Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian

Business Hours The GATEWAY is open Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5pm, Friday, 9am to 4pm, and we can be reached by Email – vsg@vsgwl.org – Telephone (01506) 650111 – or Fax (01506) 650222

VSGWL Annual General Meeting

VSGWLThe Annual General Meeting of VSGWL will be held in St. Mary’s Church Hall, 9 Livery Street, Bathgate, EH48 4HS commencing at 7pm on Monday 14 December 2015 for the purpose of reviewing the Trustees Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ending as of the 31 March 2015 and to consider other matters that may be raised.

Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian, Scottish Charity No. SC 027612
Company Limited by Guarantee SC 244154
The registered office of the Company is:
36 – 40 North Bridge Street, Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland, EH48 4PP
Tel: 01506 650111 Fax: 01506 650222 e mail: vsg@vsgwl.org web: www.vsgwl.org

Turn your everyday into something that makes a difference

Volunteer with Barnardo’s

Dyslexia Scotland Branch Volunteers

Our branch volunteers talk about why they are involved in our network of branches across Scotland.

If you would like to get involved and help improve the lives of people with dyslexia across West Lothian, please let us know at the Open Meeting or email dswestlothian@gmail.com.  If you’d like some more information about becoming a volunteer with Dyslexia Scotland, have a look at the videos from the recent Branch conference at www.youtube.com/watch?v=60W3f9AgL3c

Helen & Mary’s Big Fringe Review

Mary Ferrie and Helen Orr took it in their stride when Living it Up asked them to join their crew to review the Fringe.

Mary and Helen from West Lothian were invited by Living it Up to attend the glitzy Gilded Balloon at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a day packed with laughter and fun.  Having been great friends since meeting in 1976, both Mary and Helen are members of the West Lothian 50+ Network, where people get together regularly to partake in a variety of exciting and interesting day trips.

West Lothian volunteers speak about the benefits of helping others through volunteering work

Food Train VolunteerDuring Volunteers Week 2015, everyone in West Lothian was urged to take a moment to consider if they can make a difference.

There are countless volunteering opportunities across the county for people of all walks of life and becoming a volunteer not only helps people of all ages and backgrounds, but provides a sense of achievement for those helping out.

The Courier met with some of the many dedicated volunteers who give their time to helping other people in the communities and asked what volunteering means to them.


Volunteering in West Lothian

How employers, colleges and universities – as well as young volunteers – look at volunteering as a way to gain experience.

“Opening the Doors of Opportunity”

A short promotional video produced for our colleagues at Voluntary Action Shetland by DJ Film and Sound to raise awareness of just some of the hundreds of volunteering opportunities currently available in the Shetland Isles.
Many similar opportunities exist in West Lothian – no lifeboats though!
Volunteering can be fun.  No bearded men were harmed in the making of this video.

Volunteering is for everyone

Engage Renfrewshire, the TSI for Renfrewshire, have produced a great film about the work done by volunteers and voluntary orgs in Renfrewshire

Made on behalf of Engage Renfrewshire by Create Paisley

Are You an Arts Group Looking for Volunteers?

Voluntary Arts Scotland can help you find them!
Watch our inspirational video to see how we can help you find a creative pair of hands to help your arts group.

West Lothian social enterprise group KidzEco win top award

Kidzeco presentationKidzEco, which has shops in Bathgate and Livingston, has scooped the coveted Committed to Excellence award at the Scottish Awards for Business Excellence organised by Quality Scotland.

The group secured its award for ‘maintaining a consistently high level of ‘best practice’ quality procedures within the scope of its business excellence strategy.’


Bathgate Street Pastors given royal reception by the Queen

Street PastorsThe town’s Street Pastors were summoned to Holyrood by the Queen for her annual garden party.

It was a far cry from the streets of Bathgate on a Saturday night when volunteer pastors can be involved in anything from breaking-up fights to rumbling illegal taxi drivers.

A dozen pastors were joined by over 4000 fellow volunteers at the bash attended by Her Majesty, Prince Philip, Prince Edward and Princess Anne.


 Queens-Award-for-Voluntary-ServiceNo Limits, based in West Lothian, recognised with Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for 2015

A voluntary group from West Lothian who work in the community to provide sporting and social opportunities for children and young people with a disability has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Full details here: http://www.voluntarysectorgateway.org/2015/06/no-limits-based-in-west-lothian-recognised-with-queens-award-for-voluntary-service-for-2015/

Volunteers’ Week Celebration of Volunteering

This event was held on the last day of Volunteers’ Week on Sunday 7 June at the Lanthorn Community Centre, Livingston

The event ran in Celebration of Volunteers and the attendance was double that of last year.  Below are a just selection of photos of organisations who attended the event:

1271 Squadron Air Cadets

1271 (Bathgate) Squadron Air Cadets

YWCA Livingston

YWCA Livingston

Barnardo's West Lothian Family Support Services

Barnardo’s West Lothian Family Support Services

Ageing Well showing off their certificates

Ageing Well showing off their certificates

Friends of Adult Basic Education

Friends of Adult Basic Education

Photos of this year’s Volunteer Fayres can be found here http://www.voluntarysectorgateway.org/volunteers-week-2015/

Keep the Garden Angels Gardening!

