Our Place in Time (OPiT): The Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland was launched in 2014. It sets out a vision of how our historic environment can be understood, valued, cared for and enjoyed. The strategy was developed collaboratively by organisations and specialists in the historic environment sector and beyond.
OPiT Volunteering Group
The group first convened in June 2017 with the acknowledgment that volunteering is vital for community participation, health & wellbeing, skills development, storytelling and conservation of, and within, Scotland’s historic environment.
The group’s ambition is to ensure that the immense value of our people’s voluntary activity enriches the value of Scotland’s historic environment. Our five shared aims are to:
- Champion collaborations & projects that will assist in making it the norm to volunteer in Scotland by 2024
- Increase individual and community wellbeing through the feel good factor of volunteering and celebrating its benefits
- Increase inclusive practice and volunteer diversity within the historic environment sector
- Advocate the importance of volunteers and professionalism of volunteer managers
- Explore and evidence volunteering participation
Group membership comprises:
- Volunteer Scotland (Chair)
- Historic Environment Scotland
- National Trust for Scotland
- The Scottish Civic Trust
- National Galleries of Scotland
- Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion (SCAPE)
- Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (through Dig It!)
- Archaeology Scotland
- Museums Galleries Scotland
- Heritage Volunteer Organisers Scotland Network (HVOS)
The aim is to Place Scotland’s historic environment at the vanguard of an ambitious target to make it the norm to volunteer in Scotland. Your organisation can participate at any time throughout the campaign lifecycle by aligning your existing activities or creating new opportunities for volunteer participation.
This campaign will increase the number and diversity of people volunteering in Scotland’s historic environment by creating high quality volunteering opportunities, developing professionalism in volunteer management and advocating, evidencing and celebrating the benefits of volunteering.
We will harness the opportunities of Stirling year-long festival of volunteering and the first International Volunteering Expo in 2021 to showcase volunteering in the historic environment in Scotland. The campaign will engage with current heritage volunteers, volunteer organisers, leadership and individuals not yet volunteering to inform our approach. We will develop a strong digital presence to showcase events, research, training, and a volunteer recruitment campaign.
- Keep the OPiT Strategy and the new Scottish Government framework on volunteering at the core while building the evidence base for participation and promoting innovation.
- Ask leadership to pledge their organisation’s support for growth and inclusion in volunteering and in doing so commit the time and resources to drive the success of this campaign.
- Drive and facilitate collaboration, at home and internationally, to share the best of what Scotland’s organisation’s offer for volunteering.
- Champion creativity and co-design for events and projects within initiatives such as Scotland’s Year of Coast and Waters 2020, and Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022.
- Showcase heritage volunteering, through, for example, the Heritage Angel Awards, Scotland’s first World Volunteering EXPO 2021 and Stirling’s year-long Festival of Volunteering and goal to be the first destination to make it the norm to volunteer in Scotland.
Campaign Benefits & Outcomes
- Increased participation in volunteering resulting from new collaborative projects, heritage volunteering being highlighted at events and at the inaugural World Volunteering EXPO 2021.
- Resulting from the leadership pledge, success will be built upon increased collaboration and resource-sharing between organisations. This may include dedicated staff time, in-kind and monetary support and access to funding streams within and outwith the sector.
- New and strengthened partnerships between heritage and non-heritage organisations.
- In 2021 update the ’Volunteering and the Historic Environment’ research to report sector trends, demonstrate impact and inform further campaign delivery.
- A positive campaign evaluation in 2024, highlighting the many well-being benefits, including inspiring stories from first-time heritage volunteers.