“Volunteers can be life-changing and life-saving.”

Paul, CARDS Volunteer & Thorntree St. worker

Volunteering Opportunities

Volunteers are a vital part of the work that Rowan Alba does. We are committed to the development of our volunteers and the quality of the experiences they get with us. All areas of Rowan Alba who need volunteering help will list their descriptions on this page. You can also keep up to date through our social media channels.

Volunteer Befriender, CARDS

When you volunteer for CARDS you can end the isolation of someone who has a problematic relationship with alcohol.
All you need to do is have a regular conversation. As you talk, you might also learn alot about yourself from them.
Volunteering for CARDS can open up many new skills and opportunities. Through our excellent training resources, we will prepare you for volunteering so that you will feel safe and supported at all times.
The experience you will gain during your volunteering could be the to start of an important new journey in your life and the life of the person you will befriend.

Community Alcohol Related Damages Service, CARDS for short, is a befriending service run by Rowan Alba. Health care specialists, GP’s, hospitals and mental health services refer people to our service. These people, for various reasons have become isolated and have developed a problematic relationship with alcohol. Simply just having someone to talk to could make a big difference to them.

About Rowan Alba
Rowan Alba Limited is a charity set up to work with people who are at risk of becoming homeless. We believe that all individuals have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. We offer support in a person-centred way, with the individual actively involved in planning their own care.

Experience Required
The most important thing you can bring to CARDS is to be able to listen without judgement and understand the benefit of human contact.
You will also need to understand or have compassion towards people who have had a difficult relationship with alcohol now or in the past. If you have had experience in a role where managing relationships is key it’s beneficial, but not essential.

We specifically welcome people to our team who bring their own experiences of alcohol harm. Half our staff team have expert lived experience and we simply could not provide and develop our service without it. Some organisations chose to group people in to categories of Peer and Non Peer. We just like having lots of people that do a good job and want to move away from the labelling.

Training Details
For full details of our application process, please follow this link: https://rowanalba.org/volunteering-for-cards/

Flexibility & Commitment

We ask that you prepare to spend the first two months joining the team and doing the necessary admin including your application to join the PVG scheme. Only after this would you be introduced to someone and start to form a relationship. It is not possible to be fully operational and offer a good service with a time commitment of less than 1 year.

Location/Travel Details
Our head office is situated at Fountainbridge however we are operating from home with limited meetings as a team in different locations. The recruitment and induction process will take place online and then you will progress to either telephone calls with the individual you will be working with or begin the double visits with our excellent team of experienced staff. You will be required to travel to and from your appointments which will be in the individuals own home or in a local cafe or community setting.

Email or hand in an expenses form and paid on the 20th of each month. Arrangements can be made to support with advance payments if this is helpful or would otherwise prevent you from volunteering.

Accessibility Details
If you have any accessibility needs we are happy to discuss them and how they can be accommodated during your volunteering.

How you apply
If you are interested in this volunteering role, download and complete our Application Form at the link below. Once you have completed the form, please email it to at cards@rowanalba.org
We recommend you read the Person Specification and Role description before you complete the application form.

If you have any questions about volunteering or the application process, please email our cards@rowanalba.org
For full details of our application process and lots more information about volunteering, please follow this link:

More information


Wellbeing & Activities Volunteer, Thorntree St.

Service: Thorntree
Role Title: Wellbeing & Activities Volunteer
Expenses: Travel
Type of appointment: Volunteer
Reports to: Wellbeing & Activities Coordinator
Responsible to: Service Manager
Working hours: Working hours are negotiable dependent on personal circumstances and service requirements


To organise and create varied activities programme, from organised hobbies to group events, all of which will support our service users.
To assist with the co-ordination of activities and functions for our service users.


  • Plan and implement various activities that caters for all service users
  • Develop and implement activities that are culturally and sensitively appropriate
  • Encourage and motivate service users to partake in the activities
  • Plan and implement various activities that will involve social inclusion
  • Plan and implement various activities that will involve service users and staff Manage, monitor, and evaluate activates undertaken
  • To facilitate therapeutic and recreational groups alongside Thorntree staff.
  • Work as part of a team to aid and support service users.
  • Provide support to service users on an individual and group basis
  • To prepare and plan activities that will help break down barriers the service users may have
  • Report concerns about service users and those whose needs are not being met by the service to the service manager/your supervisor.
  • Suggest ideas in the overall development of the service.
  • To work as part of a team to provide better and fairer services to service users, their families and the wider community.
  • To cooperate with their supervisor, to work safely, to comply with health and safety instructions and information
  • Not to interfere with intentionally or recklessly or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety and welfare and undertake appropriate health and safety training as required.
  • To respect peoples’ differences, and to actively encourage equality of opportunity in all areas of one’s work.
  • To ensure a safe environment for service users, colleagues, and visitors in accordance with the Rowan Alba’s Health & Safety Policy.
  • To adhere to Rowan Alba’s policies, procedures, protocols, and guidelines always, Confidentiality and Information Sharing Policy.
  • To always work within agreed professional boundaries.
  • To maintain quality standards in every area of one’s work.
  • To make use of regular supervision and support.
  • To take responsibility for updating personal knowledge and skills to meet the demands of the post.


  • Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults – All Rowan Alba employees/volunteers are required to adhere to the principles of effective and safe safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults
  • Infection Control – Infection Prevention and Control is the responsibility of all Rowan Alba staff. All staff have a responsibility to protect service users, visitors, and employees against the risk of acquiring health care associated infections by consistently observing Rowan Alba’s Infection Prevention and Control Policies and procedures and best practice guidance to maintain high standards of Infection Prevention and Control.

Benefits / Training and Support :

  • Regular reflective practice supervisions from a clinical psychologist/psychotherapist who works with individuals and groups effected by homelessness. (This will return when restrictions are lifted, and groups are allowed)
  • Supervision is mandatory and nonnegotiable.
  • Get valuable experience working with this client group and be part of a progressive organisation with a wider aim of homelessness prevention.
  • Full access to Rowan Alba training package which includes reduced cost or free SVQ qualifications, ILM Coaching certificates
  • Training on ARBD, person centered philosophy, coaching practice, boundaries, lone working, harm reduction, mental health and any other training deemed relevant to your work.
  • We have a pathway to employment where those looking to work in the sector achieve the experience necessary to meet industry wide person specifications for the job roles within our organization and across this industry.
  • We welcome individuals who have their own lived experience with problematic alcohol use and support you to use this experience in the support of another safely.

Health and Safety

  • Rowan Alba take the Health and Safety of both service user and volunteer extremely seriously. Following on from referral information obtained, project staff will carry out a comprehensive risk assessment of working with the service user from a perspective of ensuring the person referred meets the broad service provision criteria and to minimise any risks to volunteers and project staff. You as the volunteer are responsible for communicating any new risks so we can keep this role safe for all.

Time Commitment:
A minimum regular commitment of two hours per week for 6 months is required. The volunteer can terminate the arrangement at any time.

Criminal Convictions Checks:
Rowan Alba Ltd carry out full disclosure and PVG checks for all employees and volunteers.

What to do next:
Contact Anastasiya (The Wellbeing & Activities Coordinator at Thorntree) at anastasiya.adashkevich@rowanalba.org or call 0131 555 5240 to receive more information about the role and the application process.