Volunteers are our everyday heroes. They shape lives for the better, and find new skills for themselves in the process too.

Sight loss can leave people feeling isolated. Yet every day our volunteers empower people impacted by sight loss to thrive. 

Today, there are an estimated 183,000 people living with significant sight loss in Scotland. We’re more needed than ever before, and it’s not always easy to keep up with the demand.

Volunteer with us

Volunteer with us and we promise you a role that’s both rewarding for you and makes a meaningful difference to others. 

Transform lives 

You don’t need to be an expert in sight loss to apply. We’re able to transform lives because people like you choose to make a difference, and we’ll provide all the training you need to do exactly that. 

There’s a good chance you already have the know-how. Are you at your best with a trowel and fork in your hands? Or a brush and palette? Or a hammer and chisel? A steering wheel and a gearstick? A phone and a cuppa? These are exactly the kinds of skills we need. 

Art volunteer supports veteran using magnifier in Linburn Centre art room

Enable people to thrive 

Whether you’re helping an older veteran to overcome isolation and deteriorating vision or driving a minibus of young people to their Scouts club, you’ll get to see for yourself the important difference you make. 

We provide the training and support you’ll need to enjoy your volunteer role and carry it out with confidence. Whether you’re coming to share your existing skills or to learn and develop new ones, we want to hear from you. 

Art volunteer Michael in the Hawkhead Centre art room

Want to find out more? 

We want to make it easy for you to decide if volunteering with Sight Scotland and Sight Scotland Veterans is right for you. Below are some questions we are frequently asked by people thinking about joining us as a volunteer.  

If you have any questions you’d like to ask before you apply that are not answered below, please contact our People Team on people@sightscotland.org.uk or on 0131 229 1456.

To find out about our corporate volunteering opportunities, please visit our corporate volunteering page.

A volunteer chats with a Jenny's Well resident on the phone

You might like to know:

Most people who volunteer with us will be asked to complete some training, which usually includes courses such as our organisational induction training where you’ll learn about what we do, and how and why we do it. Other examples include safeguarding training and visual impairment awareness training.

Some of the training we offer volunteers is role specific. For example, if your role involves volunteering on your own with people we support, you will be offered training on lone working.

Training is available for volunteers on a wide range of subjects. If you would like to receive extra training once you have started your role, please speak to your volunteer manager.

All volunteers are given a named volunteer manager. This is a staff member who is your key contact responsible for guiding and supporting you on a day-to-day basis. They will also arrange regular check-ins with you to make sure things are going well, and you are welcome to request a check-in with that person at any time.

This can vary greatly: some people volunteer an hour or two days a month, others volunteer several days a week. Each of our written volunteer role descriptions will give you an idea of what we are looking for – for example, three to six hours per week. In most cases this is intended as a rough guide. If you want to volunteer more or less than we’ve specified, speak to us as it may well still be possible. We aim to be as flexible as possible and will do our best to accommodate you.

Yes! We believe strongly that volunteering should not leave you out of pocket for any reasonable expenses you incur. We ask you to agree any expenses with your volunteer manager in advance, then complete a simple online form and upload the relevant receipts. Normally we’ll pay your expenses straight into your bank account, but there are other options if this isn’t suitable for you.

Depending on your role, we may ask you to provide details of two people who can provide a written reference for you. They should:

  • have known you for at least a year
  • be aged 18 or over
  • not be a family member or your partner.

We prefer that at least one of your referees knows you in a professional context if possible; perhaps a current or former manager, colleague, teacher, or similar. If this isn’t possible, please speak to us.

Your second reference can be professional or personal. A personal referee might be a friend, for example, or a neighbour who knows you well.

This may be possible. We believe that placements and internships are quite different to volunteering. If you’re interested in a placement or internship with us, please email people@sightscotland.org.uk

Many of our volunteers are blind or have visual impairments. We’re committed to a culture of diversity where people are treated equitability, regardless of any disability. We welcome applications from all people with disabilities.

If you want to volunteer and would like to receive our application form or anything else in an accessible format, please let us know.

All our volunteering opportunities will have any minimum age requirements displayed. Wherever possible we aim to open up our vacancies to younger people, and only set minimum ages when there are good reasons to do so.

If you are under 16 years old and wish to volunteer with us, we will seek written permission from a parent or guardian.

Ordinarily yes, but if you are unsure or have any questions please check with your benefits provider. Normally your benefits are not affected and there are no limits to the number of hours you volunteer, provided you continue to meet the requirements of your benefits provider.

More information about volunteering and benefits can be found on the gov.uk website.

We are not able to support applications from people who need a visa to come to the UK in order to volunteer.

This may be possible, though there can sometimes be limitations on the amount of time you can volunteer. If you are unsure, please contact UK Visas and Immigration.

If you would like to volunteer with us but cannot see a suitable role, please get in touch. We would be happy to have a conversation with you about what might be possible.

The number and types of opportunity change regularly so please do keep checking back. In many cases we can keep your details on file and let you know when a particular volunteering opportunity becomes available.

We are happy to adjust our existing volunteer roles wherever possible to make them more accessible for you (for example, if you have a disability that might prevent you from carrying out all aspects of a particular role exactly as described).

Having a criminal record will not automatically exclude you from volunteering. Each case will be considered on its merits and in relation to the particular volunteer role.

If you are applying for a role that qualifies as “regulated work” under the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007, we will carry out a PVG (Protection of Vulnerable Groups) check. We will need you to tell us about any criminal convictions you have, even those that have been ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

The circumstances of the offence will always be considered, so please give us as much information as possible. As with all of your details, this information is treated in the strictest confidence.