ACVO Affiliates Lunch at CFINE

WP_20160624_13_00_09_ProFeedback from the latest ACVO Affiliates Lunch, held at CFINE’s new Training kitchen, was that the input was “ informative and valuable “ for both private and third sector guests.

Stronachs Partner Eric Gilligan gave a detailed insight into particular employment law issues for Third Sector employers and introduced Collette Oliver of Social Stuff, a new social enterprise to the city.

Dave Simmers gave details of the ways in which the new Training kitchen can be used and Affiliate Brian Shanks spoke of the value to individuals of volunteering their business skills when facing a change in their career circumstances.

More information about the ACVO Affiliates scheme is available at

Big Aberdeen Good Causes Day

WP_20160626_13_13_33_ProSunday 26th Good Causes Day at Aberdeen Sports Village was the contribution to the Big Aberdeen movement of a group of business people led by Scott McDougall and Jeanette Lowe.

On a fantastically sunny day stall holders from many Aberdeen charities, charity mascots, superheroes and princesses large and small joined ACVO and the Lord Provost in a day of fun and awareness raising and the creation of a legacy for the City’s play parks.

Big Aberdeen Good Causes benches supplied by Aberdeen City Council  were painted by children on the spot in fantastic bright colours and will be positioned in playparks across the City as a place for parents and grandparents to sit and a signpost to the charity services available should they have needs unmet.

Individual Third Sector organisations can design and paint their own Blooming Big Aberdeen bench in a City greenspace and more information is available at


AFC Offer Top Prize to Photo Competition

bigbloomingtest2“Aberdeen Football Club are delighted to provide exclusive and unique access to photograph Russell Anderson and players behind-the-scenes at Pittodrie as a top  Blooming Big Aberdeen prize” announces Dave Macdermid at the Club.

The Blooming Big Aberdeen Photo Competition, created by ACVO, is a chance for young Aberdonians to express their experiences of the City and its people.  The Blooming Big Aberdeen competition is open to anyone aged between 16 and 25 living in Aberdeen City.

Alongside the offer from AFC the overall winner will also win a top prize of one thousand pounds and an intensive creative photography masterclass from award-winning Graeme MacDonald Photography.  Other exclusive location photo-shoots with prominent VIPs and a range of other prizes and opportunities including £100 cash are available for every category winner.

The contest is judged by a panel from Aberdeen City Council Environmental Services, Aberdeen Youth Council, Graham MacDonald and Aberdeen Inspired.

“Judging will not be all about technical skill and fancy cameras which are no more important than capturing something you want to express.” explained Alison Chandler, the competition organiser. “We are already seeing a fascinating range of entries showing our beautiful City, the life within it, and some of the challenges it presents for young people.”

Entries will be exhibited at locations throughout the City from August as part of the City’s Britain in Bloom and Beautiful Scotland activities and winners will be announced on 22nd September.  The exhibition is sponsored by local fine art printing and developing  service Photoghost.

Entry details are available at or

Aberdeen Gets Set for Volunteers Week 2016

volunteers weekNational Volunteers Week celebrates the millions of volunteers throughout the country who do so much good for 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

This year Volunteers Week has been extended and will now start on the 1st June 2016 and last right through to the 12th June 2016 (to also coincide with the celebration of the Queen’s birthday and Her Majesty’s patronage of more than 600 charities).

There will be a range of events held across Aberdeen during Volunteers Week to recognise, celebrate and thank volunteers for the tremendous contribution people make volunteering.

The Lord Provost of Aberdeen City Cllr. George Adam is also planning on volunteering with a different organisation each of the 12 days of the extended Volunteers Week Scotland 2016 and local MSPs, MP’s and councillors are providing great support. 

Joyce Duncan, Chief Executive at ACVO said “On behalf of all of the team at ACVO, I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in volunteering in the city throughout the year.  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.”

Kevin Stewart MSP, Aberdeen Central and Minister for Local Government & Housing, added “Without the work of volunteers many of the day to day things that we often take for granted in Aberdeen just would not happen. I’d like to thank all those folk who give up their time to volunteer and would urge others to think about volunteering during this National Volunteers Week Scotland 2016.”

In Aberdeen:

-62,000 people volunteer
-Contribute an astounding 6.2 million hours of volunteer help annually in Aberdeen.

There are many different ways to get involved in volunteering and all help is greatly appreciated. For more details about volunteer opportunities across Aberdeen please visit: / and for latest Volunteers Week Scotland 2016 updates please visit:

ACVO Mental Health Directory

As part of Mental Health Awarness Week (16-22 May) ACVO have launched a directory of Mental Health Services in Aberdeen.

