Volunteering with Rowan Alba


CARDS (Community Alcohol Related Damage Service) is a befriending service run by Rowan Alba and volunteers. We currently have 40 volunteers supporting the CARDS service. This unique volunteer led service in Edinburgh works with people who have a history of problematic alcohol use and with people regardless of where they are in their life; whether they are currently drinking, in recovery or contemplating a lifestyle change. Without our volunteers the service quite simply would not exist and many vulnerable people in the community would be without any kind of support.

As a volunteer, you meet with a service user once a week or on a fortnightly basis for an hour. This is to provide company for people who are otherwise isolated from society. You then meet frequently with Rowan Alba supervisors and fellow volunteers during group supervisions.

At CARDS we periodically review the level of inclusiveness and equality of our volunteer pool by monitoring the diversity of our volunteer team. We do this in order to put into place, where needed, steps to increase diversity and representation from our local community, this may involve for example reaching out to different groups in our community to talk about what we do. We welcome feedback and input from our current volunteers on ways to improve representation.

However, it’s not just our CARDS service that you can volunteer with. Contact tracey.stewart@rowanalba.org to find out about all of our volunteering opportunities.

I have worked in the social care sector and Rowan Alba in many different roles. In one way, or another, all involve listening to people and allowing them the space to talk and explore. We work on this everyday at Rowan Alba and I especially enjoy this part of my role.

I am proud of what the CARDS service has achieved, developing from an idea into an army of volunteers who listen to and support some of Edinburgh’s most isolated, misunderstood and charismatic individuals.

Tracey Stewart

Volunteers Coordinator, Rowan Alba

Active Volunteer

If you are a current volunteer, you can find compulsory reading for new CARDS volunteers, volunteer policies and procedures, useful forms and much more in the volunteer resources pages. We aim to give you a supportive, rewarding, interesting and challenging experience. We hope that you will find the information contained on the volunteer pages of the website to be informative and easy to use. If, however, you have any problems navigating around the pages or finding what you are looking for please contact us. We also welcome your suggestions for the website and resources for volunteers. 

Becoming a volunteer

CARDS volunteers will be given role specific initial training on lone working, boundaries and ARBD awareness. This training takes place periodically usually in the evening from 6-8pm at our head office. Please contact CARDS on cards@rowanalba.org if you have not yet been given a date for your initial training.

Rowan Alba have also produced a compulsory training plan for all staff and volunteers. Six key training courses have been identified that will need to be completed by all volunteers as part of the induction process

Staff and volunteers will also read the corresponding Rowan Alba Policy and in supervision they will reflect on how the specific training course and policy will impact on their day to day practice.  In this discussion we would expect you to show that you are able to link your learning to your role as a CARDS volunteer,

Enhanced volunteering

We have volunteers who are involved in fundraising, social media, volunteer support and supervision, service evaluations, and administration.  We also have volunteers who have an advisory role as they have expertise in an area relevant to our service and clients. If you are interested in being more involved with the service please contact us.