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, week by week, our volunteers empower people impacted by sight loss to feel that things can be very different.

Today, there are over 170,000 people living with significant sight loss in Scotland. We’re more needed than ever before, but it’s not always easy to keep up with the demand.

Give us a hand and we promise you’ll get more out of it than you put in.

Art volunteer supports veteran using magnifier in Linburn Centre art room

Transform lives 

You don’t need to be an expert in how sight loss impacts on people’s lives. We’re able to transform lives because people like you choose to lend us a hand.

We need the brew makers, the green fingered and the chatterboxes. We need drivers and arty types. We love to hear from students who want to boost their CVs, and retirees who want to share their skills.

Art volunteer Michael in the Hawkhead Centre art room

Enable people to thrive 

Whether you’re lending an ear to an older veteran who is struggling to hear at a noisy lunch club, or driving young people to their Scouts club, the difference you’ll make to people struggling with sight loss will always be great.

We provide the training and support that’s right for your role. You commit to getting stuck in and gain skills for life.

We know you need easy access to information and guidance.

Whatever part you’ll play, we want to empower and support you as much as we can. Here are the answers to some of the questions you might have in our FAQs. 

If you have any questions that are not answered in our FAQs, please contact our Volunteer Development Manager James on volunteering@sightscotland.org.uk or on 0131 446 3154.

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

You might like to know:

All volunteers attend a half-day of organisational induction training before beginning their roles. There are other courses that we ask all volunteers to complete within their first year, including visual impairment awareness training and dignity at work training.

If you will be working directly with people using our services, you will also be asked to complete the relevant safeguarding training, for example, protection of children and young people or working with protected adults. If your role also involves lone working with our services users, you will be given training on this.

We have a training calendar which details compulsory and non-compulsory training available to all volunteers and staff. If you would like to receive extra, non-compulsory training once you have started your role, please speak to your volunteer champion.

All volunteers are given a named volunteer champion. 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.

The Volunteer Development Manager will also contact you from time to time to see how things are going. You are welcome to contact them if there’s something you would like to chat about.

We aim to fit each opportunity with each applicant wherever possible. Each vacancy will give you an idea of what we are looking for – for example, three to six hours per week. If you want to volunteer more or less than we’ve outlined, speak to us as it may still be possible.

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

All volunteers should 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 tutor. 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 hr@sightscotland.org.uk 

This may vary slightly from one opportunity to another.  You’ll see that each current vacancy has minimum age information displayed. Wherever possible we aim to open up our vacancies to younger people, so if you see a minimum age listed for any of our opportunities there will be a clear reason why. If you are under 16 years old and wish to volunteer with us we will seek written permission from a parent or guardian.

We do not have a maximum age for volunteering.

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 vacancy becomes available.

Please note that whilst we can sometimes make adjustments to our existing roles to help 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), we cannot create bespoke roles and do not accept speculative applications.

Many of our volunteers are blind or have visual impairments. We’re committed to a culture of diversity in volunteering and employment in which 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.

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 where you can come into direct contact with children, young people and the elderly we must carry out a PVG (Protection of Vulnerable Groups) disclosure 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 taken into account, so please give us as much information as possible. As with all of your details, this information is treated in the strictest confidence.