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

Ambition Fund Now Open For Applications

Voluntary and Third Sector organisations in West Lothian are now able to apply for a share of £200,000, thanks to council funding.

West Lothian Council’s Ambition Fund aims to enable third sector organisations to increase their capacity to improve and grow existing and new services.

The fund can be used to:

  • Purchase equipment which would improve their ability to develop and/or deliver services
  • Support the development of existing and/or new services by front-loading staff and other costs
  • Provide match funding for grants from external organisations for investment in new projects to deliver in new projects to lever in additional external funding to pilot, develop and/or improve delivery of services

Applicants must have a Constitution and/or Articles of Association and a bank account in the name of the organisation. Confirmation that a minimum of two people eg Chair and Treasurer, are required to sign and counter-sign cheques.

The latest version of Audited or Independently Examined annual accounts should be provided and confirmation that surpluses or profits are retained and not distributed.

There are two levels of funding: Between £5,000 to £20,000 and over £20,000. Any applications for more than £20,000 have to demonstrate that significant levels of ‘match’ funding are available.

West Lothian Council has invested £200,000 in 2017/18 for the programme. The deadline for applications is 31 July 2017. Projects will be expected to commence in 2017/18 and be completed within 12 months of funding approval.

Application forms are available from both West Lothian Council’s website (www.westlothian.gov.uk/) and the Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian’s website (http://www.voluntarysectorgateway.org/)

Please send your completed applications to: Ian.Hepburn@westlothian.gov.uk

Third Sector Strategy Group Meetings Schedule

The role of the TSSG
To advise and guide the Gateway about the needs of the sector at national and local policy development level and the delivery of the work plan.

To facilitate sector reps at forums representing the sector and not just narrow organisational interests.
To facilitate the setting up of appropriate systems for the constituencies of organisations in each thematic/geographic group e.g. children and families, local regeneration planning etc.
To facilitate communications both up and down between forums and the sector and within and across the sector.
To influence policy and planning nationally across the sector.
To act as a ‘sounding board’ to provide advice to the Gateway on its future strategies and plans.


The TSSG is open to all Third Sector Groups not just members.
The new Terms of Reference can be found here.

Third Sector Strategy Group – 2017 (Wednesdays – 12.30pm – 2pm VSGWL Office):
16th November Agenda Minutes
14th December Agenda Minutes
18th January Agenda
15th February
15th March
19th April
17th May
14th June
19th July

Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian Recruitment of Directors

boardroomAre you passionate about empowering communities to improve their quality of life?  Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian (VSGWL) is a Third Sector Interface (TSI).  We provide access to support and advice for the third sector and strong coherent and cohesive representation of the third sector with the Community Planning Partnership in West Lothian.

Information on our work is available here on our website. http://www.voluntarysectorgateway.org/

VSGWL is governed by a board of Trustees/Directors with various backgrounds and skills and we plan to expand our board to help the organisation develop further.  This is an exciting time when we are about to refresh the overall vision, governance and business plan.

We would welcome up to three board members who want to make a commitment in return for which you could gain valuable experience and knowledge.  Share your skills whilst developing new ones and make a real difference to the third sector in West Lothian.

We welcome applications from people of all ages and backgrounds.

Although previous board experience is beneficial it is not essential, enthusiasm and commitment are the most important qualities we look for.

We expect the time commitment needed for this role to vary from month to month, however it is expected that duties would include:-
Attendance at Board meetings with time in between to read papers and carry out  actions,
Attendance at other meetings and events as appropriate,
Engaging with VSGWL activities.

This is a Voluntary position with expenses paid to attend meetings, training etc.

Further information including a Role Description is available from here on our website.  If you would like to apply please email your CV to our CEO Bridget Paterson who will contact you to arrange an initial chat; bridget.meisak@vsgwl.org

Community Directory

communityWe have recently updated our Community Directory search function

You can now search for local organisations here: http://www.voluntarysectorgateway.org/community-directory/ or from the link at the top of the page

This directory shows local voluntary organisations, enabling them to publicise the work that they do and to help users find their services

We gather contact information about each organisation so that users can:
• Browse the information • Perform keyword searches • Make contact with organisations

If your organisation does not appear, please let us know and we will update the database

Volunteering Search

volunteering-searchWe have also updated our Volunteering Search function

You can search for Volunteering Opportunities here: http://www.voluntarysectorgateway.org/volunteering-search/ or from the link at the top of the page

Please use this search tool to look for Volunteering Opportunities in West Lothian

For volunteering opportunities throughout Scotland, use the National Volunteering Opportunities search


We have updated the online information about some of our current projects here: http://www.voluntarysectorgateway.org/projects/

To learn more, click on any project in the list below:

Garden Angels Supported Volunteering West Lothian Befriending
 Garden Angels Leaflet  Supported Volunteering Leaflet  Befriender Leaflet

Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme

agift-aid-faqsThe Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) allows eligible charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) to claim top-up payments from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on small cash donations that they receive.  The scheme is specifically for cash donations of £20 and under, and does not include cheques, bank transfers, credit cards or text donations.

Your charity or Community Amateur Sports Club (registered with HMRC) must have been active for at least the last two tax years and be claiming Gift Aid.  Unlike Gift Aid GASDS is not a tax relief scheme, but the two are interlinked.  There is strict eligibility criteria for GASDS, so you are advised to check with HMRC to see if you charity or Community Amateur Sports Club could benefit.

