Third sector


Volunteers make an enormous contribution to the lives of individuals and communities across Scotland, and effectively contribute more than £2 billion to the Scottish economy every year.

In 2016, 27% of adults reported having provided unpaid help to organisations and groups in the previous 12 months. While adult volunteering has remained relatively stable from year to year, youth volunteering is growing, rising from 33% in 2009 to 52% in 2016.

We are committed to reinvigorating volunteering and doing more to support groups currently held back from volunteering, such as disabled people, older people and people out of work. The main ways in which we promote and support volunteering are set out below.

Outcomes framework for volunteering

We are working in partnership the sector as well as Young Scot and Project Scotland, to develop an outcomes framework for volunteering which will:

  • define the key outcomes for volunteering in Scotland
  • identify the key data and evidence that will inform, indicate and drive performance at national and local level
  • allow informed debate and decision about the optimal combination of programmes, investments and interventions

Direct funding

We provide direct funding to the volunteering sector to support the national and local infrastructure. This includes support to Volunteer Scotland to develop, promote and enhance volunteering across Scotland, and to the 32 third sector interfaces and their representative national organisation, Voluntary Action Scotland, to carry out four key functions, one of which is volunteering.

Volunteering Support Fund

Voluntary Action Fund delivers the Volunteering Support Fund on our behalf to community grass-roots organisations, supporting them to promote volunteering among a variety of groups and particularly within disadvantaged groups. We are putting £3.8 million into the Volunteering Support Fund over four years from 2017 to 2018 onwards, to be distributed as grants of up to £10,000.

Find out more on the Voluntary Action Fund website.

Saltire Awards

The Saltire Awards are our youth volunteering awards for people aged from 12 to 25. The awards aim to strengthen the links between volunteering and schools, and increase opportunities for young people to volunteer locally.

Find out more on the Saltire Awards website.

Young Scot

We provide funding to Young Scot to work collaboratively with many organisations, including Police Scotland, sportscotland, Scottish National Heritage, Creative Scotland and YouthLink, to create and promote volunteering opportunities for young people.

Find out more on the Young Scot website.

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