Calling All Organisations Supporting Health and Well-being

Do you, as a member of staff or as a volunteer, have list of really good services that you share amongst your staff and volunteers to help all your clients and supported people, especially for all those difficult enquiries where people really need help?

Have you created your own directory of what is available in Aberdeen?

If the answer is yes to either of the above, we’d love to talk to you, as there is a massive project going on, mapping all the supports we have in Aberdeen for everyone involved in supporting health and wellbeing

NHS 24, NHS Inform and the new Scottish Service Directory are joining with ALISS, the 3rd sector national database to create a fantastic resource for everyone!

Can you help?

If you can send us your list or talk to us about it, we would love to hear more!

Please contact Jane Russell as soon as you can!

Deadline: 8th February 2019


ACVO Appoints First Female Chair

ACVO is delighted to announce the appointment of its first female chair.

Liv Cockburn, who has been serving as vice chair of ACVO for the past 2 years, took over the role following the ACVO AGM.

Liv has spent many years working in the 3rd sector and currently works with Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) as part of the Community Links Workers project.

Liv said about the appointment “I am honoured to take on the role as Chair of ACVO following a number of years serving on the board.  ACVO is a great example of what a 3rd Sector Interface should be in its support for the 3rd sector and advocacy for it in public sector structures”

Thoughts from a Funding Adviser

The following article was written by Alison Chandler Funding & Business Planning Officer

It has been a busy summer in the ACVO office and every day is a school day.  Here are some of the bits of learning – sometimes painful – that we have seen Third Sector organisations go through in terms of their grant-seeking from independent funders.

1. How to get turned down for a grant really quickly:

  • Don’t fill in the application form.

We see lots of versions of this.  One is to leave sections of the form incomplete and refer the readers to additional separate printed materials.  The readers are the people who will make the decisions on your application.  They are busy people.  They may be printing off at home or reading off a screen. Your doing this means the reader has to print out the additional material as well as the form – and you cannot guarantee that they will.  Essential information must be included in the application form itself.  Also, the funder will have spent effort working out which questions to ask and it is this precise information that the reader is seeking – not the information that you have chosen for another general purpose and put into a glossy document.

Another version of the problem is the applicant who gives a one sentence reply to a question which has an answer space capable of taking 500 words.  If the funder has left a lot of space it is because they want a lot of information. Really think about what is being looked for and use the space to be as convincing as possible about it. Always do the maximum not the minimum.

Another is repetition.  If you find yourself repeating the same statement in several questions on the application then you are not filling in the application form properly. The reader does not want to read the same statement over and over again.  If you think they have asked for the same information again, you are wrong. Go back and really think about the questions being asked and how they relate to the guidelines and criteria.  Where you have duplicated you can make space to score more highly against what they are looking for.

  • Ask for the round figure which is the total that they will give.

Look at the maximum they will give and pop that round figure into the box where they are you about your project’s expenditure – that’s a great way to get rejected. If you look like you have not thought about the costs of and income to your project why should a funder trust you to manage the project?  You must make the case for every £.  Why do you need £5000 not (perhaps) £4357?  Round figures look like guesses not quotes from suppliers or previous experience.  If you have not thought carefully about your application why should a funder think carefully about it?

  • Presume the funder understands your situation.

You may explain what you need and why you need it – but have you made clear why you need it from this funder? Have you left them thinking:  Isn’t all education funded by the government?  Yours is an essential service so surely it must be core funded?  You have a large grant from the Big Lottery or money in the bank so that must be usable for the work isn’t it?  Surely the parents of these children could pay for your activities? Not all funders are well informed and up-to-date with the state of public funding or what it takes to run a third sector organisation.  It is their money and the onus is on you to explain why they should grant it to you.

  • Tell lies

When a funder doesn’t have a form to fill in you have to decide for yourself what to say.  If you say that “any amount would make a significant difference to our clients” you are not communicating the truth.  A £5 donation would not make a difference.  Don’t see the lack of a form as a way out of answering questions you find difficult – the funder wants to know the same things whether there is a form or not. What do you need to spend money on?  What will be achieved with specific amounts?  If you cannot research what would be a suitable amount to apply for then give them a meaningful shopping list: Amount A is what you need as a minimum (explain why)  Amount B is what you dream of (explain what it would mean).  Amount C would at least achieve some little thing and is better than walking away with nothing (or £5).

2. Why not aspire rather than stagger?

Two grant-seeking strategies:

  • Spend your time researching very long lists of more and more potential funders.

Chuck out any with difficult application forms or requirements.

Put in application after application for small amounts to sources you have no relationship with.

Mainly get turned down or receive small amounts.

Keep going on and on and on while largely relying on the same old sources – Council and time-consuming community fundraising.

  • Become the kind of organisation which will be well funded by a short list of major funders. Application forms are only difficult if you don’t have the answers.

Draft applications and have  ACVO review them before you send – we can usually do so with just a day or so’s notice.

Funders willing to help with major grants and for core costs are looking for organisations that can demonstrate good governance and leadership. clear strategic thinking, sustainable business planning, diversified fundraising strategy, connectivity and evidenced relevance in their community.  They want you to be able to answer Why You? So What? And Who Says?   If you are not sure what these mean or whether you shape up then why not find out.

Spend the time you are currently wasting on option 1 above working with the expert ACVO team  – working on these.

Increase your success rate and build foundations for the future.

Invest your whole team in developing your organisation to be fundable and then reap the benefits forever after.