ACVO’s ongoing commitment is to partnership working and key to this is information sharing. As part of this we have compiled a comprehensive Directory of the 3rd Sector Mental Health Service Provision in Aberdeen City. This is not only across the sector but at National and Local levels too – all of which highlights the broad range and quite diverse spectrum of services available. Attached is a one-click link to this Directory, which will be hosted on our website

For ease of use we have tried to put it into as simple and straightforward a format as possible – however it is still a work in progress . Can I ask that, if relevant , you check that your organisation is listed and that all entry details are correct . Please let me know of any amendments required or omissions and I will ensure they are updated as quickly as possible. I will try to keep the Directory as up to date as possible, but need your assistance to do so.

Any feedback or comments will be most welcome and should be made to Susan Morrison tel. 01224 686070 email:

Big Aberdeen Stories Return

For 10 months of 2015/16, ACVO gathered onto its website big-aberdeen/bigaberdeenstories/ real stories of individual Aberdonians supported by local Third Sector organisations.

The stories highlighted issues; invited readers to engage with the “Storyteller” organisations as referrers, volunteers, donors or partners; drew connections to the myriad services and opportunities which exist for all of those with concern for such stories – and most of all they provided a new way of communicating the amazing courage and determination of local people.

We are relaunching Big Aberdeen Stories with a story for Mental Health Awareness Week from Penumbra and inviting you to be part of the project through 2016/17. We are not looking for a specific number of stories this year. We are looking for:

  • Powerful stories of life transition of a real, current Aberdonian
  • Stories that come from Third Sector organisations which can tell us how they see this opportunity providing tangible benefits for their organisation
  • Third Sector organisations that will actively promote and interact with the story (through social media, newsletters, at volunteers events or Board training etc)

To take part please visit or contact Alison Chandler to discuss further.

Keith story tell’s us about his battle with Mental Health issues. He was born and bred in Aberdeen. He spent 14 years working his way around the world as a truck driver with Formula 1. Following ongoing problems with alcohol and anxiety, he lost his job in 2007.

For Keith’s story please click here.

Here is what some of the 10 Storytellers have told us about what they got from the project:

“The Spark has benefitted from making new connections and raising awareness to new audiences.“ – Emma Cameron, The Spark

“A definite increase in awareness of CFINE and our support and services; improving profile and awareness has been a priority for CFINE over the past few years and BIG A def helped – lot of interest generated through ‘Stephen’s Story’. For ‘Stephen’ the exercise def had a positive impact with him feeling that he mattered, that some people cared – given his dreadful experiences and situation.” – Dave Simmers, CFINE

“We / AFCCT promoted my story via our website, twitter and facebook. As an outcome of this I have been approached by people who either volunteer or know about the trust asking a bit more about my journey

ACVO Award Winners

acvoawards2015The ACVO Awards for 2015/16 were presented on 29th March 2016 at The Doubletree Hilton Hotel with an attendance of 120 guests from across the Third, public and private sectors.  The winners were:

Active Citizen – Gladys Annand of Future Choices
Finalists were: Dave McLauchlin of Aberdeen Cyrenians, John Ingles of Gordon Highlanders Museum
Prizes in this category were generously gifted by The Marcliffe Hotel and Spa, Langstane Press*, Aberdeen Football Club, CFINE and Dolce Vita Flowers.

Emerging Social Enterprise (sponsored by Caber Coffee)  – Me Too Magazine
Finalist – The Wishing Tree

Established Social Enterprise (sponsored by Caber Coffee) – The Fine Peace Café at Sheddocksley Baptist Church
Finalists were: CFINE and Homestart

Friends of the Third Sector (sponsored by Recognition Express*) Amplus Energy Services
Finalists were: Chevron, Technip

Whole Oganisation: Home-start Aberdeen
Finalists were: Aberdeen Football Club Community Trust and  North East Sensory Services

Connecting and Collaborating: Transition Extreme
Finalists were Sport Aberdeen/Move More and Greenfingers at Aberdeen Foyer

Fundraising Impact: Robert Gordons University Main Event
Finalist: Kincorth and Leggart Community Council

Big Aberdeen (sponsored by The Royal Bank of Scotland*): Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE)
Finalists: Aberdeen City Council Environmental Services and Home-Start Aberdeen

*These companies are ACVO Affiiates.

Changes to Charity Reporting

From the 1st April, charities are going to start to seeing some changes.  The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) will be taking a more “targeted”  approach in order to  “better aim… efforts and energies at the charities and groups of charities that are likely to pose the highest risk to public trust and confidence in the sector.”

We dealt with the changes relating to the notification of serious incidents  in last week’s eBulletin.

The other changes that are being introduced on the 1st of April relate to the Annual Return which most charities now do online.  For most charities, (particularly those with an income under £25,000) there will be fewer questions to be answered.

OSCR maintain that “..none of these changes should be particularly tricky or complicated.”  OSCR is issuing guidance on the changes here;

The next obvious change that will be seen is that OSCR intends to publish all accounts from charities with an income of more than £25,000 and also the accounts of ALL Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations (SCIOs) on their website.

There is another way that your accounts can be displayed.  If your charity’s accounts are already published on your website, you can share this link with us on your Annual Return form and the link will be published on the Register.  If you were to use this method, it would be a great way of sharing other interesting information about your charity on the page, to really spell out your charity’s activities and impact.

