Tayside Council on Alcohol is one of our short-listed organisations up for the Youth Friendly Organisation award. TCA – originally developed in Dundee in 1972 – aims to provide a range of projects and services to those of different ages who are affected by alcohol misuse. To assist with this goal, they offer various volunteering opportunities for young people, with roles suiting a range of different personal skills and abilities. These include one-to-one mentoring for young people, mentoring for their girls’ and boys’ group, working on the Dundee Safezone bus (which involves ensuring those vulnerable have a safe route home), working for kith ‘n’ kin (where volunteers assist with the carer and children’s group) and volunteering with admin/office work.

As well as their volunteers gaining valuable, first-hand experience and skills, TCA volunteers are also provided with sufficient training for their roles and employment. Each volunteer who works with young people goes through four weeks of training dealing with child protection and vulnerable people, and every volunteer working for the Dundee safezone receives training in drug and alcohol awareness along with mental health first aid. The admin volunteers are also expected to undertake induction and mandatory health and safety training during their placement. Furthermore, volunteers are given special support throughout their experience; safe zone volunteers begin by being buddied up with more experienced volunteers, coordinators send one-to-one mentors on different organisation training opportunities, girl/boy group volunteers meet before the groups for discussions, kith ‘n’ kin have a debrief before and after sessions and admin volunteers are supervised by a manager.

TCA ensure to recognise and celebrate the contributions made by young volunteers. Some of these include a staff and volunteer away day, a volunteer appreciation event, nominating volunteers for their exceptional contribution for different awards, advertising part-time vacancies internally and regularly providing praise.

The volunteering experience finally gives volunteers a sense of self-reward where their contribution develops personal qualities. One volunteer said, “I feel really welcome and participating in the training feels like a real achievement. I’m looking forward to building positive relationships with young people and watching them grow in confidence and self-esteem just as I have.”

TCA believe to be ‘Youth Friendly’ through the several positive effects on their young volunteers and the impact on vulnerable young people. Best of luck to TCA in the upcoming award ceremony!

Rachel – Media Volunteer at Volunteer Dundee