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

Transport Making Social Isolation History

P1040528(small)Older people with mobility issues in Aberdeen have now been accessing important appointments thanks to the social transport project managed by ACVO, the city’s Third Sector Interface.

Since early 2014 ACVO has been working in partnership with transport providers, Buchan Dial-a-Bus and Aberdeen City Council to make almost 40 trips each week.

These trips carry passengers for the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, Care Homes, NHS Grampian and community centres throughout the city. The service enables older people to be active, make new friends and thus reduce social isolation.  This has well documented impact on mental health.  Depression is the most common mental health problem in later life, affecting 1 in 4 older people1. Alternatives to public transport are also the only viable option for those living with dementia, their families and carers.

Initial research concluded that existing transport’s lack of flexibility was a barrier for older people. The Change Funded Social Transport project is therefore providing a new alternative to current services. The service also supports those who no longer wish to drive. Over 50% of single pensioner households have no access to a car2.

Organisations which were awarded funding cite the service as invaluable and making attendance possible for classes, clinics etc.

The project also funds a bus to Altens community Centre which for example, takes older people from the surrounding area to a bingo group on a Thursday; for many of the people there, they say it is the only outing they have that week.

Anne Ritchie, 69 attends the bingo group at Altens Community centre. “It’s great to get taken from door to door…the driver is really nice and he makes sure you get in the door safely”. Anne says she wouldn’t risk walking in the cold weather with it being icy underfoot, proclaiming if it wasn’t for the transport “I’d definitely be stuck at home”.

ACVO is working with the Robert Gordon University and regional transport partnership Nestrans to establish new projects and to engage further with those in need of help, particularly from areas of multiple deprivation.

Feedback will be included in case studies for each individual client organisation. These are available to read now on ACVO’s website.

Big Thank You To Big Aberdeen Volunteers

Big Aberdeen Saltire Awards Group

Amazing young volunteers, who were at the heart of the successful Big Aberdeen Event and Big Aberdeen Action Plan, received big and very well deserved thanks and recognition through the Saltire Awards scheme.

The Saltire Awards recognise the volunteering achievements of young people aged 12-25 years and are endorsed by the Scottish Government. The Awards are co-ordinated locally through ACVO-Aberdeen’s Third Sector Interface.

At a special awards evening, ACVO and Kevin Stewart MSP presented volunteers with their Saltire Award certificates. This included Police Scotland Youth Volunteers, Aberdeen University Bulgarian Society, volunteers from Aberdeen University Dance Society as well as individual volunteers.

Mr Kevin Stewart MSP thanked and commended volunteers for the vital contribution they make and highlighted the importance the Scottish Government gives to volunteering, supporting and recognising young people’s achievements. Mr Stewart MSP explained that earlier in the day he had also visited the Aberdeen Cyrenians and the Barnardos Shop in Union Street with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP and saw firsthand the difference volunteers are making.

Alison Chandler from ACVO updated volunteers on the Big Aberdeen Action Plan, significant actions from this which are making a real positive difference in Aberdeen and the continued importance of volunteers to this.

Joyce Duncan, Chief Executive of ACVO stated ‘the Saltire Awards have been a phenomenal success and have helped to transform youth volunteering-young people are now the most likely age group to be involved in volunteering in Aberdeen. The Big Aberdeen volunteers highlight once again the important and brilliant contribution young people are making. I thank Mr Kevin Stewart MSP and the Scottish Government for their continued support in this which is greatly appreciated.’

Mike Melvin, Volunteer Co-ordinator at ACVO added ‘It was fantastic to join Big Aberdeen volunteers in recognising and celebrating the brilliant contribution they make. The award presentation brought together 3 big successes in Aberdeen-the Big Aberdeen Event/Action Plan, record numbers of people volunteering in Aberdeen and the Saltire Awards which have been so successful in developing and celebrating youth volunteering in Aberdeen and across Scotland.’

Health and Social Care Integration Consultation

ACVO will be holding a drop in session at our office on Wednesday the 21st of January 2015, 1pm till 4pm, for any individuals or organisations from the 3rd sector who want to ask questions or discuss, or feed back information relating to the Integration Scheme which is out for consultation at the moment.