For further information or support, contact ACVO Development Officer  Sandy Mathers on 01224 686075 or by email at;

New City, New Culture, New Language

20160309_134405-1In June 2015 ACVO launched the #10AberdeenStories project giving citizens an opportunity to get involved in helping fellow Aberdonians through a challenge in their lives, to share their experiences and have their voices heard.

10 months later we reach the last of these stories, each of which has chronicled the experiences of a real Aberdeen citizen and provided links to multiple organisations including sponsors, public bodies and charities.

We wanted to end the project on something of a high note – celebrating the diversity of our City. We have highlighted carers, volunteers, young employees and of course the clients and users of local Third Sector organisations. We also wanted to celebrate the employment opportunities the Third Sector provides and the culture of working life in organisations which truly value equality.

Explore Rosilda’s story and then come on a journey with us as we look towards the next stage of Big Aberdeen stories.

ACVO Awards Shortlist Announced!

ACVO are delighted to announce that the Shortlist for the ACVO Awards 2015/16 are as follows.

The finalists and winners will be announced at the Awards Luncheon on 29th March 2016. This event is now sold out. We are sure our readers will be very pleased to note that in these challenging times the Third Sector in this oil and gas city can give back.

The Awards shortlist acknowledges major Friends of the Third Sector supporting the communities in which they do business. This year’s Awards recognise also a wide range of effort to respond to the call, through the Big Aberdeen movement, for collaborative working across all parts of the City.

Big Aberdeen has found stories that need to be heard and partners willing to think differently – whether they are in the fields of faith, environment, education or recreation.

The shortlist acknowledges too the responsibility of organisations to look internally at their sustainability, volunteering and governance and the organisations shortlisted should all be acknowledged as leaders in the Aberdeen community.

Friends of the Third Sector: Amplus Energy Services, Chevron, Technip, Whitewolf Collective
Active Citizen: Gladys Annand of Future Choices , Graham Findlay of NESS , Dave McLauchlin of Aberdeen Cyrenians, John Ingles of Gordon Highlanders Museum
Connecting and Collaborating: Drugs Action, Sport Aberdeen/Move More, Transition Extreme, Greenfingers – Aberdeen Foyer
Big Aberdeen: CFINE, Shopmobility, Aberdeen City Council Environmental Services, Home-Start Aberdeen
Fundraising Impact: Robert Gordon University Main Event Team , Kincorth & Leggart Community Council
Whole Organisation: Aberdeen Footbacll Club Community Trust, Disabled Persons Housing Service, Home-Start Aberdeen, NESS
Established Social Enterprise: CFINE, Fine Peace Café , Home-Start Aberdeen , Inspire Café Coast
Emerging Social Enterprise: Me Too Magazine and The Wishing Tree

On being informed of her short listing Laura Easton, Stakeholder Engagement & Social Investment Advisor at Chevron, commented “That’s wonderful news, we are very excited about the Awards and looking forward to the lunch.”

Gette Cobban from Home-Start Aberdeen added “This is really great news, we are delighted!”

Amber Clarkson from Transition Extreme commented “Whoop whoop whoop!! Thank you and the we will be there!”

#10aberdeenstories – Roz’s Story

IMG_0637For 9 months now, ACVO has been gathering and sharing the real stories of individual people in Aberdeen who have been going through a transition in their life supported by a Third Sector organisation.

Our aims have been to make the needs of people in our City come alive in a really clear and understandable way, to highlight issues of importance that are apparent in those stories, to raise awareness of how you can connect with people in need and organisations helping them – whether as a referrer or signposter, donor or sponsor, volunteer or partner.

Each story gives you the chance to comment and feedback, to share and to tweet.

The 9th story is of Roz who brings her skills and enthusiasm to Inspire at Café Coast and to her interests in sport, singing and fundraising to give back to the community.

Please visit the story and give Roz and her friends at Inspire your feedback.

Aberdonians Respond Positively to Social Transport Project

The Transport to Healthcare Information Centre transport service, THInC in the City, has been given a huge boost with the results of a recent survey.

This popular service funded by, ACVO via the ‘Reshaping Care For Older People’ Change Fund, provides a valuable service for eligible citizens across the city that have particular conditions, which make using public transport quite difficult and challenging. The service has also been reducing the number of appointments not attended, reducing the number of missed appointments, mitigating wasted resources in terms of clinician’s time.

In a recent survey, carried out by ACVO TSI, 100% of passengers said that the service has given people more confidence in being able to travel to their appointments with 94% rating the service good or excellent.  The helpfulness of the driver was also highly commended.

Passengers provided the following additional comments:

  • “Taxis in Aberdeen are expensive and this service is very helpful”
  • “This is an excellent service… long may it continue”…“The minibus is clean and comfortable”
  • “The extremely nice lady who answers phone is so kind and also Mike, the driver very helpful, always a happy smile so friendly”
  • “It allows my dad to attend activities run by Alzheimer Scotland which without THInC he would not be able to access”.