ACVO’s Sandy Mathers can help you develop your governance and leadership, monitoring and evaluation.
Alison Chandler and Kaja Czuchinka can help you develop your strategic thinking, business planning, fundraising strategy and review your funding applications.
Alasdair Simpson, Alison Chandler, and Mike Melvin can help you reach out to the community to consult, recruit and promote your work.
Joyce Duncan, Jane Russell, Maggie Hepburn, Susan Morrison, and Matt Carle can help you with your connectivity.
Ann Corbin and Sarah Irvine can help you develop your financial administration and book-keeping.

Booking Now Open for Social Enterprise Showcase

Third sector organisations play a crucial role in the health and social care sector generating £8.5m to the Scottish economy and providing the support millions of people rely on. This event showcases cutting edge work done by charities and social enterprises in Aberdeen within the theme of health and wellbeing. Join us for an afternoon of TED-style talks from inspiring third sector speakers and find out about innovative work done in Aberdeen!

For the full programme and more information about the speakers please click here.

When? 4th October 2018, 11:30am – 3pm

Where? Transition Extreme, Links Rd, Aberdeen AB24 5NN

Book Now

Your People – Aberdeen Harbour Board

Your People Our Communities highlights volunteering by people employed in the private sector. We believe there is commercial value in employers recognising and applauding the volunteering that their colleagues carry out in their own time as well as in work time. Volunteering, above all, makes a huge difference to the people and places which benefit.

We are delighted that Aberdeen Harbour Board has told us a story of their people.

If you would like to tell us a story, get help to encourage your teams or to promote the idea to charities or employers you are working with, just get in touch.

Read Aberdeen Harbour Board’s story here

Calling All Dynamic Thinkers of the Third Sector!

Do you have an idea you would like to share?

Do you feel strongly about an important health and social care issue? Are you working with people in a different way than everybody else? Are you using a new technology to help your clients?

We are looking for individuals for our TED-style talk event on 4th October. This event provides an opportunity to showcase your cutting-edge work to the third, public and private sectors.

To find out more click here:

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

ACVO Recognised for Excellence

ACVO was delighted to be recognised for its commitment to excellence at the recent Quality Scotland Scottish Awards for Business Excellence. ACVO was presented with the EFQM – European Foundation for Quality Management Committed to Excellence Award.

It was a great honour and tremendous achievement – with ACVO being the first Third Sector Interface in the country to achieve this level of award/accreditation.

Claire Ford, Chief Executive, Quality Scotland stated “Achieving Committed Excellence, the first level of global accreditation using the EFQM Excellence Model, is a clear demonstration of an organisation’s drive and desire to achieve sustainable business excellence. Congratulations again from myself and the Quality Scotland team.”

ACVO Bursary Scheme Re-opens

50% of all Affiliation fees each year is injected into the ACVO Bursary scheme and, with so many Affiliates renewing, ACVO are delighted to announce that the Bursary scheme has now re-opened for the second time in 2018.

If you know of or represent a Third Sector organisation working in Aberdeen that  is looking to take a specific step forward in terms of being more enterprising then you might apply.  Affiliates have previously made it possible to  support professional services, equipment, stock, training, promotional activities.   “Specific” is the key word here – we are looking to help where there is an opportunity arising that cannot be maximised without help. We have paid for scales for weighing vegetables and rolls of Harris tweed, we have paid for top-level public speaking training enabling its recipient to successfully pitch for a 6 figure sum and for a revamped website.

If your organisation is in a critical situation then we may be able to help you search for a way out of it.  This is a bursary scheme not a grants scheme.  We cannot pay for rent or salaries that you cannot afford to pay.  If your situation is truly critical then perhaps you may need some professional services – including fundraising consultancy – to get out of it. We often prefer to appoint services for you (rather than awarding a grant) so as to ensure that the benefit to you is maximised, duplication of TSI services does not occur and progress is effectively managed on your behalf) but we are willing to enter into discussion on this.

Please bear in mind that this is a small fund and we are more likely to make awards of under £1,000 than over.  The maximum will be £2,000.  We are able to make quick decisions and look forward to hearing from you.

Further information and application form is available at

ACVO Launches Initiative to Highlight Volunteers


In National Volunteers Week 2018, at the latest ACVO Affiliates event, award winning HR consultants  Hunter Adams backed ACVO in launching the “Your People – Our Communities Campaign”.  Susan Myles, Head of Hunter Adams North Region told the Hunter Adams story. In doing so she provided the first of the “Your People Highlights” we will be gathering from now on – from employers and from Third Sector organisations who have benefitted from volunteers employed in the private sector locally. The Highlights will be featured in the ACVO e:bulletin and new Business-to-Business Bulletin and amassed on a new “Your People” web-page.  We will tweet it and share it on Facebook and Linked In.

This campaign, part of the ongoing Big Aberdeen project founded in  2014, will not only highlight volunteering in work hours and provision of pro bono support. We believe there is commercial value in employers recognising and applauding the volunteering that their colleagues carry out in their own time too. Volunteering builds and practices useful business skills. It helps employees balance life and work.  Volunteers develop as leaders and spontaneously act as ambassadors for their employers.  People who coach football teams or guide uniformed groups are great team players whenever and wherever they give their time.  Volunteering can be in the office on fundraising bakes or as a team on a sponsored race.  It can be filling a box of tins for a food bank or sitting on a charity Board. Volunteering makes your people part of the community in which you do business.  Volunteering, above all, makes a huge difference to the people and places which benefit.

Simply tell us a story (in 500 words or less with pictures and logos) and we will get it in the next available bulletin and onto the website.  If you would like more help to encourage your teams or to promote the idea to charities or employers you are working with, just get in touch.

This project has the attention of The Scottish Government’s Third Sector Unit and of the network of Third Sector Interfaces across Scotland which they part-fund. ACVO is one such Interface and is leading the way in developing links between private and third sectors.  We are additionally looking to develop certification for volunteer employees and accreditation for companies that support them.