Consultation has opened on a draft Health and Social Care Integration Scheme for Aberdeen. This is a milestone in work to establish a Health and Social Care Partnership for Aberdeen City, which will bring together a range of health and social care functions provided by Aberdeen City Council, NHS Grampian, third sector and private sector organisations.

The Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014 requires Aberdeen City Council and NHS Grampian to outline, in an Integration Scheme, the arrangements to delegate functions and appropriate resources to ensure the effective delivery of those functions.

Judith Proctor, Chief Officer of Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership, said:

“The Integration Scheme will form the basis for the establishment and operation of the Integration Joint Board for the Health and Social Care Partnership in the City.

“There will be consultations on further milestone documents, as we progress towards one of the most significant changes on how health and social care is provided, and we look forward to engaging with the citizens of Aberdeen on this important issue.”

If you would like to have a copy of the consultation emailed or sent by post, please contact

Comments and questions should be sent to and marked ‘Draft Integration Scheme’.

The consultation period will end on Monday, 2nd February, 2015, then all replies will be collated and the Scheme will be amended, where appropriate.

The consultation draft can be viewed here –

Nominate for the Saltire Summit Awards 2015

SaltireAwards2The Saltire Awards are a great Scottish Government endorsed scheme that recognises the volunteering of young people aged 12-25.  Volunteers enroll at  where they log volunteering information and work towards certificates and Young Scot reward points.  Hours can be backdated 2 years.  It’s a fantastic scheme, very easy and quick to do and runs alongside projects like Duke of Edinburgh, Youth Achievement Awards etc.

The Summit Award recognises an outstanding contribution to volunteering and is signed by the First Minister.

It is awarded to volunteers who have completed a 200 or 500 hour Ascent and have exceeded expectations.  Volunteers may be nominated for a Summit Award if they are aged between 12-25 years and resident and volunteering in Scotland.  Saltire Ambassadors judge the submissions.

In addition the Summit Award may also be awarded to volunteers who have overcome a significant personal barrier to achieve success through volunteering.  You can also claim Young Scot Reward/Accord Card Points for your volunteering.

The closing date for nominations is THURSDAY 19TH MARCH.  You can download the form here  Please fill 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

Aberdeen Impact Awards 2014

On Thursday the 27th of November ACVO held their annual Aberdeen Impact Awards Luncheon in the Douglas Hotel. The turnout was amazing and we are so happy that so many people came to support the nominees and the winners. We are getting a great deal of positive feedback from the event and we really appreciate it.

If you were unable to make it to the Luncheon we have a full list of winners below. Thanks to everyone who attended and we hope to do something even better next year!

Active Citizen – Mary Rasmussen
Mary Rasmussen is an exceptional woman, who does not allow her blindness stop her doing what she wants to do. Mary is constantly out and about in the Aberdeen area delivering talks to schools, youth and adult groups. Mary is also a very active fundraiser, helping out at collections with her Guide Dog Nelson. Mary is a committee member involved with the arranging of the very successful Aberdeen Ball. Mary is an inspiration to everyone that meets her and I feel that this award is well deserved.

Other Finalists – Jim Crighton, William Hamilton and Alice and Josh Tosh

Established Social Enterprise of the Year – Community Foods Initiative North East
CFINE is committed to the ‘triple bottom line’ i.e action on social, economic and environmental concerns and issues. CFINE works with disadvantaged and vulnerable individuals, families and communities in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray: improves health and well-being; contributes to regeneration, increases employability; creates employment; and addresses environmental issues.

As a social enterprise, CFINE works towards sustainability through generating sufficient trading income to fund our social and environmental aims and activities – £800,000 of sales of fruit and veg this year and within 3 years, >£2,000,000!

Other Finalists – Asthma Allergy Foundation and Café Treehouse

Golden Age Achiever – Joan McKichan
In this category all shortlisted candidates were awarded a Golden Certificate signed by the Lord Provost in recognition of their dedication and work in the Third Sector.