While THInC in the City is still in its early stages, over 400 people have already registered to use the service. Nearly 2000 trips have been made since March 2015, charged at an incredibly reasonable rate of 45p per mile. The average charge to passengers is around £2.00.

One of the schemes strengths is to employ hand-picked drivers who are specially trained in Dementia – Awareness, Falls Awareness and Adult Protection issues and have the necessary people skills to make sure an individual feels safe from pick up to drop off, even including providing a handy wheelchair if required, to get them to the right clinic on time.

The phone number for any citizen wishing to see if they are eligible to use THInC in the City service is: 01224 665568

ACVO Welcomes New Chairperson

ACVO TSI is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Kenneth Simpson as the new chairman of its board and Liv Cockburn as Vice Chair.

Kenneth Simpson, a trustee of ACVO since 2011 and previously Vice Chair, succeeds John Tomlinson. ACVO would like to convey its appreciation to John Tomlinson. His leadership, talent and expertise have been great assets to the organisation in his time as chairman and it is pleased to have his continued involvement as a trustee.

Dr Simpson is an Aberdonian, was educated at Robert Gordons College in Aberdeen, is a qualified Rehabilitation Worker, Chartered Manager and is a graduate of the Robert Gordon University.

He worked in Health and Social Services before joining Guide Dogs in 1989, and served in a number of senior roles including, Regional Director, Deputy Director of Operations and Director of Development, joining VSA as Chief Executive in 2004. He is has 30 years experience in the voluntary sector and has served on a number of voluntary sector committees and Boards. He is currently a Board member of the Joint Integration Board and serves on the Community Planning Board and Aberdeen Social Enterprise Network.

ACVO Awards 2015


UPDATE – We can now confirm that the ACVO Awards have sold out.  Thanks to everyone who booked tickets and helping us sell out in record time.

Come and join ACVO as we honour the hard work and impact of the Aberdeen community – its active citizens, local groups, inspiring entrepeneurs and their friends in the public and private sectors.

Learn, Network and Enjoy a lovely lunch.

This cross sector event with real meaning and low cost is your opportunity to show you care about those making Aberdeen a better place to live, work and do business – whether in the arts or sport, horticulture or community safety, employability or family poverty.

Come and meet the Collaborators making Aberdeen change for the better.

How well do you know your City – come and find out!

Employability with Disability

DSC00440The eighth of ACVO ‘s 10 Big Aberdeen issues looks at volunteering by and for people with disabilities.

While Sarah supports Shopmobility’s services to make Aberdeen accessible to everyone, she also gets the satisfaction of a working life. Her story highlights the challenges for people in disability and long term ill health to find and keep employment.

Her story sits alongside others told for you within this Big Aberdeen project – on self-help, carers, youth employment and much more.

Visit to read Sarah’s story.

ACVO Looking for New Board Members

ACVO TSI is looking for new members to join its board. It currently has nine members and would seek up to three new ones to govern and support the organisation over the next three years. Having signed up for the Scottish Government’s 50/50 by 20/20, ACVO will give specific consideration to women and other under represented groups.

Anyone interested should download information from the links below and feel free to contact Joyce Duncan on 01224 686050 for further information.

Information for Potential Board Members
Application Form

Home Start Provide Valuable Family Support

Dick_Family_CollageIts nearly Christmas and the year is old. Are we really getting it right for every Aberdeen child ? Can you join in with a city-wide resolution to do even better in 2016?

This special month we tell the 7th of #10Aberdeenstories – picked up by today’s P&J (Friday 4th December) – the story of a real local family supported by Homestart but also by DPHS and other Third Sector organisations.

The Dick family was referred to Home-Start Aberdeen by their health visitor when Baxter was six months old. The health visitor felt that the family required support; James was working full-time and Ailsa’s time was dominated by Baxter’s needs.

Baxter has spina bifida and hydrocephalus and requires catheterisation every three hours. At the point of referral, Ailsa was struggling to spend quality time with her older son, Brodie.

Whether you are an individual, a business owner or a public official there is something in this story for you and a vast network of opportunities for you to engage with. There are other children like Brodie, Baxter and Caledonia in your city this Christmas and they need you to help make their lives right.

To read this months story click here or visit

NESDVA Raise Awareness of Social Isolation

WP_20151103_002ACVO has launched the latest in its series of stories highlighting the challenges local Aberdonians go through.

ACVO has through its #10aberdeenstories, been highlighting individual stories which provide a powerful insight into the work organisations and volunteers in the city.

Alex, 62, from Northfield, Aberdeen served in the British Army in Northern Ireland between 1970 and 1977.  He thought he made it back unscathed but not all wounds are obvious.  Now, as the nation remembers those who served, he tells his story within the #10Aberdeenstories from ACVO TSI

Alex says ““In the years when I first came back from my service it seemed as if my life has almost gone back to normal. I went back to work, I was spending time with my family and friends, and it all seemed alright.