To read more about the project please visit –

For further information contact Alison Chandler or Mike Melvin

Alzheimer Scotland Open Latest Big Friendly Bench

This Dementia Awareness Week Alzheimer Scotland are making sure nobody faces dementia alone becoming the latest organisation to set up a Big Friendly Bench in Aberdeen.

Sara Geoghegan, Dementia Adviser with Alzheimer Scotland, said “We are delighted to become part of the Big Friendly Aberdeen Bench Initiative. The benches are a very creative way to promote the vital work and support that local voluntary organisations provide in the city. The Alzheimer Scotland purple bench is in a lovely location on the beach promenade looking out to the sea, so I am sure many people will be able to enjoy using it. Our key message on the back of the bench says ‘making sure nobody faces dementia alone’. We hope that this message will be a reminder that we can offer a lot of information and support to people living with dementia and their families in the local area and we would like anyone who could benefit from our services to get in touch. We have a Dementia Resource Centre on King Street which is a local hub to access information and activities.”

Linda Thompson, Corporate Fundraiser, added “Scotland’s local communities are at the centre of everything we do and our new Friendly Bench, alongside the interactive map being planned by ACVO, will help us to raise awareness of dementia and our and offer a place to rest and reflect. The plaque will guide people to our Resource Centre to help people across the city, their families and carers with information about all aspects of the illness. Many thanks to ANA Recruitment and everyone involved in creating our amazing purple bench.”

Big Aberdeen Friendly Benches are now dotted around Aberdeen City – raising awareness of myriad Third Sector organisations and encouraging Aberdonians to be friendly.

Each is a rejuvenated ACC bench with its base-coat painted in your colours by the ACC team.  You provide a design and at the allotted time your own team come down and paint the bench. A plaque with your web address is provided and fitted for you by ACVO Affiliates Recognition Express. The launch of your bench is celebrated by ACVO with a photo shoot as with this week’s Alzheimers Scotland bench. There is a £25 fee for entry which goes into the ACVO Bursary scheme to support other third sector initiatives in the City.

If you would like to have a bench then please get in touch and we will introduce you to our ACC partners to take it forward.  You can find out more about the scheme and get the application form at:

Alzheimer Scotland’s vision is clear, but there is still much work to be done. They believe that their commitment to local care and support, focused in Scotland’s communities, will go a very long way to overcoming the isolation experienced by many people with dementia and their carers. They are working towards a society where people can live well with dementia and thrive in their communities for as long as possible.

If you want to find out more about how they can support you, or someone close to you, please call the 24-hour Freephone Dementia Helpline on 0808 808 3000 or visit

Support and Celebrate Volunteers’ Week 2018

Volunteers’ Week – the national celebration of volunteering which takes place from the 1st -7th June 2018 is fast approaching and excitement is growing in Aberdeen and across the country!

This year the theme is ‘Volunteering For All’. There are many ways you can get involved and support Volunteers Week 2018 – including joining in the national Volunteers Week 2018 thunderclap to set the week off – details at

For more information, including great links and free downloads/resources to help you highlight and celebrate the fantastic contribution volunteers make please visit

Also, keep up to date with latest volunteering news and opportunities in Aberdeen at and

OSCR Guidance on Safeguarding

Safeguarding is the action that an organisation takes to promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults to protect them from harm.  This includes making sure that the appropriate policies and procedures are put in place.  Safeguarding includes child protection but goes further and extends to all vulnerable beneficiaries.

Safeguarding Guidance: Keeping vulnerable beneficiaries safe explains what is meant by safeguarding and highlights key steps charity trustees can take to make sure that it is considered in an appropriate way.  The guidance also looks at how charity trustee duties set out in the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 relate to safeguarding issues.

OSCR’s Head of Engagement Jude Turbyne said, “At OSCR we are committed to playing our part in strengthening safeguarding across the charity sector.

“This guidance is an important step.  It should help charity trustees understand their responsibilities with respect to safeguarding and we recommend all charity trustees take the time to read it thoroughly. The document has been designed to be clear and easy-to-use, providing reasonable steps that should be taken.  It also gives details of other organisations that may be able to help charities as they try to make sure they are getting safeguarding right.

“When problems do occur, it is important for trustees to address them vigorously and transparently.  We have a notifiable events system that should be used in circumstances like this, and the protection of vulnerable beneficiaries is a top priority for us in terms of taking swift and proportionate regulatory action”

We will be doing a lot of work on safeguarding during the coming year, working closely with other partners within and outwith the sector to support charities to be the best they can be in terms of their safeguarding policies and practices.  This may make us want to add to the guidance, and we will therefore review it during the year and update accordingly.  If you have any reflections on this guidance, please let us know.’

A 10-point infographic is also available from OSCR at

If you wish to discuss the implications of this guidance for your charity, contact Sandy Mathers, ACVO Development Officer on 01224 686075 or at;

MSP Flies the Flag for Childline Volunteers

Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart met with dedicated young volunteers as he presented Saltire Awards certificates to 41 volunteers at the NSPCC Childline service in Aberdeen. The Saltire Awards, which are endorsed by the Scottish Government, are for young people aged between 12 and 25 and recognise and reward them for their fantastic contribution to volunteering. The awards are co-ordinated in Aberdeen City by ACVO (Aberdeen’s third sector interface).

Kevin Stewart MSP took time to thank Aberdeen volunteers for their outstanding commitment to helping the NSPCC Childline service. The total number of volunteer hours from the 41 people honoured reached an amazing 6294 – and Kevin Stewart MSP was thrilled to be there to thank volunteers for the great commitment they give to the vital Childline service. He said “receiving a Saltire Award is an incredible achievement, because it is earned through hard work and dedication from purely voluntary service. Volunteers are the often unsung heroes in our communities which is why it is important that we recognise and celebrate the work of these amazing people who give their time for others. Some children live with unimaginable stress and pain, and having a service like Childline can be life changing because it gives them an opportunity to speak out safely and get the help they need. This vital service is only possible because of people volunteering.”