Joan always has a funny story to tell and is constantly cheery and chirpy. She will always try to fit things in even when already busy. After Joan delivered 2 packs recently we heard back that the recipients were extremely happy with the packs and they would certainly help them settle into the new flats.

Other Finalists – Charlie Reid, Mike Gibb and Molly Sandison

Fundraising Impact Award – Aberdeen Cyrenians
Aberdeen Cyrenians was established in 1968, aiming to meet the needs of people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or affected by homelessness in any way. We listen to individuals’ difficulties, understand needs, share burdens, provide professional care and strive to identify permanent solutions. Originally providing food and shelter, the services now aim to meet all the varying needs of people affected by homelessness across the North East.

One of good new stories revolves around our successful partnership with Robert Gordon University Events Managements Students which brought our Sleepout back to life with a corporate twist. The students brought some revived energy back into the fundraising team and worked exceptionally well to design, plan and implement their event. As a result, the students were successful in raising over £15,000 towards our services and then went on to win the award for Best Student Event at the Scottish Events Awards 2014.

Other Finalists – St Andrew’s Children’s Society and Cancer Research UK Relay For Life Peterhead

Volunteers Favourite Organisation – Project Scotland
Project Scotland is a charity that helps young people in Scotland aged 16 to 30 to get on in life by volunteering with charities in Scotland.

The best way to show case our work is to give you a case study. Here it goes…Tuesday graduated from university and like many others struggled to find work, Tuesday also suffers from a rare disability called Mobious syndrome. It’s a disorder characterised by facial paralysis and the inability to move the eyes from side to side. As a result Tuesday cannot form facial expressions and has speech impairment. Tuesday’s limbs have also been affected. She has a prosthetic leg and is missing fingers.

Tuesday took a voluntary placement through Project Scotland with Glencraft and after her 3 month placement they took her on as a paid member of staff.

Not only did Project Scotland help Tuesday gain more experience but they helped her gain employment as well. Tuesday said “I honestly think I would still be struggling to find employment, due to lack of experience, if I had not chosen to contact Project Scotland.”

Other Finalists – Aberdeen Cyrenians, ACT Aberdeen and Inchgarth Community Centre

Friend of the Third Sector – Aberdeen Football Club
On the field the Club has a long history of success, both within Scotland and Europe, with the 1980’s particularly being an era of unparalleled achievements. Off the field AFC has consistently recognised the need to be at the forefront with a mission to;

‘To provide support and opportunity to change lives for the better’

In March 2014, Aberdeen FC Community Trust (AFCCT) was registered as a standalone charitable organisation by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and is responsible for the development and delivery of community programs associated with Aberdeen Football Club plc.

Other Finalists – Aberdeen Harbour and Henderson Loggie

Social Impact Award – Apex Scotland
Apex Scotland is the specialist organisation which for over 25 years has contributed to a safer Scotland by working with offenders, ex-offenders and those at risk to give them the necessary skills to change their behaviour and lead fulfilling lives.

For a sneak peak at our work, please read the case study below,

*name changed to protect privacy
Eilidh was 3 months old when her father was convicted. Incarcerated in HMP Aberdeen, Eilidh’s father was initially able to see her regularly. Thereafter, the prison closed down and he was relocated to HMP Barlinnie outside Glasgow – a 5 hour journey from their home in Northfield, involving 3 bus trips. Eilidh’s mother found nappy changes and feeding times difficult, and then taking her baby through a rigorous security check coupled with a short visit with a cranky and irritable Eilidh, an arduous journey home and arriving late at night more cumbersome.

Eilidh’s exhausted mother contacted Apex for Eilidh to visit her father over video-link. A short bus journey into town, a relaxed cup of tea, friendly staff, plenty of toys and Eilidh was much happier seeing her dad. Each time she was carried into the video-link room, she bounced excitedly and tried to say “Daddy” while pointing at the video-link screen.

Eilidh’s father has since been released and says that he won’t risk putting his family through such an ordeal again. Eilidh’s mother praises SPS and Apex for providing her baby with the ability to maintain a happy bond with her father, and for giving him a reason to stay out of trouble.

