Voluntary Action Scotland votes to admit volunteer centres

Umbrella body is also in talks with social enterprise organisations

Voluntary Action Scotland, the umbrella body for Scottish councils for voluntary service, has voted overwhelmingly to open up membership to volunteer centres.

It was revealed yesterday that almost 95 per cent of Scotland's 56 CVSs voted to admit volunteer centres to VAS, which was launched earlier this year.

Harry Whiteside, convener of the umbrella body, said the move was a vital step in strengthening VAS's voice and capacity to support local infrastructure organisations.

She said: "The recent joint conference demonstrated that CVSs and volunteer centres had much in common, and that there was much to be gained from working more closely together – particularly as we move towards the establishment of interfaces within each local authority area."

She said VAS was also in discussions with local social enterprise support bodies about allowing them to join. She said: "By building a strong foundation of membership that is truly connected to local communities, we will be well served to provide a unique focus at national level on the work of local interfaces and their constituents."

The development comes after a report by a taskforce of Scottish third sector infrastructure organisations called for the creation of a "congress" of third sector representative bodies to create greater communication and collaboration between them. 

A Framework for the Future, produced by Supporting Voluntary Action Think Tanks, recommends regular meetings between national umbrella bodies and CVSs, volunteer centres, local social economy partnerships and social enterprise networks and support organisations.

It also recommends a quality mark for infrastructure organisations and an online directory of all available national and local support.

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