Keeping you up to date with all the latest news and developments from Voluntary Action Fund...

Workplace Equality Fund Open for Applications

Scottish Government Press Release:

A £500,000 fund to promote equality within the workplace has been opened by Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn.

The Workplace Equality Fund offers grants to reduce employment inequalities, discrimination and barriers for minority ethnic people, women, disabled people and older workers.

The Fund will support delivery of the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government; Race Equality Framework; Disability Action Plan; and Scotland’s Labour Market Strategy.

The funding will support employers to reduce employment inequalities, discrimination and barriers, particularly across the arts, culture, leisure, tourism, finance, manufacturing, construction, agriculture and fishing, transport and communication and STEM sectors.

The fund will be delivered by the Voluntary Action Fund. Speaking during a visit to their offices, Mr Hepburn said:

“We want the same employment opportunities for all so that everyone, irrespective of gender, race or disability, has the opportunity to fulfil their potential and improve Scotland’s economic performance as a result.

“I am delighted to open applications for the Workplace Equality Fund, which will make funding available to businesses to change attitudes, cultures and workplace practices.

“I would strongly encourage every employer to find out how they and their workforce can use this fund to remove barriers to equality.”

Keith Wimbles, Chief Executive, Voluntary Action Fund said:

“The Voluntary Action Fund is very pleased that the Scottish Government is investing in the private sector to promote workplace equality and address barriers to entry and progression in employment.

“VAF is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace and through its business activities. We are therefore delighted to manage the Workplace Equality Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government and look forward to working with businesses to maximise the impact of the investment.”

VAF Chief Executive Nominated for Award

We are delighted that Keith Wimbles has been nominated for the National Centre for Diversity’s UK Managing Director/ CEO of the Year Award 2018. Keith has a lifelong commitment to championing diversity, inclusion and fairness. Under Keith’s strong leadership, tackling inequality is at the heart of all the work the Voluntary Action Fund undertakes with people and communities across Scotland to support them to be thriving, active, self-organising, resourceful, and connected. We are delighted that Keith’s hard work and commitment has been recognised through this nomination. 

1st December 2017

Wellbeing for Longer in Glasgow Fund CLOSES to applications.

This Fund is now closed to applications.  We expect award decisions to be notified by early March 2018.

1st November 2017

Wellbeing for Longer in Glasgow Fund opens for applications

VAF is now inviting applications to this new fund from Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership to tackle social isolation and sustain the well-being of vulnerable Glasgow City Council residents.

Third sector organisations with an annual income of under £250,000 (see criteria for further detail) are being urged to apply to the Fund. They can apply for up to £30,000 to carry out activities over a 12-month period that will help to build connectedness and make a real difference to the quality of life for some of the most vulnerable adults in Glasgow.

 The outcomes for the Wellbeing for Longer in Glasgow Fund are to:

  • Address health inequalities and improve health
  • Improve social inclusion, enabling residents who are isolated to be more connected

Priority will be given to projects working with adults with multiple complex health needs/ barriers which contribute to isolation including physical, sensory and mental health barriers.    

Applications should be submitted using the online application form by Friday 01 December 2017.

Please visit the funding page for further information about the fund and how to apply.



£530K Available to Support Volunteer-involving Organisations - Now closed to applications.

New fund open to applications June 2017

VAF is pleased to announce a new round of funding to help third sector organisations in Scotland create new or enhanced volunteering projects. The Volunteering Support Fund 2017-18 will enable organisations to increase the diversity of their volunteer pool over an eight month period and improve how they are supported in their role.

Grants of between £7,500 and £10,000 are available for individual organisations, which will be expected to recruit at least 10 additional volunteers (including 6 who are disadvantaged in some way); and provide opportunities for both current and new volunteers to benefit from a meaningful volunteering experience, eg through training, learning new skills, and increased participation in their local community.

Further details about what’s eligible and how to apply can be found on the Volunteering Support Fund page, from which the Application Form and Application Guidance Notes can be downloaded.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 14 July 2017 and the period of the grant will be from 1 August 2017 to 30 March 2018.

Expressive Arts Competition draws entries from 500 children

Mum was the word on everyone’s lips as children across Scotland celebrated what their mother’s meant to them in a competition organised by the Voluntary Action Fund.

The project, which asked youngsters to express the role played by mums in their lives in words, art or film, attracted more than 500 entries from across the country.