Kerri Stewart, Aberdeen Childline Volunteer Co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted to currently have a large number of young people volunteering with us. The contribution of our young volunteers is of great value to the service. They help make up the vital team of volunteers who are there for children and young people.”

Childline in Aberdeen are currently recruiting for more helpline volunteers so they can be there for even more young people and would be delighted to hear from anyone aged 16 or over who would be interested in giving their time. Visit or call the local Childline office on 01224 973030 for more information.

For more details about the Saltire Awards (for volunteers aged 12-25 years) please visit and

#BeLikeStAndrew this St Andrew’s Day

ACVO, Aberdeen’s Third Sector Interface is supporting the #BeLikeStAndrew campaign. The #BeLikeStAndrew campaign has been launched by the Scottish Government and is encouraging acts of kindness across Scotland as part of St Andrews Day celebrations.

This St Andrew’s Day – 30th November 2017 – people are encouraged to join in the spirit of St Andrew by being kind, inclusive and welcoming. St Andrew was an extraordinary person known for being exceptionally kind, inclusive and welcoming to friends and strangers alike – all values that are very much associated with the people of Scotland.

The #BeLikeStAndrew campaign is asking that on the 30th November everyone shares the values of St Andrew and collectively show they care – to quite literally #BeLikeStAndrew and undertake a little act of kindness that could have a big impact.

Whether it’s helping an older neighbour, popping into the local charity shop with a bag of clothes, getting involved in volunteering, signing up as an organ donor, helping at a community centre, donating to a local foodbank, helping at/organising a community litter clean up –anyone can #BeLikeStAndrew by creating their own little act of kindness – no matter how big or small.

Dr Alasdair Allan, Minister for International Development and Europe, said: “Our patron saint, St Andrew was known for being strong, sociable and fair, encouraging people to share what they had with those in need. Celebrating St Andrew’s Day presents a powerful opportunity for Scots to keep the spirit of St Andrew alive, by coming together and helping others within their community.”

Mike Melvin Coordinator at ACVO added “ACVO is delighted to support this excellent and inspiring campaign. It will be a fantastic St Andrews Day and the #BeLikeStAndrew campaign will greatly help in further building tremendous kindness volunteering and support in our communities.”

For inspiration on how to celebrate St Andrew’s Day or more information about the #BeLikeStAndrew campaign visit  and follow @AboutScotland on twitter/social media / using the hashtag #BeLikeStAndrew.

Record Month for Young Volunteers in Aberdeen

ACVO is celebrating after logging the busiest month on record for the Saltire Awards since the awards were first launched in April 2012 in Aberdeen.

The Saltire Awards recognise the contribution which 12-25 year olds make to their communities on a voluntary basis.

In September there were 116 new registrations and a total of 170 Saltire Award certificates issued in the last month.

Mike Melvin, Volunteer Co-ordinator at ACVO said, “This reflects the tremendous volunteering from young people in Aberdeen City and demonstrates the positive impact these awards are now having.”

Since the awards were first launched an incredible 284,028 hours of volunteering has now been recognised in Aberdeen alone.

With 2018 designated as the Year of the Young People in Scotland the excellent contribution that young people are making in our communities is set to increase and be recognised even further.

For more information about the Saltire Awards visit –

ACVO is Committed to Excellence

ACVO TSI is delighted to announce that we are the first Third Sector Interface to be recognised by Quality Scotland as ‘Committed to Excellence – 2 Star’.

Quality Scotland assessed and validated ACVO against the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Excellence Model, which provides a framework that encourages the cooperation, collaboration and innovation within organisations. The EFQM Excellence Model provides a holistic view of the organisation and it can be used to determine how these different methods fit together and complement each other.

The EFQM Excellence Model allows people to understand the cause and effect relationships between what their organisation does and the results it achieves.

ACVO strives for excellence in all the areas of performance with the organisation and we are delighted to have been recognised at such a high level.

New Volunteer Aberdeen Website Launched

Volunteer Aberdeen has launched a completely redesigned website to help connect the people of Aberdeen to volunteering opportunities.

Volunteer Aberdeen, which is run and operated by ACVO TSI, has developed a website that is intuitive, attractive, easy to use and informative. It is also a mobile friendly design so that it can be viewed on mobile devices and tablets.

The website makes it easy to search through Volunteer Aberdeen’s database of nearly 1000 volunteer opportunities, allowing members of the public to search by keyword, location, what they want to do or who they want to work with.  The charity also curates a list of ‘Hot Opportunities’ that highlights organisations in need.

The website also makes it easier for third sector organisations to find out about the help and support that Volunteer Aberdeen offer in promoting their volunteer opportunities.

Mike Melvin, Volunteer Co-ordinator at ACVO said “Aberdeen continues to be a city that is generous with its time, volunteering levels in Aberdeen are 9% above the national average, and it is important that all those who want to volunteer are able to easily find organisations in need.

“This new website brings volunteering into the 21st century and allows users to search for opportunities wherever they are and easily make connections.

“We welcome feedback, as the website will continually evolve to meet the needs of the people of Aberdeen”

The website is

Saltire Awards Surpasses 100,000 Milestone

Young people in Scotland are turning to volunteering in their thousands with numbers growing year on year.

As the country marks Volunteers’ Week 2017 (1 to 7 June), this is a trend reflected by the Scottish Government’s national youth volunteer initiative, the Saltire Awards, now celebrating the landmark 100,000 certificates it has awarded to young people since its launch five years ago.

