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

Volunteers’ Week 2016

2016 Volunteers Week

Our Celebration of Volunteering took place 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

Some of the press coverage

Courier 28Apr16a

Volunteering Special in West Lothian Courier online

Courier 06May16

Another excellent page on volunteering in West Lothian Courier in the run-up to Volunteers’ Week 2016

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

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/

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?

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

Voluntary Sector Gateway Operational Action Plan 2014-2015

Shaping the Future

Voluntary Sector Gateway Business Plan 2014-2017

Business Plan

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