“It wasn’t until my mother passed away in 2002 that the post traumatic stress hit me. I broke down during the funeral and it all just came back. All the feelings I have been pushing to the back of my head.

“For five years I was lost. I put myself in a social isolation, I lacked purpose, I just did not care about anything. I could not sleep; I would wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat, remembering all the horrible things. I even had thoughts of suicide crossing my mind.

“During those years I had my family there for me and I also was getting doctors’ help, but nothing seemed to make a difference.”

Alex was lucky that he met an old friend who was setting up a self-help group, North East Scotland Disabled Veterans Association (NESDVA).

Alex is now Secretary/Treasurer for the group is in a much better place emotionally.  He says “Ever since I became involved I am in a better place! I am comfortable talking in front of people and crowds don’t bother me anymore; family time is valuable again. I can plan for the future and I have a reason to get up in the morning! I feel appreciated and needed!”

Alex’s story is the 6th in the series of #10aberdeenstories and can be accessed here.

Fifth #10aberdeenstories Goes Live

Graham's-Story-PhotoThe fifth of the #10Aberdeenstories of the lives in transition of real Aberdonians comes this month just as the Storyteller celebrates winning probably the most prestigious Award in the North East.

Graham, whose story is told for October, has been harvesting his own fruit and veg at Hazelhead Park through the support of DA who have just won The Northern Star Award for Outstanding Contribution to Society.

DA have supported Graham in telling his story for you today. Graham himself is nominated for the Recovery Star Award 2015 –

Graham and his peers and comrades in alcohol and drug services in the City have had, and still have, many challenges to face since early childhood.

Find out how you can Connect and Collaborate to face the Challenges of your fellow Aberdonians and see what Change you can bring about for people like Graham, Dean, David and Cindy, Steve and Bob at

Big Aberdeen Awards Nominations Open

Nominations are now open for the 2015 Big Aberdeen Aberdeen Awards.

The ACVO Awards have been refreshed to reflect 2015/16 as the year of Big Aberdeen. Many of the familiar categories remain but there is greater emphasis throughout on the Big Aberdeen mission to encourage the City to “Connect, Collaborate, Challenge and Change”.

The Awards luncheon has moved venue for improved accessibility and the processes for nomination and self-nominations has been reviewed and improved. The acknowledgement and involvement opportunities for Sponsors have been significantly enhanced and the ticket price has been kept affordable.

Categories for this year include – Connecting and Collaborating, Friends of the 3rd Sector (Sponsored by Recognition Express), Active Citizen, Whole Organisation, Emerging Social Enterprise (Sponsored by Caber Coffee), Established Social Enterprise, Fundraising Impact and Big Aberdeen (Sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland).

Closing date for nominations is 15th January 2016 and the awards ceremony will be held on 29th March 2016.

Awards Nomination Pack and Guidance (PDF)
Awards Nomination Form (PDF)

Please send all applications to

It’s Your Blooming City – Express Yourself

Young people across the city are being challenged to showcase their photography skills for a cash prize.RG13

In a bid to drive creativity, the new Blooming Big Aberdeen photo competition invites 16-25 year olds to capture inspiration through images of the city and through interaction between generations.

The competition, run by ACVO, the third sector interface for Aberdeen City, aims to encourage self-expression and engagement – with the winner receiving a cash prize of £1,000 at an exhibition of finalists in summer 2016.

Alison Chandler, Funding & Business Planning Officer for ACVO, said: “We want to work with local projects so that they can use the competition to bring help young people to express their own creativity and to bring older people and younger people together in their communities

“We will welcome entries from students, from young people supported by charities and from the staff and customers of local businesses.

“The word “Blooming” is tongue-in-cheek and is used so that entrants can express themselves freely – not just taking pictures of pretty flowers.”

The competition is one of a series of upcoming events created as a result of the Big Aberdeen event which took place in September 2014.

Big Aberdeen is a collaborative effort between cultural, public, private and third sector organisations in an attempt to encourage a joined-up approach to the city.

Entry forms are now available and an expert judging panel from the worlds of photography, marketing, volunteering and environmental service will meet to consider entries.

Entrants can use camera phones or other equipment in five categories – including “Conceptual and Expressive” as well as “Nature in Bloom.”

Paula Middleton, Account Director for Abyss Marketing, said: “Being a local agency with strong ties to Aberdeen and the surrounding area, we are absolutely delighted to be involved in this very worthy and somewhat unusual project.

‘We’re particularly looking forward to working with our fellow partners on the judging panel to review all the entries over the coming months.”

Big Disruptive Breakfast

P1050026 (FB)One year to the day since The Big Aberdeen Event at Pittodrie, 70 leaders and emerging leaders gathered there again for a Big Disruptive Breakfast on 22nd September.