It was supported by American Mothers, a US-based organisation co-founded by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1935, which now plans to introduce it in the US and in other countries where it supports projects.

Winning entries were announced at ceremonies in Glasgow and Edinburgh last week-end where judges presented prizes to the children responsible.

Children aged 10 and 11 from 23 volunteer projects and 10 schools across Scotland participated in the project.

They were invited to write an essay or poem, make a film or art exhibit or use photography to demonstrate the important part their mother plays in their lives.

The term was not gender specific and they were free to make the subject of their work another relative, teacher or someone who fulfils this role.

Schools and youth groups were invited to apply for funding worth up to £400 for the project whose aim was to raise awareness of values such as nurturing and diversity, involving children from all backgrounds and areas. Schools and organisations were asked to nominate their two favourite pieces.

Diane Wilson, Senior Development Officer at VAF, which distributes funding to charitable projects, said: “Mums play a really important part in everyone’s life and too often their role is taken for granted.

 “For other people dads, grannies, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles or even teachers are special and this project was a great opportunity for youngsters to celebrate the person who makes their life complete and to express why through use of art.”

She added: “The aim has been to promote diversity and inclusiveness lots of young people used it to celebrate that special person. VAF are grateful to American Mothers for the funding to enable this in Scotland.”

Dianne Callister, national president of American Mothers, said: “This is the first time we have done anything like this both in scope and geography. This is a critical time to be expressing how much importance we place on important values like care, kindness and respect.

“We are living in strange and disturbing political times in America and we feel it’s never been more important to reach out in solidarity with our fellow human beings across the world and to express our solidarity with the kind of values represented by this project.

“At American Mothers we have a very simple motto which is do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The feelings we have for our mothers and that our mothers have for us are universal – love, care, hope and protection.

“We chose Scotland to pilot this project because it shares so much of our own values. America was founded by immigrants, many of whom came from Scotland, and it’s important that we remember that at times like this.

“It’s been a tremendous success. We were completely blown away by the way in which children and adults across the country have responded with enthusiasm, energy and enormous creativity.  It has provided a great springboard for us to go away and to replicate the success of the project across America and in other countries.”  


Scottish Government Minister Angela Constance was the keynote speaker at a national conference on violence against women and girls organised by Voluntary Action Fund 


Cabinet Secretary addresses VAF conference on Violence Against Women and Girls

Scottish Government Minister Angela Constance was the keynote speaker at a national conference on violence against women and girls organised by Voluntary Action Fund

The Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities told the conference at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh that she welcomed the growing recognition now being given to an issue that, for too long, had been swept under the carpet.

The one-day event (on January 26), Changing Lives: celebrating the positive changes made by the Scottish Government’s Violence against Women and Girls Fund, attracted around 100 delegates from women’s organisations across Scotland.

Ms Constance, a former social worker and mental health officer, told delegates: “Violence against women and girls was once seen as something to be kept behind closed doors. Our aim is to create a country in which all women are free from violence.”

In response to a question about the plight of women from immigration backgrounds suffering violence and abuse, but with no recourse to public funds, she said that such issues are reserved to Westminster and that there are limits to what the Scottish Government can do to tackle them.

“We will always try to find ways of working with what we have got but, while this issue remains reserved, we operate with one arm behind our backs.”

She added: “First and foremost, we should be responding to all people, including refugees and asylum seekers, on a human level, motivated by compassion to the needs of individuals.”

The minister said she hoped to be able to move to a three year funding round for organisations dealing with violence against women and girls from 2017-18.

“I am aware of the anxiety caused by operating on funding from year-to-year. We have a clear manifesto commitment to move to three-year funding and I am looking to see how we can move forward with that.

“While I don’t have a particular timescale to give you, we are very aware that we have a clear manifesto commitment. Next year we move into longer term planning and we are determined to lead by example.”

The conference was opened by VAF chief executive Keith Wimbles who also hosted one of the morning workshops, entitled Building Connections:  The Social Capital Approach. Other workshops covered a range of issues including preventing violence against women and girls, feminist governance and service user participation.

Afternoon events included a poem, On Being a Woman, recited by Archana Goyal, supported by Shakti Women’s Aid; an address by Heather Williams of Ross-shire Women’s Aid recounting her positive experience of working with Voluntary Action Fund; and a presentation by Caroline Burrell of Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre on the trauma suffered by many abused women in the criminal justice system.

