Volunteering Action Plan

“The contribution of volunteers in the recent past has been exceptional; we owe them a debt of gratitude for all that they have done and continue to do.”

Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government

Accessing the Plan

You can access the full Volunteering Action Plan, or a useful summary, by clicking on the links below.


The Covid-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the crucial role of volunteering for the wellbeing of our society. 

In 2020 2.9 million people in Scotland volunteered in some capacity, vastly increasing the profile of volunteering and ensuring it is universally valued as a positive force for good.

Volunteering is not a new phenomenon. Many voluntary and statutory organisations rely on the contribution of volunteers every day to deliver a wide range of activities and services. Volunteers are also the lifeblood of our communities, organising events which promote wellbeing and connection and ensuring they are resilient in the face of adversity. Volunteering also has significant benefits for participants too, including improved wellbeing and social connection.

Physical health benefits

Evidence suggests that volunteering can promote healthy lifestyle and improve self-rated health

Social Benefits

Research finds that volunteering can improve companionship, tackle social isolation and increase social capital

Mental wellbeing

Evidence shows that volunteering can improve confidence, purpose and life satisfaction

Instrumental benefits

Volunteering can help people to develop new skills, gain knowledge, develop attitudes and increase employability

Despite this significant contribution, there is still a lack of understanding about the considerable strategic potential of volunteering. It is often taken for granted as a constant presence in society – the invisible thread which binds our communities together. It is under-represented in strategy and policy, meaning that volunteer involving organisations struggle to secure the resource they need for volunteering to thrive.


The Volunteering Action Plan aims to create a Scotland where everyone can volunteer, more often, and throughout their lives.

The Plan builds upon Volunteering for All: The National Framework and provides ‘actions on the ground’ achieved through co-production, learning and a spirit of reciprocity and is designed to provide actions over a 10-year period as a living plan.


The specific end goals of the Plan which will determine its success are:


The development of the Plan involved an intense co-produced effort. 

With Working Groups focused on each of the volunteering outcomes, they created a single high-level system map to inform ‘ideas for change’ and provide the basis for more detailed actions.

Be a part of the growing movement to change the way we support Scotland’s Volunteers