The Saltire Awards aims to help broaden opportunities for 12 to 25-year-olds to volunteer and be recognised for their efforts. Voluntary Action Scotland (VAS) and the network of 32 local Third Sector Interfaces (TSIs) manage the programme, introduced in 2012 after a Scottish pilot. Since then, it has grown from 14,000 certificates awarded in 2012/13 to 27,000 in 2016/17.

In Aberdeen ACVO handed out 1044 certificates last year with 503 new young people registering for the awards during the same period – another record year for the awards and youth volunteering locally.

Since the scheme began in 2012 an incredible 268,792 hours of volunteering by young people in Aberdeen has been recognised by the awards.

While celebrating their achievements, the Saltire Awards encourages young people to try out new ideas and record their volunteering experiences, as well as the valuable life skills they gain. Incorporating the principles of Curriculum for Excellence, it helps them become successful learners and far more confident, content and responsible individuals, who go on to become significant contributors to society with greater job prospects.

Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities said: “I am delighted that over 100,000 Saltire Awards have now been presented to young people for their remarkable volunteering achievements, which shows their commitment to making a difference.

“We should all be very proud of the increase we have seen in our youth volunteering rate. I congratulate not only the volunteers but also the agencies, which are developing youth volunteering opportunities across Scotland.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our communities and we remain committed to doing all we can to ensure everyone who wants to volunteer can do so.”

Commenting on a growing trend that looks set to continue, Allan Johnstone, Acting Chief Executive, VAS said: “While volunteering enables young people to contribute to their local communities in ways that are enjoyable, fun and creative, they bring a fresh perspective and enthusiasm, offering valuable solutions to communities and voluntary organisations especially in challenging times.

“The substantial benefits that volunteering brings to our country, go way beyond the estimated £2.6 billion it is worth to the Scottish economy. For one, the ethos of support that young people take with them into adult life is a fundamental part of this country’s social fabric. As we celebrate 100,000 certificates during Volunteers’ Week 2017, we are delighted to be able to reward their significant impact on society through the awards.

“We also want to recognise the valuable input of the TSIs. By continuing their development work at a local level and encouraging sign up to the Saltire Awards, our aim to inspire even more young people to come on board and safeguard the culture of volunteering for generations to come.”

To participate in the Saltire Awards, young people can sign up at: or contact ACVO 686076

Aberdeen Gets Set for Volunteers Week

National Volunteers Week – 1st-7th June – celebrates the millions of volunteers throughout the country who do so much good for people and our communities. It is a time to:

  • Recognise the essential contribution volunteers make in our communities.
  • Give special thanks and recognition to people who volunteer.
  • Promote volunteering and inspire more people to get involved

There will be a huge range of fantastic events being held across Aberdeen during Volunteers Week and big announcements to recognise, celebrate and thank volunteers in Aberdeen for the tremendous contribution everyone makes with an amazing:

  • 70,500 plus people volunteering in Aberdeen
  • An incredible 8.7 million hours of volunteer help given annually in Aberdeen.

The following special thank you messages have been received at ACVO for volunteers in Aberdeen: 

‘Volunteers are part of the social fabric of Scotland and are at the heart of creating local social capital: Strengthening social connections and networks within communities; encouraging people to become active citizens; building local resilience. ACVO is the backbone of Volunteering in Aberdeen – they work hard, behind the scenes, to open up volunteering to all. Voluntary Action Scotland is delighted to join them in celebrating and recognising the contribution of volunteers this Volunteers’ Week.’ Allan Johnstone, Acting Chief Executive, Voluntary Action Scotland

 ‘I am always amazed at how many Aberdonians give up their time to volunteer for numerous organisations in our city. Without this army of volunteers many of the things that we take for granted just would not happen. Hats off to all of our city’s volunteers for all of your efforts!’ Kevin Stewart MSP, Aberdeen Central

 ‘On behalf of all of the team at ACVO, I would like to thank everyone involved in volunteering in Aberdeen.  Without your support, our work would be so much harder and less fun.  You have brought fantastic skills and enthusiasm which have made a difference to the lives of many in the city.  I urge you to continue to be involved in volunteering. Anyone wishing to join in helping as a volunteer can visit: and for more details’ Joyce Duncan, Chief Executive ACVO

 ‘In a world which is becoming very uncertain there is one certainty that will not change, that people volunteering in Scotland giving time within their communities is uplifting by building friendship and solidarity. Volunteers Week is a good time to celebrate this.’ George Thomson, Chief Executive of Volunteer Scotland

 ‘Volunteers’ Week Scotland offers a rare opportunity to mark the huge difference made by volunteers all over the country, and to catch the attention of potential new recruits. Don’t miss out on what’s set to be an inspirational week.’ Paul Okroj, Chairperson, Scottish Volunteering Forum

For more details about volunteer opportunities across Aberdeen please visit:

For latest Volunteers Week Scotland 2017 updates including links to events in Aberdeen please visit: and

ACVO Awards 2017

Top organisations and outstanding individuals working within Aberdeen’s third sector were recognised at a lunchtime ceremony on the 30th March.

ACVO TSI held its 5th annual awards at the Doubletree Hilton in Aberdeen.

This year ACVO brought together over 100 representatives from the private, public and third sector to recognise, not just the achievements of the third sector but all those who contribute to making Aberdeen a better place.

Following a performance by the VSA choir, the event was officially opened by ACVO’s Treasurer, Gordon Edwards and Lord Provost of Aberdeen, George Adam.

Gordon Edwards opened the event by saying “These awards are unique as they celebrate the work of individuals, organisations and collaborations all involving the third sector but also recognising the critical aspect of partnership with both the public and private sector which is key to third sector success and sustainability.

