Saltire Awards

What are Saltire Awards?

Saltire Awards are a Scottish Government accredited awards scheme for 12-25 year old volunteers. The Awards are deisgned to recognise contribution and prove commitment to a volunteering role. There are 4 levels of awards, so whether you have completed a volunteer Challenge day or completed 10-500 hours of volunteering these awards are for you. These awards look really good on your CV or University/College application. Anyone who wants to sign up for Saltire Awards can register themselves on the Saltire Awards Website or by emailing info@volunteermidlothian.org.uk or on 0131 660 1216. 

What Saltire Awards can I gain?

The Challenge – This is the award for a team volunteering event and normally consists of a day's worth of volunteering taking part in activities such as beach clean ups, gardening projects, regeneration projects etc. This is a stand alone award but you may participate in more than one challenge. Anyone can organise a Saltire challenge at their school or out in the community. If you are interest in organising a Saltire challenge please contact us for more information. Volunteering hours from a Saltire Challenge can be used towards either the Approach or the Ascent awards.

The Approach - This is designed to introduce you to more regular, short term volunteering. Certificates are awarded on completion of 10 and 25 hours of volunteering. Once you have completed the Approach, you can work your way up to the Ascent.

The Ascent - This is for those ready to make a longer commitment to volunteering with certificates being presented on completion of 50, 100, 200 and 500 hours. An Ascent award demonstrates commitment and reliability both very desirable traits for employers and universities.

The Summit - This is an award for which you are nominated by your volunteering organisation for an outstanding contribution to volunteering. It is awarded to recognise those who have not only completed an "Ascent" award but have exceeded expectations. The nominations are peer assessed by a panel of Saltire Ambassadors who decide who merits the Award. There are less than 12 Summit Awards given out each year.

On completing any of the Saltire Awards you will receive Young Scot Reward points which can be redeemed against rewards available on the Young Scot Website.

For more information on Saltire Awards please visit Saltire Awards Website.

If you are from an organisation and want to know more about how Saltire affects you, please visit the organisations page.

Saltire Ambassadors

Saltire Awards are committed to involving young volunteers in the delivery and development of the Awards at all stages. Volunteers who have achieved the “Ascent” have the chance to become Saltire Ambassadors. Saltire Ambassadors:

• Represent the Saltire Awards and youth volunteering at a local level

• Promote the Awards and inspire other young people to get involved

• Contribute to the development of the Saltire Awards

• Participate in decision making e.g. as a Summit Panel Member

Ambassadors will have the opportunity to further develop and build upon skills such as planning, organisation, decision making, communication and group work skills as well as building up hours towards a 500 hour award. This type of experience is extremely useful when applying for jobs and courses as it proves commitment, diligence and initiative, all highly valued by employers. To find out more about Saltire Ambassadors contact Keith.

How do I register for Saltire Awards?

To register for Saltire Awards visit Saltire Awards Website or call us on 0131 660 1216.

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Volunteering FAQ

Why get involved as a volunteer?

People volunteer for many different reasons. Making a difference to the lives of others is immensely rewarding, but the benefits don’t stop there. Volunteering can give you the skills and confidence you need to get into work, climb the career ladder or expand your circle of friends.

Who can be a volunteer?

Anyone can contribute. For most of the work no experience is required – just a willingness to get involved and help. Training is usually provided for more involved volunteer roles.

What commitment do I have to make?

The time commitment you make to volunteering depends largely on the type of work you are interested in. Some organisations ask for a few hours per month; others a few days a week. It is usually up to you and the organisation involved to arrange suitable times for you to work.

Can I volunteer whilst claiming benefits?

Yes. You can volunteer for as many hours as you want, as long as you still meet the conditions to get your benefit or tax credit. The old rule that you could only volunteer for 16 hours a week or less no longer applies. Any out of pocket expenses you receive will usually be disregarded when it comes to working out your income. We advise that if you are receiving benefits that you let you Job Centre Advisor know before you start volunteering - they may ask you to complete a form which details where you are going to volunteer, how many hours you plan to do and what expenses will be reimbursed.

Will my expenses be paid?

It is good practice for organisations to pay volunteers' expenses to cover things like travel expenses and meal allowances. However not all organisations do, so it is worth checking before you start to volunteer.

I want to work with children or vulnerable people - do I need to join the PVG Scheme?

Volunteering that brings you into contact with children, or with people who are considered vulnerable will require a more stringent selection process which may include Protection of Vulnerable Groups Check. This involves completing a form detailing your previous addresses and provided proof of identity. You will not pay anything for this. Having a criminal conviction or contact with the police does not automatically bar someone from volunteering with children or vulnerable people – but it is worth seeking confidential advice from staff at Volunteer Midlothian before you go any further.

What support does Volunteer Midlothian offer?

Starting volunteering can be a daunting prospect, especially if you have never volunteered before. Our staff will be happy to make the initial contact for you and may be able to come with you on your first visit if you feel that will help. We will also keep in touch with you and the organisation you volunteer with to make sure things are going smoothly. We can also tailor support for those who feel they need a little more help to get started and to maintain their volunteering..

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