Delegates were also shown a short film by south Ayrshire Women’s Aid, entitled Is this love?  Or ‘twisted normality’, introduced by Shirley Middleditch, which depicted the emotional damage inflicted on a young woman with a controlling and abusive partner. Volunteering Awards were Introduced by Keith Wimbles and presented by VAF chair Jo McLaughlin.

They included Outstanding Volunteer awards to Helen Martin of Fife Rape and Sexual Assault; Sharon McFarlane of Women’s Aid South Lanarkshire and East Renfrewshire; and Wura Ogunrotimi of the Kenyan Women in Scotland Association (KWISA). The Best Volunteer Involving organisation was Forth Valley Rape Crisis.


Kath Irvine of the South-west Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre was Highly Commended in the category of Outstanding Volunteer awards.


Community Transfer Bodies can make requests following introduction of Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act

Community transfer bodies can now make requests to relevant authorities following the introduction of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 on January 23.

All the guidance, model forms and a summary guide can be obtained by visiting: 

The website will continue to be developed over coming weeks, in particular with model governing documents for community transfer bodies. Queries about the guidance etc can be sent to  

Changing Lives: A conference celebrating the positive changes made by the Scottish Government's Violence Against Women and Girls Fund

Angela Constance, the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities is the kenote speaker at Voluntary Action Fund's conference celebrating the positive changes made by the Scottish Government's Violence Against Women and Girls Fund. The one-day conference, at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh on Thursday, January 26 will be opened by Keith Wimbles, VAF's Chief Executive.

Violence Against Women & Girls Conference Date Announced!

The Violence Against Women and Girls Fund Team are delighted to announce that registration has now opened for their forthcoming celebration conference "Changing Lives".

This event will take place on Thursday 26th January 2017 in Edinburgh, and include a keynote address from Angela Constance MSP, The Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities.

All organisations funded through the Scottish Government’s Violence against Women and Girls Fund are eligible to attend.



Read our latest annual accounts HERE

Voluntary Action Fund (VAF) has published its latest annual report and financial statements for the period to March 31 2016.

VAF Announces New Violence Against Women Prevention Resources

Voluntary Action Fund (VAF) is pleased to announce the publication of new resources to help organisations working in the field of preventing violence against women to measure the impact of their work.  The prevention guide and report were produced following a series of Learning Sets coordinated by VAF and Evaluation Support Scotland.  Many thanks to those organisations funded through the Violence against Women programme who participated in the Learning Sets and helped produce the two documents. 

VAF Mourns Loss of Dedicated Trustee - Message from VAF Chair, Ron Daniel

"It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Sid Wales, a volunteer since 2012 and a Trustee of VAF since 2013. Sid had been having treatment for cancer at home but was rushed to hospital when his condition deteriorated. He died in the early hours of Monday 5th September.

Sid had enjoyed a very successful career in the IT field, serving as Managing Director then President of Semtech, working in the UK, Europe and America. Sid cared about people and as a result got involved with a number of charities, one of them being VAF. He brought with him a tremendous business knowledge and experience which he put to good use as we updated our IT system.

Sid was held in high regard by his fellow Trustees. He was a modest, good-natured man with a quiet sense of humour. At meetings his contributions were constructive and to the point. Whenever Sid spoke, we all listened.  But above all, Sid was a “people person” who cared about others and was involved in a number of charities over the years to help improve peoples’ lives. For me he was a colleague I could depend on to give sound advice and constructive criticism. I will miss him as will VAF."

Investing in Social Capital Events

The Voluntary Action Fund was delighted to be a partner in the Social Capital World Forum Learning Village in Netherton, Glasgow on 8-9 April 2016. Many of our projects funded through VAF’s Scottish Government programmes also attended and enjoyed the opportunity to meet colleagues from across Europe. Netherton residents and staff as well as volunteers from Netherton Community Centre were warm and welcoming hosts. And the food was spectacular!  The summary document of the Netherton Learning Village is here. A film of the Netherton Learning Village is in its final edit stage and will be available shortly.

VAF Chief Executive, Keith Wimbles is part of the hosting team for the Gothenburg Learning Village, 16-17 September 2016. A leaflet about the event is here.  VAF’s support of and participation in the Social Capital World Forum is part of Investing in Social Capital.

Social Isolation and Loneliness Funded Organisations Announced!

VAF are delighted to announce the names of the 36 Scottish organisations who gained funding via the Scottish Government's Social Isolation and Loneliness Fund.