Here is the difference that Garden Angels can make:

Garden Angels difference
Garden Angels began in 2013 to help the many elderly West Lothian residents who can no longer maintain their gardens.  Age-related issues lead to people’s gardens becoming untidy and unsafe, causing them distress, frustration and embarrassment.  Our volunteers clear away built-up debris, weeds and overgrowth in neglected gardens, and then maintain them regularly so they don’t become untidy or overgrown again.
gofundmeAs a self-supporting project, we must secure all our own funds in order to operate.  We have been offered a generous amount of matching funds from the Robertson Trust to be applied to the project over three years, if we can raise the rest of our budget from other means.
Our current shortfall is £18,422 for the first year’s budget, which we will need to obtain before receiving the matching funds.  We will keep pursuing as many options as we can, and would greatly appreciate any contribution from those who think the project is worth continuing.
You can help keep the Garden Angels gardening by clicking on the GoFundMe graphic.

Craigshill Good Neighbour Network nominated for Scottish Charity Awards

Craigshill-Good-Neighbour-Network-Image-2We offer groups and activities to support socially isolated and vulnerable people in our community.

We’ve helped people get on line by offering basic computing classes, tablet sessions and digital photography with online editing.

We arranged an exhibition showcasing the digital photography.

Our learners are very proud of their achievements.

You can vote here: http://www.scvo.org.uk/charity-awards/craigshill-good-neighbour-network/?group=az

Congratulations to Marylin Boland
West Lothian Volunteer of the Year 2014

Marylin BolandMarylin Boland, Secretary of Diabetes UK West Lothian Voluntary Group, was presented with the West Lothian Volunteer of the Year Award by Fiona Hyslop, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs at an award ceremony in the Hilcroft Hotel, Whitburn on Wednesday 26th November.

Marylin has been a member of the group since 2009 and secretary since 2012.  She is involved in almost every aspect of the group and has been instrumental in developing the group into one of the best in the country.

Amongst many other things Marylin –
organises the group’s Diabetes Information and Awareness Tables (DIATs)
provides diabetes and group information to structured education courses such as DAFNE and DESMOND
leads the group’s fund-raising team
is a TESCO fund-raising team-leader
leads the catering team for social events
is a trained Diabetes Risk Assessor
leads the group’s walking group
etc etc etc!

Diabetes UK West Lothian Voluntary Group are delighted that all Marylin’s hard work has been recognised! There are some more photos on their Facebook page.

Volunteers of the Year 2014

Volunteer of the Year Awards 2014

Volunteer of the Year Awards 2014

More photos are available on the Volunteers of the Year page

factcollage Voluntary Sector WL

Garden Angels Project

Garden AngelsClick on the graphic to download a PowerPoint presentation on the Garden Angels Project

What is Garden Angels About?
Who Can Volunteer?
Who Can Receive The Service?
Benefits for Clients
Benefits for Volunteers
Building Positive Relationships

If you want to volunteer with Garden Angels or you know of someone who could use their help, contact Jeneva Storme, Gardening Project Co-ordinator at the Gateway.  Tel: 01506-650111, e-mail: jeneva.storme@vsgwl.org, Garden Angels on Facebook


Voluntary Sector Gateway 2014 Newsletter

2014 NewsletterThe Voluntary Sector Gateway’s 2014 Newsletter was launched at our Annual General Meeting on Monday 23rd June.

Jim Gallacher, the Gateway’s Chief Executive Officer, commented:

“The contents of this Newsletter only offers a glimpse of the Gateway’s activities over the last year.

I’m pleased to say that much progress has been achieved in our representative role that has a focus on involving the Sector in influencing Public Policy.

The Voluntary Sector Strategic Group (VSSG) plays a very important role in supporting and advising the Gateway on strategic matters that affect the Sector.

I owe a debt of gratitude for all the additional time and work they have put in while at the same time carrying out their day job.

Be assured that The Gateway will be at the forefront in all our dealings and meetings promoting the best interest of West Lothian’s Third Sector.”

Click here to download

VSGWL Workplan 2015/16

This workplanVSGWL West Lothian TSI - 2015-16 Workplan is Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian’s proposed plan for the current year.

The Scottish Government provides grant funding to all TSIs (Third Sector Interfaces) to undertake the 4 key functions and deliver the 6 agreed outcomes that form part of the Scottish Government grant agreement.

The workplan outlines our TSI’s expected activities and key performance indicators through the use of objectives, strategies and measures allied to outcomes required by Scottish Government within the context of the Single Outcome Agreement.

Through continuous review, it is necessary that we make occasional amendments to this plan and these will be published in due course.

