance to push myself out of that comfort zone, learn about the Wellbeing Economy and make a contribution to that agenda, while also trying to face up to the challenges in my personality.

I have worked on a number of projects. This first was a consultation response to the Scottish Government on the circular economy – trying to build wellbeing ideas and concepts into the response. Then I worked on a Wellbeing Economy stocktake for the Cairngorms National Park which looked at the five Wellbeing Economy needs defined by WEAll as dignity, nature, fairness, purpose and participation. This was presented visually in wellbeing wheels (part of a more traditional report) showing an at a glance assessment of progress towards a Wellbeing Economy, which I think look pretty cool and convey a lot of information including the connected nature of the needs. It also involved the development of cornerstone indicators and a method for measuring them – a key part in monitoring progress towards a Wellbeing Economy.

I did a similar Wellbeing Economy stocktake for Moray council area as part of a vision for wellbeing developed by a local voluntary organisation building on the template used in the Cairngorms. We took that forward into a more formal vision and action plan. I worked with an excellent project team where I learn a lot and enjoyed being part of the thoughtful and insightful conversations as the project developed.

I have also met with other volunteers, participated in the Wealth of Nations Conference held at the University of Glasgow, bringing together a wider range of people and organisations with interest in the Wellbeing Economy. It's been a great learning experience and nice to meet like minded people who are passionate about systems change and the desire to make Scotland a true Wellbeing Economy.


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