Funded Organisations 2016/17

Working with Muslim Communities and Businesses in Scotland

The Voluntary Action Fund is exploring working with Muslim Communities and Businesses in Scotland.  VAF seeks to use Zakat and Sadaqh to bring more resources into the communities in which it works.  A Zakat/Sadaqh Fund will enable Muslims to give to local causes and fulfil their religious obligations.  For more information, please get in touch with Steven Paxton, Business Development Manager (

Media Coverage

Tackling Sport's Final Taboo - Evening News 13 June 2016

VAF Chair Ron Daniel Celebrates 50 Years of Volunteering - Sunday Post 5 June 2016

Remake Triples their Volunteers - Strathearn Herald 15 April 2016

Money to Help Tackle Loneliness - Falkirk Herald 31 March 2016

VAF Latest News

Archive News

£1.1 Million Available to Support Volunteer-involving Organisations

New fund open to applications 17 February 2016

VAF is pleased to announce a new round of funding to help third sector organisations create new or enhanced volunteering projects. The Volunteering Support Grant 2016-17 will enable organisations to increase the diversity of their volunteer pool over an 11 month period.

Grants of up to £10,000 are available for individual organisations, which will be expected to recruit at least 15 additional volunteers (especially those who are disadvantaged in some way); and provide opportunities for both current and new volunteers to benefit from a meaningful volunteering experience, e.g. through training, learning new skills, and increased participation in their local community.

Further details about what’s eligible and how to apply can be found on the Volunteering Support Fund page, from which the application form and guidance notes can be downloaded.

The deadline for applications is 31st March 2016 and the period of the grant will be from 1st May 2016 to 31st March 2017.

New funds launched for Equalities and Violence Against Women and Girls  

The Promoting Equality & Cohesion Fund, the Violence Against Women and Girls Fund, the Children's Services Fund and the Rape Crisis Specific Fund are all now open for applications.  The deadline for applying is Wednesday 16 March 2016.

See 'Funding' for more information on each fund and to download the application documents.

Operational Research: Helping those who run organisation make better decisions

Pro Bono O.R. is a scheme run by The OR Society that places volunteer analysts in short term projects with voluntary sector organisations across the UK to assist them in making operational improvements. 

The aim of Pro Bono O.R. is to help third sector organisations to do a better job, impacting upon desired outcomes, and build capacity by using the skills of volunteer O.R. analysts and consultants.  Areas include: strategy, systems, processes, operations and decision-making.   Organisations may seek a very wide range of operational improvements - for example, greater efficiency, better customer service, higher quality or lower cost.  No matter what size or at what stage your organisation is, no matter what kind of decision, problem, or opportunity you face, there's probably a way for Pro Bono help. For further information about O.R. and the ways in which it can help please read: OR and the third sector. You can connect with Felicity McLeister, the Project Coordinator, on Twitter, LinkedIn and via her blog.

VAF calls on MSPs to remember volunteers in new budget (09/12/15)

Voluntary Action Fund (VAF) is calling on MSPs to pledge their support for volunteering and ensure funding for volunteering by the public sector continues in the upcoming budgets. MSPs have been invited to recognise the massive return on investment volunteering provides: at least five times the actual cost of supporting volunteers in their role.

The Scottish Household Survey (2012) estimated formal volunteering contributes £2.6 billion per year to Scotland’s economy. However, for volunteers to provide a consistently high level of service, and for organisations to recruit and retain the volume of volunteers they need, volunteering has to be sufficiently resourced.

Currently, the Scottish Government’s Volunteering Support Fund (worth £1.1 million and managed by Voluntary Action Fund) helps meet this need through small grants of under £10,000. Now in its third round, this Fund aims to help small to medium-sized charities recruit additional volunteers (to help extend or expand their services), while also improving how volunteers are supported in their role.

Thanks to the Scottish Government, at least 5,063 volunteers have been involved and supported by the Fund within its first six months; providing an average of 7,295 volunteering hours in total per week throughout Scotland. Using Volunteer Scotland’s calculations that equates to £5.5 million per year in monetary terms: five times the value of the funding invested in them!

As well as acknowledging the economic role played by Scotland’s volunteers, the Volunteering Support Fund recognises the benefits of volunteering to the volunteers themselves. The programme encourages the recruitment and support of people who are disadvantaged so that they can benefit from additional opportunities including:

  • Increased skills and experience, which can lead to further training, education and employment.
  • Reduced feelings of isolation, especially among older volunteers, people with health issues and residents in rural areas.
  • Improved mental health, confidence and self-esteem.