“We neither live nor work in a silo, our lives, our working experience and our happiness depends on building successful relationships with those around us.”

The first award of the night was the Connecting and Collaborating award which went to Move More Aberdeen.

Move More Aberdeen is a community-based physical activity programme specifically designed for people affected by cancer in Aberdeen City. Move More Aberdeen is funded by Macmillan Cancer Support and delivered in partnership with Sport Aberdeen, with support from CLAN Cancer Support, Paths for All and NHS Grampian.

One of the more hotly contested awards of the night was for the Friends of the Third Sector awards which saw the Enerco Group come out on top over fellow finalists Conocophilips and Hilton Garden Inn.  Enerco was nominated based on their work with the Denis Law Legacy Trust’s Streetsport.

This year’s Active Citizen, an award for an Aberdeen volunteer who has gone above and beyond the call of duty, was won by John Gall.

Lorna Dunbar, who nominated Mr Gall, said “John first began volunteering with Contact the Elderly, as a driver for one of our groups, 6 years ago. John realised that there was a need for more groups so that more isolated, lonely people in the community could be involved. From that one group 6 years ago, John has now been instrumental in starting no less than another 7 groups.

“Staff at Contact the Elderly are hugely grateful to John for all that he does, enabling us to reach many lonely, isolated people in Aberdeen, making a difference to their lives.”

Other award winners included Me Too Magazine, Aberdeen Community Energy, Home-start Aberdeen, SCARF and the City Centre Community Council.

After the awards concluded ACVO, on behalf of the Third Sector, presented the Lord Provost George Adam with a certificate and gift to show its appreciation for all the work he has done for the voluntary sector during his time in office.

Full List of Winners:

  • Active Citizen sponsored by Inchgarth Community Centre: John Gall
    Finalists: Antony McGowan and Elisabeth Barry
  • Big Aberdeen: Me Too! Magazine
  • Connecting and Collaborating sponsored by Glenbrex: Sport Aberdeen
    Finalists: Aberdeen FC Community Trust and The Active Aberdeen Partnership
  • Friend of the Third Sector: Enerco Group LTD
    Finalists: ConocoPhillips and Hilton Garden Inn
  • Improving Local Lives sponsored by Hall Morrice: City Centre Community Council
    Finalists: Befriend a Child Aberdeen and Aberdeen Muslims
  • Most Enterprising Third Sector Organisation sponsored by Anderson Anderson Brown: SCARF
    Finalists: Aberdeen Community Energy and Shazam Theatre Company
  • Top Newcomer sponsored by Tricker PR: Aberdeen Community Energy
    Finalist: Me Too! Magazine
  • Top Third Sector Team sponsored by Stronachs: Home-Start Aberdeen
    Finalists: Absafe and Barnardos North Locality

Two Weeks Until The ACVO Awards

We are two weeks away from the fifth annual ACVO award ceremony and we couldn’t be more hyped.

The ACVO offices are buzzing with excitement as the team is hard at work designing plaques, organising V.I.Ps and choosing menus for the big day.  Tickets are selling fast so make sure you act now to ensure that you aren’t missing out on what is sure to be a memorable lunch.

The ACVO Awards, now in their fifth year, were created to recognise volunteers, encourage good practice and aspiration in local Third Sector teams and to recognise support and partnership from friends in other sectors.

Each year the calibre of entries get better and this year is no exception so book your tickets ASAP to avoid disappointment.

The ACVO awards will take place on Thursday 30th March at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.

ACVO Awards Deadline Extended

The deadline for entries to this year’s ACVO Awards has been extended to 10th February.

Following a number of requests from potential nominees, we have decided to extend the deadline until 10th February to allow everyone the opportunity to take part.

We would like to thank everyone who was able to get their nomination in before the 31st of January. If anyone feels their nominations were rushed and would like to take another look please feel free to contact us.

The ACVO Awards, now in their fifth year, are run by local third sector interface, ACVO. They were created to recognise volunteers, encourage good practice and aspiration in local Third Sector teams and to recognise support and partnership from friends in other sectors.

ACVO Chief Executive, Joyce Duncan, said, “Aberdeen’s volunteers and third sector organisations make a huge difference to the lives of others. Through the ACVO Awards, the city as a whole has an opportunity to recognise and reward all of their work.”

“We want to encourage everyone who feels they know an organisation or an individual to nominate them so they can receive the recognition they deserve.”

There are 8 categories open for nomination this year:

  • Connecting and Collaborating sponsored by Glenbrex
  • Friend(s) of the Third Sector
  • Active Citizen
  • Top Third Sector Team sponsored by Stronachs
  • Top Newcomer sponsored by Tricker PR
  • Most Enterprising Third Sector Organisation sponsored by Anderson Anderson Brown
  • Improving Local Lives sponsored by Hall Morrice
  • Big Aberdeen

More Information and Nomination Form

Word Version of Nomination Form

ACVO Awards Now Open for Nominations

The third sector and the people of Aberdeen are being encouraged to nominate for the 2016/17 ACVO Awards.

The ACVO Awards, now in their fifth year, are run by local third sector interface, ACVO. They were created to recognise volunteers, encourage good practice and aspiration in local Third Sector teams and to recognise support and partnership from friends in other sectors.

ACVO Chief Executive, Joyce Duncan, said, “Aberdeen’s volunteers and third sector organisations make a huge difference to the lives of others. Through the ACVO Awards, the city as a whole has an opportunity to recognise and reward all of their work.”

“We want to encourage everyone who feels they knows an organisation or an individual to nominate them so they can receive the recognition they deserve.”

