COP26 Volunteering



As part of our support for the COP26 summit in November, the University has agreed to match the annual leave for University staff who wish to volunteer with paid volunteering leave on a one-for-one basis (for example, volunteering for six days will require only three days of annual leave, with the rest matched as volunteering leave.).



For the first time, the UK will host COP26 (Conference of Parties) in Glasgow on 1-12 November 2021. The climate talks will be the biggest international summit the UK has ever hosted; bringing together heads of state, climate experts, young people, civil society, trade unions, faith groups and Indigenous Peoples to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.

Over 30,000 delegates are expected to attend COP 26 which will be delivered across two sites - the Scottish Events Campus (SEC) (referred to as the Blue Zone) and the Glasgow Science Centre (known as the Green Zone).

The Blue Zone is a UN-managed space which hosts the negotiations. The space brings together delegations from 197 Parties, alongside observer organisations to share their stories at panel discussions, side events, exhibits, and cultural events.

The Green Zone is managed by the UK Government, and is a platform for the general public, youth groups, civil society, academia, artists, business and others to have their voices heard through events, exhibitions, workshops and talks that promote dialogue, awareness, education and commitments.



A variety of volunteer roles will be available in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, including providing information on the conference and the venues, supporting delegates staying in and travelling around the city, and promoting the best of what Glasgow and Scotland has to offer. Volunteers should expect to undertake around six shifts during this time and will be invited to attend training ahead of these dates.

Further information can be found, including how to apply, at Colleagues wishing to volunteer should discuss this with their line manager in the first instance before proceeding to make their application.


Volunteering Leave

In support of the conference, the University will match any leave taken by colleagues for the purposes of volunteering with up to three day’s paid volunteering leave, subject to meeting the following requirements:

  • Proof of official volunteer status can be provided
  • The volunteer takes an equal number of annual leave days to match the University provision (i.e. a one-for-one basis)
  • The leave is arranged with the prior agreement of the appropriate line management and specific dates requested at the earliest opportunity
  • Sufficient numbers of staff are available in all areas to maintain necessary performance, safety, and service standards

Any additional leave requested by volunteers should be met through normal annual leave entitlement or, exceptionally, through unpaid leave of absence agreed by the relevant manager, subject to the above provisions.

Leave Applications

Colleagues wishing to apply for leave as outlined above should discuss this with their line manager in the first instance. Leave should then be booked on the CoreHR system in the normal way, at the earliest opportunity. This should be done by booking a mixture of annual leave and ‘volunteering leave’ days in line with the University’s commitment to match one-for-one. For example, if volunteering for 6 days this would be recorded as three days of annual leave and three days of volunteering leave (i.e. the matched days). Line managers should support and manage any such requests to ensure the appropriate number of volunteering days are utilised.

For all other leave applications, including any which exceed the facilities outlined above, leave should be requested as per normal arrangements.