Volunteering Festival 2018 Draws to a close

This week saw the end of the second Festival of Volunteering draw to a close, and what a busy and successful Festival it has been. The week kicked off with the with the Association of Volunteer Managers (AVOM) and Heritage Volunteers Organisers Scotland (HVOS) Conference Inclusive Volunteering, Inspiring Participation which saw over 85 delegates gather at the Engine Shed Stirling for a day of networking and workshops including Measuring volunteer impact and Embedding Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Not even Storm Ali could keep people away, and the day finished with a networking session in the Community Bubble!
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Day two saw SVE host two back to back events beginning with the Inspiring Volunteer Awards Coproduction Workshop in the morning, co delivered with Stirling Council. SVE invited past award winners, judges, sponsors and guests together for a morning of breakfast and brainstorming to evaluate the previous awards and generate ideas for an even more spectacular ceremony during the Festival of Volunteering 2019. This was a busy and lively morning full of discussion and ideas generation. Guests also watched a short video from previous awards and listened to a winner from 2015 talk about her volunteering journey and what receiving her award meant to her.

This was followed by the Supported Volunteer 15 Year Celebration as during the Festival of Volunteering, we want to celebrate all volunteers, but there is something special about individuals who have faced adversity and yet still give their time to help make our communities a better place to live. Many organisations, past and present volunteers and service referrers joined us to celebrate, including NHS and Stirling Councils Employability Service. In addition, new referrers joined us from Forth Valley College and Stirling Councils Activity Agreement. During the celebrations, we also took the opportunity to gather some feedback on the service in the hope that we can use this to support more people in the Stirling area and help make the difference to people lives. We also heard a personal account from a volunteer of the impact the service had made to her life.

CTSI also hosted their annual Clacks Connect event which aimed to bring together funders and national organisations who offer support and advice to third sector organisations. The event provided a fantastic opportunity for Third Sector Organisations throughout the Forth Valley area to network with local and national agencies.

The main event was the Festival of Volunteering Family Day at Kings Park on Saturday 22nd which saw over 2500 people gather to celebrate volunteering. A host of free activities for all the family were laid on in King’s Park including bubble football, water walkers, bungee trampolines, bouncy castles and a silent disco. Over 30 charities and organisations also took part in the event ranging from Transition Stirling from Trossachs Search and Rescue. The event was also supported by Police Scotland Youth Volunteers who handed out over 750 goodie bag to families. Chief Executive from Volunteer Scotland George Thomson said,

‘The Family Day is all about connecting people and building strong communities. We recognise that people aren’t just interested in individual opportunities, many are looking for ways the whole family can get involved in helping out. It was great to see so many families getting together on Saturday to celebrate volunteering, and find out more about getting involved and back the City’s bid to become European Volunteering Capital in 2020.’

The Festival drew to a close on Tuesday 25th September with a sold out youth conference at the Tolbooth. The event looked at ways to create a more inclusive future for youth volunteering in Scotland. At the conference Stirling were presented with their certificate of candidacy for European City of Volunteering 2020. Councillor Chris Kane was there to collect the certificate on behalf of the City which was presented to him by Cabinet Secretary Aileen Campbell. On presenting him with the certificate Campbell said,

'I'm delighted to formally endorse Stirling's bid for European volunteering capital 2020. being declared a candidate city is a wonderful testament to all those volunteers who enrich the lives of our communities . it is also an opportunity for us to show the judges that we have the potential to do so much more - to inspire volunteers across the continent and encourage even more people to get involved.'

Currently over 130 local and national organisations are backing Stirling's bid to become European Volunteering Capital 2020. There is still time to add your organisations support. You can do so by clicking here.

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