There are 8 categories open for nomination this year:

  • Connecting and Collaborating sponsored by Glenbrex
  • Friend(s) of the Third Sector
  • Active Citizen
  • Top Third Sector Team sponsored by Stronachs
  • Top Newcomer sponsored by Tricker PR
  • Most Enterprising Third Sector Organisation sponsored by Anderson Anderson Brown
  • Improving Local Lives sponsored by Hall Morrice
  • Big Aberdeen

More Information and Nomination Form

“Too old to use technology?“

img_8159“Well I’m nae!“ says Blanche, 81. The Aberdonian star of the latest Big Aberdeen Story told us this week.

“Look at me. I’m willing to have a go. It helps to keep your brain active.

“I wish I’d been taught this years ago as it’s taken me away from thinking about my aches and pains.”

Blanche’s story is the twelfth in the ever-building collection of true life tales gathered from Third Sector organisations to make it easy for you and your stakeholders to address the City’s gaps – whether as a referrer, educator, volunteer, partner, donor or in whatever other way – please share them.

Each story comes from a local Storyteller organization and Blanche’s comes from Silver City Surfers who run weekly sessions throughout the City, monthly talks, and an intergenerational project with Schools. Older people can learn technology at their own pace and within their own very local and social Community setting. Participants choose what and how they want to learn and can bring their own devices or use ones that are on site.

To read all twelve stories so far visit:

ACVO are keen to tell other stories – and would love to tell a Donor’s story. Stories can also be about clients, volunteers, apprentices, staff and can be anonymized.

If you would like to submit a story click here.

Erskine Bench Unveiled

20161004_131105The second Blooming Big Aberdeen friendly bench has been unveiled in Seaton Park by veterans’ charity Erskine in their centenary year.

The Lord Provost of Aberdeen, George Adam, has officially revealed the Erskine bench on Cathedral Walk which is painted the colours of the medal ribbon which features on the charities logo.  The purpose of the ribbon is to connect Erskine in a clear way to its core focus – provision of care to members and ex members of the armed services.

Erskine has four care homes in Scotland, providing nursing, residential, respite and dementia care to veterans and their spouses.  The charity supports over 1,000 veterans and their spouses each year.

The friendly bench project is one of the most recent initiatives to have arisen from the Big Aberdeen Event in September 2014 and is supported by ACVO TSI in partnership with Aberdeen City Council.  Third sector organisations were invited to claim and design a bench in the city to raise awareness of the support and services they provide, with Erskine jumping at the chance to get involved.

Erskine Community Fundraiser for the North, Michael Parkes has invited local volunteers and supporters to the unveiling at 1pm as a thank you for all they do for the charity.

Speaking about the bench Michael said: “It is a great honour for Erskine’s Blooming Big Aberdeen friendly bench to be in one of Aberdeen’s most popular green spaces.  Thanks to our bench designers, Neil and Louise McIvor, they have helped make Cathedral Way even more picturesque!

“The project is a fantastic way to promote the charity in the city.  We will also be able to use it as an outreach point for local supporters, volunteers and veterans.  The North of Scotland has a rich history in the services so it is great that we can recognise this with the Erskine bench.  One of our veterans currently being cared for at The Erskine Home is originally from the Hilton area in Aberdeen.  Previous residents have also served in the Gordon Highlanders.”

Lord Provost George Adam said: “This initiative is a creative way of promoting the vital work of the third sector and at the same time adding something new to our parks and open spaces.  Erskine does an outstanding job caring for our veterans and I hope people using the park will see the bench and take the time to find out more.  A lot of work has been done in Seaton Park recently and I’d encourage everyone to come down and see how great it’s looking.”

Anyone interested in supporting Erskine locally can contact Michael Parkes on 07811 326 206.

Blooming Big Photo Exhibition Goes on Tour

img_1490The Blooming Big Aberdeen Photo Exhibition was created by the Finalists in a photography competition for 16-25 year olds living in the City. It ran from 22nd September 2015-2016.

The project used cultural activities to build bridges between people, to encourage people to get out and about in the City and to celebrate our clean green spaces.  The exhibition is also intended as a prompt for future Big Aberdeen activity to connect and challenge all parts of the city to come together, collaborate and create positive change.

The exhibition was at the following locations.

  • Beach Ballroom – 22nd til 30th September
  • NHS Health Village – 1st October til 25th October
  • ACC Staff Conference, Marischal College – 26th til 27th October
  • ACVO Affiliates Lunch, Café Coast – 28th October
  • ACVO Training Room – 28th October til 14th November
  • RGU, Sir Ian Wood Building – 14th til 25th November

More information about the Big Aberdeen movement is available at

Young Photographer Wins £1000 Prize in ACVO Photo Contest

erik-mrozinski-and-lord-provost-george-adamAt the Beautiful Scotland celebrations in The Beach Ballroom on Thursday 22nd September Erik Mrozinski (22) was announced by the Lord Provost as the winner of the Blooming Big Aberdeen photo competition.

The Blooming Big Aberdeen photo competition was designed by ACVO TSI to encourage young people to create images that express their views and experiences of the city.

Erik won a £1000 cash prize and, thanks to Aberdeen Football Club, exclusive and unique access to photograph Russell Anderson and players behind-the-scenes at Pittodrie.

Erik’s picture in the City Landscape category shows the Northern Lights playing in the sky over Aberdeen harbour and beat over 40 other entries in the competition.

The contest was judged by a panel from Aberdeen City Council Environmental Services, Aberdeen Youth Council, Graeme MacDonald Photography, ACVO and Aberdeen Inspired.  There was also a public vote at the David Welch Winter Gardens in which 336 visitors had their say.

The Awards presentation marks the second anniversary of The Big Aberdeen Event at Pittodire in 2014 which has kick-started a range of activities under its “Clean Green Aberdeen” theme.

