About Voluntary Action Fund (VAF): Our History

The Voluntary Action Fund (VAF) is a long-established, independent grant-making organisation which invests in the third sector to tackle disadvantage, reduce inequality and build resilient communities.

VAF supports a range of organisations from small community groups to social enterprises and large national charities. Our distinctive funding model is based on three core elements – Investing money, developing capacity and building relationships. We know that our 'more than just money approach', which builds on strengths, knowledge and connections, unlocks community resources, achieves sustainable outcomes and has a preventative impact.

Over the last 35 years, VAF has distributed £127million of public funding across Scotland, supporting more than 5,000 projects. VAF also works with businesses and individual donors to invest in communities

In the Beginning..... 

In 1982 we first emerged as the Unemployed Voluntary Action Fund (UVAF) managed under the auspices of the Carnegie UK Trust. In response to the economic and social challenges of the day, the initial Scotland-wide fund of £400,000 aimed to support volunteering opportunities for unemployed people, in health projects, social services and community development. 

In 1990 UVAF became an independent charitable organisation. Later, as the scope of the funding expanded, the name changed and in 2003 the Voluntary Action Fund (VAF) was reborn as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status.

Our work is testament to how financial investment together with targeted support can bring about real change in our communities.

Our Grant Making....

Our grant-making currently falls into the following main streams:

  • Grants that support volunteering and community action.

  • Grants that promote equality and tackle discrimination.

  • Grants that tackle intra-Christian sectarianism across Scotland.

  • Grants that tackle all forms of violence against women and girls.

  • Grants that provide services for older people in Glasgow.

  • Grants that tackle social isolation and loneliness.

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VAF Grants by Local Authority Area in Scotland

VAF has supported voluntary organisations and grass roots community groups across Scotland. To find out which groups have been funded and supported in your area please click on the relevant local authority area on the clickable map below.

Scotland Map Aberdeen Council Aberdeenshire Council Angus Council Argyll and Bute Council Clackmannanshire Council Dumfries and Galloway Council Dundee City Council East Ayrshire Council East Dunbartonshire Council East Lothian District Council East Renfrewshire Council Edinburgh City Council Falkirk Council Fife Council Glasgow City Council Highland Council Inverclyde Council Midlothian Council Moray Council North Ayrshire Council North Lanarkshire Council Orkney Islands Council Perth and Kinross Council Renfrewshire Council Scottish Borders Council Shetland Islands Council South Ayrshire Council South Lanarkshire Council Stirling Council West Dunbartonshire Council West Lothian Council Western Isles Council