VAF’s Chief Executive, Keith Wimbles commented, “At a time of further budget cuts, this highlights the extraordinary value that volunteering brings to our economy. There’s irrefutable evidence that investing in volunteering provides more than five times the economic value of the investment made – not to mention the social benefits to individuals, communities and society. That’s a massive return on investment that shouldn’t be ignored.”

"Orange the World" : VAF Supports 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women

The Voluntary Action Fund (VAF) goes “Orange” on the 25th November to promote and support the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls. This international campaign seeks to highlight and challenge gender based violence across the world from the 25th November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) through to 10th December (Human Rights Day). During the 16 days VAF staff will be wearing orange,  giving out white ribbons and asking people to take the White Ribbon Pledge never to ‘commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women’.

Maggie Gardiner, Programme Manager for the Violence against Women and Girls team at VAF states, “This year in Scotland there were 59,882 incidents of domestic abuse reported to the police. 79% of those were situations where women were the victims and men the perpetrators of the abuse. During many of these incidents, mostly home based, children were present. We support over 100 projects and organisations across Scotland to tackle all forms of violence against women, grant funding them with more than £9 million via the Scottish Government. These organisations work on the front line directly with vulnerable women, children and young people, helping them recover and rebuild their lives after experiencing violence and abuse. Police Scotland has also seen an increase in sexual crime reporting, including rape and sexual assault, to the highest level since 1971. We ask you to join with us and show solidarity by wearing orange and taking the White Ribbon Pledge”.

VAF will be organising events in their Inverkeithing and Glasgow offices on 25th November to launch the 16 Days of Activism, and the Violence Against Women and Girls team will be tweeting throughout the 16 days campaign @VAF_VAW and will be regularly updating the website

All over Scotland people will be holding events, staging protests and taking action to end gender based violence. You can find out more about 16 Days here:

You can find out more about The White Ribbon Scotland campaign to involve men in tackling violence against women here: 


 Tackling Sectarianism Small Grant Programme - still open for applications

The Small Grant Programme is still open for applications.  The Application Form and Guidance Notes are available here.    

The Voluntary Action Fund is pleased to support the Scottish Volunteering Forum, Why Volunteering Matters - The Case for Change.

Why is the  case for change important?

The rates of volunteering in Scotland have been static for many years, yet it is critical to making Scotland a happier, healthier and more prosperous place.  Approximately 1.3m adults across Scotland volunteer, but many find it hard to access opportunities whilst many more don’t even consider it an option.  To increase the number of people realising the benefits of volunteering, things need to change.   We want to ensure everyone is entitled and supported in realising these benefits with a set of simple, clear and action oriented asks of different groups across Scotland.

What’s different about this case, and why will it work?

  • It’s action based.
  • It’s not the work of a single organisation - It has the backing of some of Scotland’s leading third sector organisations.
  • There are a number of committed, influential and passionate people behind the case for change, who are now planning to give it out and share widely with the sector and beyond so we can all do our bit to make the change we need.

Why Volunteering Matters The Case for Change is now on the Scottish Volunteering Forum Website

What is the Scottish Volunteering Forum’s  ask of you?


  1. Read the document.
  2. Think about it.
  3. Consider how the Case for Change fits with your work.
  4. Reflect on how volunteering can help you meet your aims and priorities.
  5. Share the Case for Change with your networks.
  6. Contact members of the Scottish Volunteering Forum to get more information or to pledge your support.

Collectively we can Be the Change!

Thank you

Keith Wimbles, Chief Executive - Voluntary Action Fund, Co-Chair - Scottish Volunteering Forum 

VAF Welcomes the Scottish Business Pledge

“VAF welcomes the nine point Scottish Business Pledge Scottish_Business_Pledge_Logo.jpglaunched by the First Minister at the end of May 2015.  We are delighted that a wide range of Scottish businesses have signed up to the Scottish Business Pledge to help build a fairer Scotland.   For VAF the Pledge will help address inequality in Scotland and underscores VAF’s work through our Knowledge Transfer Partnership looking at the connectivity and alignment of Corporate Social Responsibility/Sustainability policies and the real and emerging needs of the third sector in Scotland.”

“VAF's vision is that people and communities are thriving, active, self-organising, resourceful, and connected. Our mission is to release existing and potential resources within communities by investing money, increasing capacity and building relationships.”