Lauren McKinnon, Development Officer, Volunteering Pillar
Lauren is responsible for supporting organisations and individuals in Perth and Kinross with all aspects of volunteering good practice from volunteer management and recruitment to legislation, policy and more.
Read on to learn more about Lauren’s role, love for animals, and big goals for the future of TSI Perth & Kinross.
I’m a Development Officer for the TSI hub at PKAVS which means I work mainly with organisations who use volunteers and with volunteers themselves. My role covers volunteer management, recruitment, training, legislation and policy amongst other things.
Basically, I help organisations understand the best way to work with their volunteers as well as offering support to people who are looking to volunteer. I help them find opportunities that suit their skills and interests and can help them meet their goals.
I started in mainly customer service roles before I went to work for another charitable organisation, a care home. I worked in an admin support role for this organisation.
Through that job, I started to work with volunteers and I gradually became more involved in working with the service users in a direct support capacity. This sparked my passion for volunteering and so when an admin role with PKAVS came up two years ago I went for it!
I started out doing the admin comms for both the TSI and another service within the organisation before moving to my role as a Development Officer in September last year.
We have a small and close-knit team at PKAVS so I was fortunate to have the opportunity to experience many aspects of the role before moving into my new position.
My favourite part of my job is meeting new people and building great relationships with the individuals and organisations I work with.
I love getting out into the community, seeing what their needs are and working out how we can meet them.
I also really enjoy getting to work with young people, helping them to realise their potential and empowering them to go after opportunities that could help them with their future.
It’s never a boring job!
In terms of my role, the main challenge is the number of available volunteers.
During the pandemic, there was a massive uplift in people volunteering and this has dropped significantly as things have returned to normal, which has left organisations struggling a little.
The cost of living crisis is also a huge challenge for the third sector at the moment as, while the need for a lot of services is increasing, many organisations haven’t got the funds available to them to meet this need. It’s really stretching them.
First of all, I volunteer! I’m on the board of an organisation called Social Flock, a community clothing initiative which supports people of all ages to look and feel good in their clothes. Most Sundays I go and help out there.
Outside of that, I look after my fish and frogs. I have two fish and eight frogs. They’re very cute! I also really enjoy gaming, reading and spending time with my parent’s dog. I watch him a lot because he’s an anxious puppy and hates being on his own. I always jump at the chance to dog-sit whenever they have plans.
I would probably say ‘Listen to your parents and actually take on board what they’re telling you because it’s usually in your best interest!’.
I’d also tell myself to make sure I’m doing the things that I want to do, not just the things I think I should be doing.
My favourite day of the week is probably Friday, which makes it sound like I don’t like my job but that’s not true!
I just love the feeling on a Friday evening when I get home after a productive week and everything’s done and I can settle in and play the Playstation for a bit and look forward to the rest of the weekend ahead of me.
I enjoy being able to relax and reset for the week.
My favourite artist at the moment is the band IDLES and I’d have to say that their song Danny Nedelko is my favourite. I just love the message behind it, it’s all about unity and inclusion and it’s just a great song.
I want to see an increase in our engagement with young people. We’re working on it at the moment but I’d like to see a thriving community where young people know what we do and what we can help them with as I think young people are an audience that doesn’t always get tapped into for us.