News  |  Posted December 23, 2022

All You Need Are Your Ideas!

Might you be a good fit for our Volunteer Development Advisory Group? Read on to find out.

“You’re fired!”

The two (possibly two and a half) words are synonymous with the TV show, The Apprentice. In case you’re not familiar, in The Apprentice a group of well-attired professionals perform a group task and debrief in the Boardroom. In the impersonal office, the professionals explain to Lord Alan Sugar how they contributed to the task and why they deserve to stay above all others. Usually arguments ensue, fingers are pointed, and someone has to explain why they created a baffling logo.

While The Apprentice’s Boardroom makes your palms sweaty and has so much bickering that you think you’re in the penguin enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo, our Volunteer Development Advisory Group (VDAG) is the exact opposite. VDAG is creative, calm and collaborative. It’s friendly and it’s thought-provoking. It’s worth getting involved in.

But what is VDAG?

One of the many things that makes us unique here at PAS is that we are a volunteer-led organisation. Being volunteer-led means that decisions about how we work and what we do are influenced and led by our volunteers.

VDAG is a group set up by our board to discuss matters relating to volunteering at PAS. Discussions are chaired by a board member, and the outcomes are used to advise the board and CEO. Topics include volunteer programmes, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events and how to support and encourage volunteers. As one VDAG member, Jill Paterson, puts it VDAG is “a great small group that plays an important role in the organisation”.

Get involved

Are you looking for a creative challenge? Well, you’re in luck – we’re currently looking for people to join our great small group. As with all our volunteering opportunities, it’s a time limited role, not a life sentence! Even small (but insightful) contributions can have a big impact on the work we do and how we do it, so we value the input of our VDAG members.

VDAG’s primary aim is to provide guidance and advice about volunteer management approaches, ensuring that our programme of volunteering activities matches the needs of PAS. The second aim is to ensure that our volunteers have an interesting and valuable time at PAS. From learning new skills and meeting new people to using your planning know-how to help the public engage with the planning system, we’re determined that our volunteers have a great experience. The role of VDAG is essential to us because who else is better placed to design a meaningful volunteer journey than some of our volunteers?

VDAG meets once every three months. As the members of VDAG come from all corners of Scotland and are at different stages of their career, sessions are held online, in the evening.

Volunteers have varying reasons for joining VDAG. Sharon Marklow joined “to positively shape the volunteering experience from what I have learnt and discovered over the years by volunteering for PAS.” Claire Hunt participates in VDAG to “repay the experience I was getting volunteering, by sharing some of my previous experience in the third/volunteer sector. It has also allowed me to increase my network and given me a greater insight to the wider role of PAS as an organisation. I would encourage anyone who is even mildly interested to apply, as all opinions and ideas are welcome and we ultimately want to better PAS and the volunteer experience for all involved.”

“By joining the VDAG group you can positively influence volunteering for PAS,” adds Sharon.

VDAG can offer you the “opportunity to make a positive contribution to the organisation in a friendly environment and in a manner that is not overly onerous in terms of your time,” adds Declan King.

Interested PAS volunteers can join VDAG. As Jill puts it: “All you need is your ideas”. Meetings are friendly and relaxed, and offer you the opportunity to shape volunteering for yourself and others.

Get in touch

To express an interest in joining VDAG, please contact It would also be possible to attend a meeting as a shadow member to see if it’s right for you.