The concept of disruptive leadership was evident in the choice of local case studies – talking death over breakfast with Vanessa Smith from The Gate Project and hearing the stories of a Middlefield loon, Steve McKnight now of St James Place Wealth Management and the challenges of being a young female leader, Hannah Clews of RGU Streetsport.

Collaboration, active citizenship and innovation in public service were key themes raised by Joyce Duncan, CEO of ACVO and Steven Shaw ACC Environmental Services Manager. The table discussions which followed were delegates thoughts on great leadership and included the Emerging Leaders from all sectors invited by other delegates.

P1050041 (FB)Discussion led to the proposal of a calendar of Breakfasts stretching a year ahead at venues throughout the City – with themes such as food, litter, the sea, poverty, volunteering – further details to follow!
Delegates already involved in Big Aberdeen initiatives such as #10Aberdeenstories, Big Creative Aberdeen Picture and Blooming Big Aberdeen were congratulated for following the advice of Lord Andrew Mawson, last year’s Keynote Speaker, to “just do it “ and further linkage was welcomed – these initiatives all being designed as catalysts for further action by you .

The prospect of additional reward was flagged up with the launch of the ACVO Big Aberdeen Awards.

For further information on any of these initiatives please visit –

#10aberdeenstories – Dean’s Big Story

Ross County tripAs Big Aberdeen celebrates its birthday with a return to Pittodrie for The Big Disruptive Breakfast on 22nd September, it is fitting that the fourth of the #10Aberdeenstories talks of football, the amazing work of Aberdeen FC Community Trust and of young leadership.

The #10Aberdeenstories project aims to make it easier for all Aberdonians to Connect, Collaborate, Challenge and Change. Some stories talk of hugely challenging life changes. Some, like Dean’s story uploaded today, challenge us all to get involved with helping young people as they make a start in life. Some stories are told anonymously, some like Dean are able to share theirs with you face-to-face.

If you want to Connect your work to these stories or to have your voice heard on the issues highlighted please go right ahead. In the meantime, thankyou so much Dean for letting us tell your story.

To read Dean’s story visit:

This Month’s Big Aberdeen Story is…


#10aberdeenstories brings another life transition alive for August for you to connect with.

This third of our monthly stories looks  at how we move through our lives in connection with others and the challenges that relationships bring.  If our relationship  starts  to go wrong it impacts on all aspects of our lives – from work, health, finance, security, education and our community.

This month’s story, brought to you by The Spark brings two Big Aberdeen projects together.  We have introduced one of the artists who took part in The Big Creative Aberdeen Picture to  create a whole new way of  telling   Dave and Cindy’s story.  #10Aberdeenstories are of real individuals. Integrity is vital to this project.  #10Aberdeenstories must be told with respect to the real life changes of the individuals concerned.

To read this months story visit – or


New #10aberdeenstories Launches

ACVO has launched a challenging story of a cancer patient’s descent into poverty and a local charities support as part of its series of stories highlighting the challenges local Aberdonians go through.

The #10Aberdeenstories project gives citizens an opportunity to get involved in helping fellow Aberdonians through a challenge in their lives, to share their experiences and have their voices heard.

The second story, provided by CFINE, follows Steven who came to relay on food banks after undergoing a battle with cancer.

Steven says “I went back to my job but was made redundant due to closure of the company. I was unable to get a new job with my current health and disability. This forces me to start claiming benefits in the form of incapacity benefits and disability allowance. My whole life had to adjust to those changes. In June it was found that I had a brain infection and had to undergo three surgeries.”

“Now I relay on food banks as I struggle to maintain my flat and car, which is essential to get to my doctors/nurse appointments.”

Steven credits the help provided by CFINE with have changed his life for the better.  They provided Steven with not only the food he needed to survive but also help with budgeting and moral support.

Ten stories will be published over 10 months on the ACVO website chronicling the experiences of a real Aberdeen citizen. Details of the help given by various agencies, and the help still required, will not only provide a resource for people experiencing the same issues, but will enable citizens and agencies to offer further assistance.

The first story detailed Bob Walker’s experiences of caring for his wife Diane through early onset dementia.

Please visit to read Steven and Bob’s story or find out more about the programme.

ACVO Launches #10aberdeenstories

IMG_0885To kick off Volunteers Week and National Dementia Week ACVO has launched a new initiative in partnership with Robert Gordon University which highlights the life challenges of people living in Aberdeen.

The #10Aberdeenstories project gives citizens an opportunity to get involved in helping fellow Aberdonians through a challenge in their lives, to share their experiences and have their voices heard.

Ten stories will be published over 10 months on the ACVO website chronicling the experiences of a real Aberdeen citizen. Details of the help given by various agencies, and the help still required, will not only provide a resource for people experiencing the same issues, but will enable citizens and agencies to offer further assistance.

The first story details Bob Walker’s experiences of caring for his wife Diane through early onset dementia.

Bob, an insurance broker, called upon Alzheimers Scotland who helped out when Diane’s comparatively young age of 55 meant Bob encountered problems in finding suitable activities and care to allow him to continue working and for Diane to have as normal a life as possible.