Other Finalists – Grampian Credit Union and Co-wheels Car Club CIC

Positive Collaboration Award – Carbon School
Carbon School is a collaborative project between the Aberdeen University Students Association and SCARF

Carbon School is a comprehensive training, mentoring and volunteering program that gives students the know-how on Co2 reduction whilst aiding charities with saving money on their energy bills. From among our testimonials, please read below examples of benefits received from individuals and organisations;

Peter Rukevwe Onota postgraduate student said: Through Carbon School I have learnt how to calculate the energy consumption of buildings, conduct energy audits, and recommend ways to reduce energy wastage. The programme provided a platform to meet other students, learn from them and share ideas on energy issues.

Adam Hillhouse Head of NESS Enterprise said: NESS is grateful for the collaborative work undertaken by the AUSA Carbon School. Their Carbon Agents have provided a useful perspective on our workplace practices, and we expect their recommendations to be instrumental in bringing about behaviour change which will impact positively on our reducing our carbon footprint.

Other Finalists – Aberdeen Delivering Joined Up Service Transitions (ADJUST), Bucksburn & Newhills Gala Group and Sport Aberdeen & Robert Gordon University

Big Aberdeen Action

P1040264The ideas of many hundreds of Aberdonians make up The Big Aberdeen Action Plan published today by ACVO, the Third Sector Interface for Aberdeen.

Much awaited since The Big Aberdeen Event at Pittodrie Stadium in September, the plan highlights Big Issues for the City and Small Steps that Aberdeen’s businesses, charities, civic leaders and citizens can take forward together.

The seven Big Issues (in no particular order) identified for action were:

  1. Better Transport System: Integrated, affordable, flexible and accessible.
  2. Regenerate City Centre & Improve the cultural offer of the city
  3. Regeneration Boards with business leadership involvement
  4. Improved understanding of what the public sector is trying to do.
  5. Affordable housing and engagement with construction industry.
  6. Increased support for teams in engaging with communities.
  7. The gap between Rich and Poor.

The arising Big Aberdeen Action Plan provides a framework for the City to get going on discovering genuine new approaches to the social problems the Big Aberdeen identified and initial steps already taken.

Independent charity ACVO brought 200 delegates to the Big Aberdeen Conference to “Connect, Collaborate, Challenge and Change” and provided Give it a Try activities for several thousand Aberdonians on the September holiday.

A range of novel activities were used to gather their ideas and suggestions including not only round table Café discussions but also by engaging hundreds of school children in drawing bunting with support from ASDA  and by providing targets for a coconut shy sponsored by Henderson Loggie .  Participants in The Big Aberdeen Event and all those who want to actively and positively engage are invited to first read the plan and sign up to the ACVO e:bulletin for further news as the first steps are taken forward in the New Year or pass on their own action ideas either direct to ACVO or through its partners in the community.  First steps forward are already being taken with University of Aberdeen Business School, ACOSVO (Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations), Northlink Ferries, Aberdeen City Council, NHS Grampian and RGU Talent Exchange.

The Big Aberdeen Action Plan can be accessed here

ACVO Community Locator

communitylocatorbannerACVO is happy to announce the online map of its MILO database dubbed – The ACVO Community Locator.

This Map features all Community and Charitable organisations with registered addresses in Aberdeen and highlights the diversity of the Third Sector in Aberdeen. You can underlay a variety of relevant geographic information including Learning Partnership boundaries, GP cluster zones and plenty more to come. We would encourage all our community colleagues and public sector partners to make use of this resource and get in touch if you have any queries.

To access the map click here.

As ever, ACVO will be looking to enhance and improve this map with the fullness of time but we are always happy to hear any feedback from users.

Please get in touch with us: with any amendments or additions in regards to your own organisation/entry on the MILO database.

Triple Celebration for Sue Ryder Volunteers

George Adam and Candice Gilmore Sue Ryder VF AwardACVO are delighted that Sue Ryder, Aberdeen Services have become the first Sue Ryder service in the country to achieve the Volunteer Friendly Award.

