The Voluntary Action Fund (VAF) has announced a new round of funding to help third sector organisations create new or enhanced volunteering projects. The Volunteering Support Grant 2016-17 will enable organisations to increase the diversity of their volunteer pool over an 11 month period.
Grants of up to £10,000 are available for individual organisations, which will be expected to recruit at least 15 additional volunteers (especially those who are disadvantaged in some way); and provide opportunities for both current and new volunteers to benefit from a meaningful volunteering experience, eg through training, learning new skills, and increased participation in their local community.
Mid Argyll Youth Development Services received a Volunteering Support Grant in 2015-16 to employ a part-time Development Officer to promote their volunteering programme and support volunteers in a variety of different roles. They developed volunteer packs and procedures and offered volunteers training in food hygiene and first aid and soon noticed the knock-on effects on the wider community of investing in their volunteers.
They observed, “One of the big things we have noticed through the volunteer grant is the development of relationships between older and younger generations within the community. For our older volunteers now working at various youth groups etc we have seen the breaking down of barriers and the enhancement of positive opinions and relationships between young and old.”
To be eligible, an applicant organisation should be working in Scotland; and have an annual income of under £250,000 (although those under £100,000 will be given priority if the fund is over-subscribed). It doesn’t have to be a registered charity, as long as its constitution makes clear that funds will not be distributed among its members.
Keith Wimbles, VAF’s Chief Executive said, “Last year over 10,000 volunteers were involved in and supported by this fund; providing more than 7,000 volunteering hours in total per week throughout Scotland. Using Volunteer Scotland’s calculations that equates to £5.5 million per year in monetary terms: five times the value of the funding invested in them! Moreover, from over 34 years of grant-making, VAF has strong evidence that added value is about more than just money – the social and health benefits of volunteering to individuals, communities and society far outweigh the financial gain. We look forward to working with organisations to provide even more volunteering opportunities to benefit individuals, local groups and the wider community in the year ahead.”
Further details about what’s eligible and how to apply; and the application form and guidance notes can be downloaded directly from the Voluntary Action Fund website at www.voluntaryactionfund.org.uk/funding-and-support/volunteering-development-grants.
The deadline for applications is 31st March 2016.