Bob says: “Sadly Diane passed away last October and having been helped so much by others during our journey; I felt that it was my duty to pass on my experience to benefit others in some way.”

Subsequent stories will deal with other crucial issues for the community and the work done to help people through their life transitions.

ACVO strives to draw attention the life challenges of people living in Aberdeen – whether those are about health, poverty, work or family and to the support available within the city.

Professor Simon Burnett and researcher Lyndsay Bloice at Robert Gordon University will offer guidance on the narrative approach for sharing knowledge as the project develops and as lessons are learned from each story.

Professor Burnett explains: “Stories are tremendous tools for sharing experiences, and for reflecting on the experiences of others. It’s great to see ACVO recognising their value in helping people overcome personal issues and improve personal wellbeing. We’re delighted to be working with them on this significant project.”

The #10Aberdeenstories project has been launched in response to feedback from visitors to the Big Aberdeen Event held in autumn 2014, which saw over 3000 people come together in Pittodrie Stadium.

Please visit to read Bob’s story or find out more about the programme.

Volunteering Award Success for Absafe

Absafe Volunteering AwardACVO are delighted to announce that Absafe has been awarded the prestigious Volunteer Friendly Award.

Absafe work to advance safety, stop accidents and save lives. Their vision is to create a safe and happy North East community and last year it opened the interactive education centre, The Safe. Volunteers are a vital part of this in helping to teach people, of all ages, about the importance of safety in an engaging way.

The Volunteer Friendly Award is an important quality standard developed and co-ordinated nationally by Volunteer Centre Dundee/Voluntary Action Scotland and delivered locally by ACVO, Aberdeen’s Third Sector Interface. The Award recognises charities and community groups who are excellent at involving volunteers, lead best practice in volunteering and enables the Third Sector to continue to offer good volunteering opportunities/experiences.

It supports volunteers in making a fantastic, essential and valuable contribution to people and communities in Aberdeen. Through achieving the Volunteer Friendly Award Absafe has shown the strong commitment they have to their volunteers and in continuing to develop volunteering within the organsiation.

Emma Bellu, Chief Executive of Absafe, said “We’re pleased to be recognised and awarded this accolade from ACVO. We’d like to thank all our volunteers for their ongoing support and dedication in helping us to create our vision of The Safe. Without their efforts our vision might not have been realised.”

Mike Melvin and Liz Howarth, Volunteer Friendly Assessors at ACVO added “Absafe makes an essential contribution to improving safety in the North East and it is wonderful that Absafe has achieved the Volunteer Friendly Award.  It is further great testament to the superb work and dedication of staff and volunteers at Absafe.”

Joyce Duncan, ACVO Chief Executive stated “volunteers are at the heart of all that is good – with a staggering estimated 7.5 million hours of help contributed every year by volunteers in Aberdeen. This achievement for Absafe is fantastic news and reflects the outstanding contribution and difference volunteers make day in day out in Aberdeen.”

Volunteering Bytes Launches

Volunteering Bytes Launch 3On Micro volunteering Day 2015 ACVO were delighted to be part of the launch of Scotland’s first dedicated mobile optimised website for micro volunteering-Volunteering Bytes.

Organised by Aberdeen City Council/Community Planning Aberdeen and Pathways the launch of Volunteering Bytes provided people with  the opportunity to learn more about this fantastic new initiative, view Volunteering Bytes and provide  feedback, with ipads available for people to have a go too. Lyndsay Johnstone and Julie Milne from Aberdeen City Council provided participants with background to Volunteering Bytes and how it connects to the Community Planning Aberdeen Volunteering Strategy ‘Making the Difference: Volunteering in Aberdeen’ which is bringing everyone together to help make Aberdeen the best place to volunteer.

Volunteering Bytes links to existing volunteering promotional sources and also has new, exciting features which provide another good source for people to get involved in volunteering. It is framed around Scottish Government priorities and will particularly be useful in engaging more people in community activities and volunteering/providing greater access to volunteering via mobile devices. This includes micro volunteering-small actions that make a difference, that can be done anytime, anyplace, anywhere, on the bus or even at home in your pyjamas!

The Lord Provost Councillor George Adam officially launched Volunteering Bytes and once again gave his strong support to volunteering in Aberdeen City and the important contribution volunteers make to day to day life in Aberdeen.

Following the launch it is planned to ‘gift’ Volunteering Bytes to ACVO to assist ACVO, Community Planning Aberdeen and volunteer involving organisations in working together for the continued successful development of volunteering and the fantastic contribution that volunteers make.

View and try out Volunteering Bytes at:

Volunteering Award Success for Cyrenians

ACVO are delighted to announce that Aberdeen Cyrenians have been awarded the prestigious Volunteer Friendly Award.

Aberdeen Cyrenians VF 1The Volunteer Friendly Award is an important quality standard developed and co-ordinated nationally by Volunteer Centre Dundee/Voluntary Action Scotland and delivered locally by ACVO, Aberdeen’s Third Sector Interface.