Voluntary Sector Gateway Operational Action Plan 2014-2015

Shaping the Future

Voluntary Sector Gateway Business Plan 2014-2017

Business Plan


First Minister’s Reception in Edinburgh Castle

First Minister's Reception

Two West Lothian Saltire Awards recipients, Ross Pitbladdo and Lewis Allan were the guests of the First Minister at a reception in Edinburgh Castle at an event to celebrate the achievements of Saltire Award holders and the Scottish winners of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award.  Following the First Minister’s suggestion, Ross has invited local Saltire Award holders to become Saltire Ambassadors – see below.

Saltire Ambassador ProjectSaltireAwards

Now that Saltire Awards have been running for some time, we are looking for volunteers to take part in the Saltire Ambassador project.
The Saltire Awards are committed to involving volunteers in the delivery and development of the Awards at all stages.

Saltire Ambassadors can choose to get involved in a variety of roles such as:

The “Summit” Panel
Helping to organise Saltire “Challenge” events
Publicity & Communication e.g. the website, Facebook and Twitter
Helping to organise Award Ceremonies

Saltire Ambassadors will have the opportunity to further develop and build upon skills such as planning, organisation, committee roles, communication and group work skills.

The Summit is for an outstanding contribution to volunteering.

It is awarded to recognise those who have not only completed the “Ascent” but have exceeded expectations.
Volunteers must be nominated for the Award by the school or organisation they volunteer for.
The nominations are peer-assessed by a panel of Saltire Ambassadors who decide who merits the Award.

Saltire Ambassadors will be helped by the Gateway to set up the Summit Panel and will be supported in doing so but they alone will decide who should be awarded a Summit Saltire Award.

If you would like to become a Saltire Ambassador, please contact Saltire@vsgwl.org and we’ll invite you to a meeting of interested individuals.

Download more on the Ambassador Role and the Summit – Panel Guidance.

Saltire Awards

Saltire Awards is a new recognition programme designed for young people, between 12 & 25, engaged in volunteering.  There are 4 sections to the Awards – Challenge, Approach, Ascent and Summit.  Young people can progress through the various stages but also have the option to enter and exit the programme at any level.  On completion of a level the young volunteer will be presented with a Saltire Award certificate.  This offers complete flexibility making it more accessible to young people regardless of ability, personal circumstances and lifestyles.

A new interactive website has been developed to support the involvement of young people, schools and voluntary organisations in the Saltire Awards www.saltireawards.org.uk.  This will give a direct specific online presence and support package for the Saltire Awards.

The Saltire Awards dovetail neatly into the 4 key objectives of Curriculum for Excellence as they will enable young people to develop their capacities through volunteering as successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.  The 4 sections to the Awards are as follows:


The age range for each section is flexible and dependent on individual circumstances but, for guidance and to facilitate delivering the Awards in schools and volunteer involving organisations, a suggested age range for each award is listed below:

Challenge 12 – 25  This is designed as an introduction to volunteering and is undertaken as part of a team.  Summit Recipients & Ambassadors may participate as enablers.
Approach 12 – 15 Young people under 16 but not ready to make a sustained commitment to volunteering or requiring extra support may prefer to start with the Approach.
Ascent 14 – 25  For any young person ready to make a sustained commitment to volunteering.
Summit 12 – 25  Ideally recipients should have completed the 200 hour Ascent but this is at the discretion of the Summit Panel.

How does the Saltire Awards programme work?

How do Young Scot Reward Points work?

The Community Toolkit

This resource has been developed for and with the help of community groups to help improve skills and knowledge and bring benefits to local communities. There are guidelines on a range of topics, including setting up and running a community group, legal requirements and good practice, planning and fundraising for a particular project and where to obtain useful statistical data on the local area. To access, click here West Lothian Community Toolkit

West Lothian Council Life Stages

The Life Stages Outcome Planning Programme is a substantial, strategic programme of change led by West Lothian Council working across the Community Planning Partnership (CPP). The overall aim of the programme is to enable the CPP to plan and deliver more effective interventions to tackle social inequalities and build successful communities across West Lothian using a Life Stage approach targeting deprived geographical areas. The Programme recognises that those who are most at risk (and generate the greatest expense in terms of demands on services) often lead complex lives, and hence focuses on redesigning services around the needs of the target group using a partnership approach. Life Stages is about being clear when people most need our support, why they most need our support,which people have the greatest need for our support, and what support they most need from us. There is a toolkit available to assist planning and delivering services that meet the Life Stages outcomes – The making changes happen support guide to implementing Life Stages from the Community Planning web page.

life stages charts final versions,

Training and Meeting Rooms for Hire

For more information download our Room Hire leaflet or contact vsg@vsgwl.org (preferred rates for members).

One of our meeting rooms

PVG Scheme

In February 2011, the Scottish Government introduced the new PVG membership scheme which replaced and improved upon the prior disclosure arrangements for people who work with vulnerable groups. This mean new application forms, new certificates, new guidance and new criteria against which posts and positions must be assessed before an application can be processed.

Click here for detailed information on the PVG Scheme

Click here for further information relating to the implementation of the PVG Scheme



© 2009- Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian
Company Number - SC244154
Charity Number - SC027612