An exhibition, sponsored by local fine art printing and developing service Photoghost, of all the shortlisted entrants across the five categories will travel to key locations across the City and an online Big Aberdeen Gallery of all entries is currently available on the ACVO website.

Winners in the individual categories will receive £100 prizes through the ACVO Bursary scheme into which ACVO Affiliated City businesses contribute while runners up will receive a donated voucher for the new Spree Book app.

northern-lights-erik-mrozinskiOVERALL WINNER – Northern Lights by Erik Mrozinski

City Landscape

1st– The Old and The New by Tom Inglis

2nd– Untitled by Eleonora Zapryanova

3rd– Untitled by Jane Tudorache

Street Photography

1st– Belmont Street- Grey by Daniel Kaminek

2nd– Entrance by Tom Inglis

3rd– Beach Scene by Xanthe Bodington

Conceptual and Expressive

1st– Broadford Works by Caitlin Wilkinson

2nd– Frozen Fall of Snow by Pabbathi Venkata Prashanth

3rd– Untitled by Erin Wyness

Nature in Bloom

1st– Untitled by Jane Tudorache

2nd– Low Tide by Daniel Kaminek

3rd– Alice in Hazelhead Park by Stoika Panova

Portrait on Location

1st– Blooming Seagulls by Rebecca Carnegy

2nd– Kevin by Patrick Neville

3rd– Badime by Margeaux Demeyer

The Future is Bright and the Future is Social Impact

ACVO TSI is delighted to announce that the Social Impact Report on Social transport in Aberdeen City is now available on the ACVO Website.

For two years ACVO, via their Reshaping Care for Older People (RCOP) funded social transport project, have been helping Aberdeen city residents, aged 55 and over, who are unable to use public transport to access health and social care appointments and get out and about.

Highlights from the report include:

  • The project impacted positively on everyone that registered and used the service
  • The service succeeded in being person-centred, door to door, nil or low cost travel for individuals, allowing people to take part in activities conducive to improving or maintaining their quality of life
  • Continued investment in this service would result in even more of an impact for patients, carers and the health services in the city.
  • Social Impact is an important consideration for all new innovation in Health & Social Care and should be considered as a vital component for all pilots and innovation as we move forward in the Integration of services here in Aberdeen
  • The 3rd sector is ideally placed to implement this type of research as it is in daily close contact with and a conduit for, wider society with regards to a very broad range of life issues.
  • It shows the 3rd sector to be inherently dynamic, innovative and reflexive and able to make a significant contribution in the context of partnership working which will improve and maintain the quality of life for Aberdeen citizens

Joyce Duncan CEO said “I’m delighted to be able to release this report produced by ACVO’s Social Impact Research consultant, Dr Rob Craig. We believe this partnership project has delivered a useful evidence base which will help our partners and funders make better decisions based on transparency, clarity and accessibility.

We know this has built a great foundation to explore even more areas of concern in the city and will help to tackle some of the challenges facing people’s ability to keep well.”

The report, executive summary and information leaflet can be found below:

Friendly Bench Project Launched

Pic 3A project to encourage engagement between Aberdeen organisations and their communities burst into life on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 as the finishing touches were put to the city’s first Blooming Big Aberdeen friendly bench.  Representatives from Blooming Big Aberdeen and family support charity Home-Start Aberdeen came together in Hazlehead Park to celebrate the colourful addition of a freshly-painted Home-Start Aberdeen bench.

The friendly bench project is one of the most recent initiatives to have arisen from the Big Aberdeen Event in September 2014 and is supported by ACVO TSI in partnership with Aberdeen City Council.  It invites third sector organisations to claim and design a bench in the city to raise awareness of the support and services that they provide. Participating organisations are encouraged to create an eye-catching bench design that reflects their identity and activities, then work jointly with the other project partners to implement it.

“The big messages from the Big Aberdeen Event were ‘Let’s do something about the gaps between rich and poor’ and ‘Let’s celebrate our green spaces’,” said Alison Chandler, enterprise & sustainability lead, ACVO TSI.

“The Blooming Big Aberdeen bench project will get people talking and finding out about the great work being done around the city.

“We hope people will have fun out and about, tracking down the dozens of other friendly benches that will be popping up around Aberdeen over the months ahead in playparks, playgrounds and green spaces.”

The sunshine shone over Hazlehead Park as the final touches were put to the Home-Start Aberdeen bench accompanied by the celebratory skirl of bagpipes. Staff and volunteers from Home-Start Aberdeen were joined by families who are supported by the charity to celebrate completion of the bench.  While the adults busied themselves stencilling the charity’s helping hands logo onto the bench, some of the group’s younger members were entertained with outdoor activities organised by Home-Start Aberdeen’s co-ordinators.

“We first heard about the friendly bench project some months ago and were instantly captivated by the idea,” says Georgette Cobban, scheme manager, Home-Start Aberdeen. “Our raison d’être is to provide city-based families who may be suffering from isolation with emotional and practical support. We hope that the bench will encourage parents who didn’t know about our services to consider getting in touch.

“I also anticipate that the bench will become a popular meeting point for our existing families and their volunteers, as many of them like to make use of the fantastic community spaces that we have here in the city.

“It’s wonderful for both the charity – and for those who need our help – that there is another physical reminder of our presence in such a popular family area.”

Over the coming weeks other Blooming Big Aberdeen friendly benches will appear in popular city spaces – including Seaton Park and the Beach Esplanade – and along walking routes such as the former Deeside railway line.  Plaques for each of the benches are being produced and donated by corporate branding specialists, Recognition Express Scotland Ltd.

Further information on the friendly bench project and other Blooming Big Aberdeen initiatives is available here  For more information on the family support services provided by Home-Start Aberdeen visit