The Award recognises charities and community groups who are excellent at involving volunteers, lead best practice in volunteering and enables the Third Sector to continue to offer good volunteering opportunities/experiences.  It supports volunteers in making a fantastic, essential and valuable contribution to people and communities in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen Cyrenians have a great track record in involving volunteers. Volunteers support Aberdeen Cyrenians in its vital work to meet the needs of people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or affected by homelessness in any way. With a particular focus upon prevention of homelessness, alleviation of homelessness, rehabilitation services, resettlement support and practical help to people.

The Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Councillor George Adam presented Aberdeen Cyrenians with a special plaque and certificate at a reception for Aberdeen Cyrenians volunteers to mark this major achievement on Friday 13th February 2015 at the Aberdeen Cyrenians HQ and Summer Street Service, 62 Summer Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1SD.

On receiving news that Aberdeen Cyrenians has been successful in achieving the award the charity’s Depute Chief Executive, Scott Baxter, said “We are delighted to have received the Volunteer Friendly Award in recognition of the way in which we involve volunteers within our organisation. Aberdeen Cyrenians relies on the support of a team of highly dedicated, enthusiastic volunteers, and our services would not be able to run without them.”

Mike Melvin, Volunteer Friendly Assessor at ACVO added “Aberdeen Cyrenians submission for the Volunteer Friendly Award was of an exceptional high standard and reflects the great commitment and value Aberdeen Cyrenians gives to volunteering. The award is further testament to the superb services Aberdeen Cyrenians provide and the outstanding contribution and difference volunteers make day in day out.”

Joyce Duncan, ACVO Chief Executive stated “volunteers are at the heart of all that is good-with a staggering estimated 7.5 million hours of help contributed every year by volunteers in Aberdeen. This Award is fantastic news for Aberdeen Cyrenians and for volunteering in Aberdeen. It recognises the importance the city gives to supporting and developing volunteering. ACVO extends its congratulations to all at Aberdeen Cyrenians on this latest great achievement”

If your organisation is interested in getting involved with the Volunteer Friendly Award please contact Mike Melvin, 01224 686076,

Aberdeen Volunteers Reach the Summit

P1040655Last night (Thursday 5th February) saw the presentation of four Saltire Summit Awards at ACVO, Castlegate.

The Saltire Summit Award is an extremely prestigious award which recognises the outstanding contribution of young volunteers in Scotland. Volunteers are nominated for the Award by the organisation they volunteer with and the nominations are peer assessed by a panel of Saltire Ambassadors who decide who merits the Award.

Only 12 of theses awards are given each year in Aberdeen and this round recognised the volunteering contributions of Larissa Karpa, Caitlin Murphy, Robert McDonald and Cameron MacKay. These amazing young people turned up with workers, colleagues and relatives to celebrate their awards, given for ‘outstanding volunteering’.

Three Saltire Ambassadors – Leanne Eden, Fraser Conway and Elena Kitt presented the awards in a friendly and informal evening of celebration.

Here’s what the people who put their names forward said about them:

Gayle Kaufmann from Apex said of Larissa Karpa
“Wanting to gain experience, Larissa brought excellent knowledge to her training sessions with around 50 clients; but she didn’t stop at teaching others.  She also embraces the Apex ethos of lifelong learning and professional development; which in turn increases the value of what we can offer to clients.”

James McQueen of Cornerstone said of Caitlin Murphy
“Caitlin has made a big impact across a variety of voluntary organisations. Caitlin is a very committed and reliable person who brings a lot of skills to her volunteering such as her creativity and drive. She gets along with everyone and has a good understanding of the sector which allows her to fit into any role.”

Adele Keith of SHMU (Station House Media Unit) said of Robert McDonald
“Robert has shown a great deal of dedication to shmu, taken on many roles within our radio and TV strands, and  has also spent a lot of time supporting others to participate.  We are very proud of Robert who has changed a great deal from when he first started with shmu and we feel he has grown into a patient, articulate and knowledgeable young person. “

Nick Asante-Ampaduh said of Cameron MacKay
“I nominated Cameron  as he has exceeded all expectations in a very demanding role and dedicated himself to delivering first class care of Hayfield Horses and Yard.  Cameron continued to work throughout some very severe weather last winter and also helped lessen the burden to staff in the day to day running of the yard so that they could more effectively manage a strangles outbreak amongst some key horses.”

ACVO is very happy to be recognising the outstanding achievement of these young people.  The Saltire Awards as a whole have been a fantastic way to reward young people for all the time and effort they put into volunteering and the response to the scheme has been fantastic.

Nomination are open for the next round of Summit Awards.  The closing date for nominations is THURSDAY 19TH MARCH.  You can download the form here  Please fill it in and email it to  If you would prefer to send a hard copy, please send ti Cate Garrow, Volunteer Development Worker, ACVO TSI, 38 Castle Street, Aberdeen, AB11 5YU