AVA Blog

Volunteers versus staff - Home-Start Garioch

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Home-StartIt’s hard to put a value on a volunteer - they’re priceless. There are so many aspects to volunteering that money can’t buy – the social interaction, the community engagement, generations working together, helping community projects to thrive, sustaining much-needed local services to name a few. Putting a monetary figure on a team of volunteers for one year brings in to sharp relief exactly how much value they give to the sector and the community. Homestart Garioch took a look at the value of their volunteers’ contribution…here are the figures:

  • Home-Start Garioch currently have 58 home-visiting volunteers to support families for around 2-3 hours per week (not including traveling time and assuming they are only supporting one family). That's a minimum of 116 hours per week of support being given free.  The only cost is their travel expenses. 
  • If they replaced volunteers with an employed family support worker/coordinator and added in the necessary travel time of 2 extra hours per week for phone calls, writing up reports, possible meetings with the families and other professions etc. this would mean total staff hours of 232 per week.
  • At Home-Start Garioch a full-time member of staff works 35 hours per week meaning that they would have to employ 6 full-time staff members and 1 part-time staff member to cover the hours that their 58 volunteers currently do.
  • The average salary cost for a coordinator/family support worker is around £24,000. This would equate to around
    £160,000 (not including pension, employer’s contributions etc).


So, in 2016, the volunteer cost for Home-Start Garioch was £9,700.  To employ staff to do the same would be £160,000 - a massive saving per annum of £150,000 and that's just for Home-Start Garioch! Now imagine what the value of volunteers across the whole of Scotland would be…

Thanks to Mhairi Philip from Homestart Garioch for the statistics in this article.

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  1. Alison Knight

    Well done Mhairi for highlighting the massive contribution of volunteers and the third sector.

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