£1.1 million to recruit volunteers

Grants to help organisations in deprived communities.

People from disadvantaged backgrounds will receive training and help to become volunteers, Communities Secretary Angela Constance revealed at the start of Volunteers’ Week.

In 2016-17 Volunteering Support Fund grants worth £1.1 million have been awarded to 117 community organisations which are working in deprived communities, promoting the arts, safeguarding heritage and conserving the environment.

Organisations will be encouraged to use the grants to recruit volunteers from vulnerable backgrounds. This could include people who have mental health issues, have learning disabilities or are unemployed.

Ms Constance said:

“This £1.1 million funding boost will help organisations across the country recruit, support and train volunteers to address the inequalities and poverty in their areas.

“The funding will target people who have been marginalised in the past because of their age, background or health, and support them to become volunteers. Whether it’s by mentoring young people, refurbishing an old building or coaching the local football team, we know that volunteering is a way of boosting self-confidence, making new friends and learning new skills.

“Volunteers’ Week is an opportunity to say a big thank you to Scotland’s one million volunteers and celebrate the positive difference they are making to their communities.”

Scottish Government investment in 2015/16 supported 7,735 volunteers, including 4,753 from disadvantaged backgrounds, with them providing over 9,000 hours of activity per week.

Keith Wimbles, Chief Executive of the Voluntary Action Fund, said:

“Now in its fourth round, the Volunteering Support Fund provides grants of up to £10,000 for organisations to increase the diversity of their volunteers, and improve the way they support them.

“VAF is delighted to be working with the Scottish Government again to provide funding and a programme of support and training to funded organisations.”

Ms Constance visited Saughton Park in Edinburgh to meet the Green Team which will receive £9,932 through the fund in 2016-17. The project was set up to help young people improve their local green spaces.

Penny Radway, the manager of the Green Team said:

“The Volunteering Support Fund will enable the Green Team to recruit new volunteers experiencing disadvantages in their lives and give them the support they need to get involved in environmental projects in the local community.”

Notes to editors

The list of 117 organisations awarded funding is available at: http://www.voluntaryactionfund.org.uk/files/2914/6417/0578/VSG_16-17_Funded_Organisations.pdf

More information on Volunteers’ Week which runs from June 1 to 12 is available at: http://volunteersweek.org/about

The Volunteering Support Fund is being delivered on behalf of the Scottish Government by the Voluntary Action Fund.

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