Other Community Toolkit Topics to look at:
Gift Aid
Tax Reliefs
Financial Management and Reporting
Charitable Status
Tax Exemptions for Sports Clubs

Further sources of information
Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme – HMRC website
Gift Aid – HMRC website
Gift Aid for Community Sports Clubs – HMRC website
Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)

LGBT Helpline Scotland

lgbt-helplineWe provide information and emotional support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families, friends and supporters across Scotland.  We are also here to support those questioning or wanting to discuss their sexuality or gender identity.  We are open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 12pm to 9pm.

Website: www.lgbthealth.org.uk/helpline
Email: helpline@lgbthealth.org.uk
Telephone: 0300-123-2523

LGBT Health and Wellbeing aim to improve the health and wellbeing of all LGBT people living in Scotland through building the strength of individuals and creating community connections.  We offer advice and support throughout Scotland with our national LGBT Helpline Scotland, and deliver services in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Fife.

Community Assets is Open’ Blog from Big Lottery Fund
features Fauldhouse Community Hub 

Community AssetsFauldhouse Community Hub, our new fund which will allow Scottish communities to buy, manage or develop buildings or land.

Between now and 2020, community led groups can apply for grants from £10,000 to £1 million and, where needed, will receive professional technical support and advice from Community Asset mentors to turn their project ideas into reality.

Through Community Assets we want groups to demonstrate three key approaches – people-led, strengths-based and connected.  We’re keen to share examples of best practice projects so today we kick off with Fauldhouse Community Development Trust Ltd – a fantastic community asset project with a strong people-led approach.


River Forth Fisheries Trust  awarded £1.65 Million from the Heritage Lottery Fund

RiverLifeThis is to help the River Forth Fisheries Trust deliver a major integrated catchment improvement project in the central belt of Scotland within the catchments of the River Almond and River Avon.  The project has been developed alongside communities over the past year and will now be delivered over a four-year period from mid-2016 until mid-2020.  The project will focus on improving urban rivers whilst engaging communities so rivers can be used as a resource for recreation and learning whilst promoting sustainable stewardship of our rivers.

More on this story here

Craigsfarm Centre celebrates scooping £1.2 million from the Big Lottery Fund 

Craigsfarm board membersThe Craigsfarm Community Development Project is one of four West Lothian groups welcoming a cash boost.

Craigsfarm in Craigshill will be developed and brought into community ownership, thanks to over £1.2 million from the Big Lottery Fund.

Family Mediation Lothian will receive £265,785, Signpost gets £71,441 and Fauldhouse Community Development Trust Ltd receives £147,000.

Read more on West Lothian Courier

“Working on the till has helped me with my maths skills”

Having a physical or learning disability shouldn’t prevent anyone from volunteering.

Watch this great video from Volunteering Matters to hear more from the volunteers themselves.

If your organisation has opportunities for people with a physical or learning disability, let VSGWL know vsg@vsgwl.org

The Celebration of Volunteering took place during Volunteers’ Week on 3 June in West Lothian College.  This video was premièred at the event

The Volunteer Network Finished Video from Affinity TV on Vimeo.


Here are some photos from the event

1271 03Jun16

1271 (Bathgate) Squadron, Air Training Corps, provided the music at the Celebration of Volunteering event in West Lothian College on 3rd June. The band (orchestra?) set the scene and their choir provided further entertainment

Disability West Lothian 03Jun16

Disability West Lothian volunteers recognised at the Celebration of Volunteering event in West Lothian College on 3rd June

There are more photos of volunteers on our Volunteers’ Week 2016 page
When you click the download button for each photo, there is an option of size and quality right up to original size

East Dunbartonshire Voluntary Action: Young Volunteer Q&A

East Dunbartonshire Voluntary Action (EDVA) has released a short video featuring young volunteers.
In the video, the young people share their motivations for volunteering, how it impacts them and their communities, and tell us why other young people should “just go for it” and get involved with volunteering.

You can watch the video below!

Scottish Land Fund

Ailsa Raeburn spoke about Scottish Land Fund at the most recent Voluntary Sector Forum.  The video below has comments from successful applicants from SLF II on what asset ownership has done for their communities.  Urban areas can now take advantage of this funding for the ownership and management of land and land assets. https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/scottishlandfund

Funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership by the Big Lottery Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, it offers grants of up to £1 million to help communities take ownership of the land and buildings that matter to them, as well as practical support to develop their aspirations into viable projects.

The Scottish Land Fund is open to organisations in both urban and rural Scotland which are community-led, community-controlled, and defined by a geographic area.

Applicants can be from one of a wide range of representative community bodies, including voluntary organisations, social enterprises or community councils.

Volunteers of the Year 2015

West Lothian’s Volunteers Keeping the Community at Heart

On Wednesday 25 November, Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian hosted their annual Volunteer Awards ceremony at the Hilcroft Hotel in Whitburn – celebrating and recognising the dedicated volunteers within our community.

Volunteers of the Year 2015

More photos and videos can be found at

More photos to buy from West Lothian Courier

Volunteering at Bield

Bield Housing & Care’s Volunteer Team’s video aims is to highlight the importance and benefits of volunteering within Bield – both internally within the organisation and externally to partners and organisations that we work with and to highlight the importance of our volunteers and the support they give to Bield services, developments and most importantly the service users themselves.

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

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.

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?

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

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.

Here is a link to an updated copy of our Annual Accounts 2014_15 combined with a covering letter from John McKechnie, Treasurer

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

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



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

Web Development by Hot Igloo
Web Development by Hot Igloo