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

The Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Councillor George Adam presented Sue Ryder with a special plaque and certificate at a ceremony and High Tea for Volunteers at the Station Hotel to mark this major achievement.

The Lord Provost further presented Linda Buchan, a Volunteer Befriender supporting older people who experience loneliness and isolation in the community with a Volunteering in Aberdeen Gold Award which recognizes the valuable contribution that volunteers aged 55 years and over make. Sue Ryder volunteers present also each received a certificate of thanks for the amazing help they provide. The Lord Provost commended and thanked Sue Ryder and all volunteers for the important contribution they make to people, communities and life in Aberdeen-helping make Aberdeen the great city it is.

On receiving news that Sue Ryder had been successful in achieving the award Candice Gilmore, Service Manager and Volunteer Support at Sue Ryder stated ‘We are excited to be recognised for the high quality of standards for our volunteers that one can expect from Sue Ryder.  Volunteers are central to the work we do in our communities and volunteers makes such a positive and lasting difference.  This is reflected regularly in the feedback I hear from socially isolated older people in Aberdeen who our volunteers befriend.   We are happy to join fellow recipients of this award who continually demonstrate excellence in volunteering.’

Mike Melvin, Volunteer Friendly Assessor at ACVO added ‘Sue Ryder’s submission for the Volunteer Friendly Award was of an exceptional standard and reflects the great commitment and value Sue Ryder places on volunteering. The award is testament to the great service Sue Ryder provides and the outstanding contribution and difference volunteers make day in day out.’

Joyce Duncan, ACVO Chief Executive stated ‘volunteers are at the heart of Aberdeen-over 52,000 people now volunteer in Aberdeen, contributing a fantastic estimated 4.4 million hours volunteering every year. This Award is great news for Sue Ryder and for volunteering in Aberdeen. It recognises the importance the city gives to supporting and developing volunteering. ACVO extends its congratulations to all at Sue Ryder.’

*For information about the Volunteer Friendly Award please visit:~ / contact Mike Melvin: tel: 01224 686076 / e-mail:

Social Transport Research Report Released

How do older people in Aberdeen access transport for their health and social care needs and can we better optimise public, private and 3rd sector provision to make things easier?

These were the big questions that ACVO TSI in partnership with IMaGeS, Robert Gordon’s University’s Research Institute for Management, Governance and Society, has been trying to address in the current Social Transport Change Fund Project involving many transport partners across the city. The final report is released today and is now on ACVO’s website. It will be of interest to anyone who has elderly relatives and friends or is involved in Health and Social Care and services for older people and aims to help older people in Aberdeen keep active, engaged and enjoying life around them.

The project investigated how to improve transport services, the availability of transport services and whether older people are eligible to use them against the backdrop of Audit Scotland’s blunt report that transport services for Health and Social Care were fragmented and there was a lack of leadership, ownership and monitoring of the services provided. (Audit Scotland 2011 p4)

This latest report is only a first step in recognising the complex issues surrounding this part of Aberdeen’s health and Social Care infrastructure. It is not a panacea and certainly not the end of an excellent working relationship that has been forged through this project with Nestrans, RGU, ACVO TSI, and The Health Transport Action Plan group (HTAP). Partnership working across sectors is alive and well in Aberdeen city and will certainly result in benefits for the citizens of Aberdeen, when joined up solutions can make a real difference to the end user.

This project has a Transport Steering Group and a Transport Working Group involving 3rd Sector providers and public bodies, so the body of work following on from the research element will continue to aid decision-making at all levels.

According to Professor David Gray of RGU, “This is a genuinely exciting first step in our ongoing efforts to fill the gaps in transport provision for some of our vulnerable elderly citizens.   It is a fine example of genuine partnership working, and the schemes that we are funding have been brought forward by voluntary groups and healthcare professionals who are working directly with the people that will benefit most from the investment.”

