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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Youth volunteering grows in Scotland

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A report into the activities of Scotland's third sector interfaces uncovers a dramatic increase in youth volunteering

New figures from Voluntary Action Scotland (VAS) have shown a significant spike in youth volunteering in Scotland.

The figures show that in 2014/15 over 24,000 young people were awarded Saltire certificates recognising their youth volunteering. This represents an increase of 5,000 from 2013/14 and over 10,000 since 2012/13 when the figure stood at 14,000 Saltire certificates awarded in the year.

The figures are part of a new report from VASentitled Collaborating for Community Impact, which looks at the impact third sector interfaces (TSIs), which deliver the Saltire awards, are having in supporting the third sector across Scotland.

This report once again demonstrates the importance of a strong third sector infrastructure to support, connect, enable and develop the third sector locally - Calum Irving

The report, launched this week, draws together information from across Scotland’s 32 TSIs and acts as a comprehensive overview of the work they have undertaken in 2014/15. Amongst the report is the news that in 2014/15 TSIs supported over 11,800 third sector organisations, delivered over 1,000 training events and supported over 8,600 individuals into volunteer placements. It also highlights how TSIs bring together the local third sector and public bodies to support collaborative approaches to tackling issues in our society.

TSIs are funded by the Scottish Government to develop volunteering, support and develop social enterprise and voluntary and community organisations, and build the third sector relationship with community planning locally.

Calum Irving, chief executive of VAS, said: “We are delighted with the findings of this report which highlight the significant impact that TSIs are having across Scotland.

“One figure that really stood out was the rise in the number of young people achieving Saltire Awards for youth volunteering, over 24,000, which is an increase of over 10,000 in the space of two years. The thousands and thousands of young people improving their communities through volunteering needs to be celebrated.

“We believe this report once again demonstrates the importance of a strong third sector infrastructure to support, connect, enable and develop the third sector locally.”

Despite an overall promising picture, the report also highlights falling staff and volunteer numbers within TSIs overall. The report attributes this to funding pressures, as most TSIs report a stand-still or reduced budget despite an increase in demand for their services.

Going forward, the report recognises that sustainable funding will remain an issue and that some TSIs may need to re-allocate resources to prioritise their core fuctions.