Nominated as a finalist in our Youth Organisation category is Police Scotland Youth Volunteers (PSYV).

PSYV have grown from five beginner groups in 2014 to over thirty five groups today spread across the country, providing many opportunities for young people. The projects involve a police constable leading a group of volunteers between the ages of 10-18 along with support from adult volunteers. The aims of the programme are to strengthen a positive relationship with the police and young people, whilst providing a practical way of understanding policing and an engagement with the community. PSYV work on the basis where young volunteers- with the exception of evening training sessions – are encouraged to participate in three events they would most like to take part in. These include gala days, fayres, leaflet drops, interview panels and fundraising at several local events along with peer education opportunities in schools covering the topics of knifecrime, internet safety, drugs, alcohol and more.

Police Scotland Youth Volunteer Sophie (16), states “I volunteer to help the community, I enjoy it because the public are always grateful which make you feel happy, I have made so many new friends and gained confidence from it.” Not only, do PSYV provide young people with new life skills and knowledge, but being involved is also a rewarding experience where individuals establish a strong bond with the rest of their group and are awarded for their efforts. For instance, the group take part in fun social events to celebrate such as BBQs, activity days out, movie and football nights to name a few! They also recognise their volunteers through a local PSYV awards ceremony, a national ceremony, local youth awards, Youngscot Awards and Saltire Awards.

The programme also pays very close attention to their volunteers’ ages to provide fulfilling experiences. For example, they incorporate three different teams; Junior PSYV which is for 10-13 year olds, PSYV involving 13-18 year olds, and their adult team. They are very effective in catering to young volunteers transitioning into adult volunteers providing training courses on child protection and delegating more responsibilities. “I love volunteering and seeing the difference on people’s faces in the public when we help them. I come back because it’s like a family and they mean so much to me.” Deputy Senior Youth Volunteer Cara (16). We wish PSYV luck in the upcoming awards ceremony!

Rachel – Media Volunteer at Volunteer Dundee