Jane Russell, ACVO Lead on Social Transport, remarked ‘Working with Nestrans, HTAP and RGU together, has ensured that our 3rd sector resources play an important role in enabling the entire sector, to actively respond to key issues facing the city today. We are delighted that this Social Transport Research Report, now available on ACVO’s own website, will help key decision- makers to understand and appreciate what is actually happening here, right now, in our very own city.

The Social Transport Collaborative Solutions Final Report is available from –

Aberdeen Impact Awards 2014

*Deadline Extended – 26th October 2014*

Applications are now open for the 2014 Aberdeen Impact Awards initiated by ACVO. The objectives of the awards are to help Third Sector organisations of all shapes and sizes to:

  • Raise awareness of the impact of their work which is only made possible by their sponsors, volunteers or partners
  • Recognise and promote good practise in developing their organisation
  • Raise the profile of social enterprise
  • Reward and recognise the efforts of their fundraisers, committee members and wider teams

It is FREE to enter and applications will close on the 26th October 2014. For more information on the categories and criteria, please CLICK HERE

The winners of all categories will be announced at an Awards Luncheon being held on the 25th November at the Aberdeen Douglas Hotel.

APPLY TODAY (Aberdeen Impact Awards Nomination Form)

Commonwealth Games Lead to Golden Time for Volunteering in Aberdeen

The success of the Commonwealth Games 2014 has led to a great increase in interest in volunteering in Aberdeen-leaving a fantastic, positive, on-going legacy from the Games.

ACVO-Aberdeen’s Third Sector Interface which has the responsibility for developing volunteering in Aberdeen is delighted that the high profile of volunteers which was central to the success of the Commonwealth Games has led to a big increase in enquiries from people inspired to volunteer as result.

This is set to continue as Volunteer Scotland embark on a national engagement strategy with around 43,000 people who applied to volunteer at the Commonwealth Games to encourage them to now take their volunteering interest forward in local communities across Scotland.

Mike Melvin, Co-ordinator at ACVO stated ‘there has definitely been a significant increase in interest in volunteering due to the Commonwealth Games-particularly as you would expect in sports related volunteering opportunities, but also across all areas of volunteering. The positive impact of volunteers during the Games is inspiring more and more people to get involved in volunteering which is great for Aberdeen’.

Joyce Duncan, ACVO Chief Executive added ‘volunteers have been absolutely centre stage and key to the success of the Commonwealth Games. Over 43,000 people applied to be one of the Games volunteers and over 15,000 people directly helped as volunteers throughout the Games. This included many people from Aberdeen. It is therefore fantastic that this amazing success is set to continue and has led to greater overall interest in volunteering. More people volunteering will be a truly fitting legacy for these great Games’

People interested in volunteering in Aberdeen can access details of volunteering opportunities through ACVO at: and .

Social Transport, Going Places

Twelve local projects are to benefit from the first tranche of £150K funding to improve access to social and health care.

The Social Transport Project, funded by the Reshaping Care for Older People Change Fund and led by ACVO TSI is spearheading the way in Scotland in terms of provision of social transport for the over 55s’. ACVO has been working with Nestrans and researchers from Robert Gordon University’s Institute for Management, Governance and Society (IMaGeS) to set up the scheme and identify suitable projects.

Beneficiaries of the new scheme will include those attending clinics at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Alzheimer Scotland and the MS Society.  Funding has also been provided to increase the provision of wheelchair accessible vehicles for the Co-Wheels Car Club.

At the heart of this initiative is the need to provide preventative care to allow older people to keep active and develop social networks that reduce social isolation and loneliness.  The partners hope the funded projects will help address many of the mobility challenges faced by older people in the city.

Professor David Gray, an expert in Transport Research and Director of the Institute for Management, Governance and Society commented that “One of the most important challenges facing policy makers is to better integrate and co-ordinate transport provided by Health Care Trusts, local authorities, the voluntary and community transport sectors and bus companies themselves.  This scheme represents an important step in trying to do so.”

Joyce Duncan, CEO ACVO also commented “ACVO is proud to be involved in this ground breaking project. Social transport is a critical factor in the Scottish Governments plans for health and social care integration. This collaborative project will guide future thinking and implementation of social transport for Scotland”.