Saltire Awards

How Does the Saltire Awards Programme Work?

The Saltire Awards is made up of four key award sections.  These are:

The Challenge…

This is designed as an introduction to volunteering for people aged 12-25 and is undertaken as part of a team.  It is a standalone award and a ‘Challenge’ certificate is awarded once the team of young volunteers complete the Challenge.  It can be any group of young volunteers and any volunteering challenge.  It may be a group of school pupils volunteering after school to do an environmental clear up of the local area.  Or perhaps a group of young people painting or decorating a local community facility or premises of a local organisation.  The length of time it will take to complete the challenge will depend upon the particular challenge.  It might take a day, a week, a month, or longer.  Challenge certificates are awarded to each member of the team.  All certificates are signed by Ministers of the Scottish Parliament.  Organisations should contact Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian to register a local Challenge.

The Approach…

The ‘Approach’ is all about a young person progressing into an individual volunteering placement.  Although this award is open to 12-25 year-olds, it may be most suitable for the 12-15 year-old age group.  The young person is supported to make a regular commitment to volunteering.  Certificates are awarded at the completion of 10 and 25 hours volunteering.  All certificates are signed by Ministers of the Scottish Parliament.

The Ascent…

The ‘Ascent’ is the section of the Saltire Awards that is most similar to the MV Awards programme.  This is based on a young person, aged 14-25, making a sustained commitment to volunteering with a local organisation, school, or project.  Certificates are awarded on completion of 50, 100, 200 and 500 hours of volunteering.  All certificates are signed by Ministers from the Scottish Parliament, with the 200 and 500 hours awards signed by First Minister, Alex Salmond.

The Summit…

The ‘Summit’ is the pinnacle of the Saltire Awards, and will only be achieved by those aged 12-25 who have made an outstanding contribution to volunteering.  Its purpose is to recognise those who have not only completed the Ascent, but have exceeded expectations.  The Summit is not necessarily awarded on the basis of the number of hours volunteering a young person gives (although it may be used to recognise an exceptional volunteer who achieves well over 500 hours).  It may be a young person who has overcome significant personal barriers to achieve success through volunteering.  Organisations can nominate a young person for a Summit award and a peer group of young Saltire Ambassadors will assess each Summit nomination made.  Organisations can contact Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian to request a Summit Nomination Form.

Saltire Ambassadors

Young people who go on to achieve a 200-hour Saltire Summit Award certificate, or have previously completed a 200-hour MV Award certificate, will have the opportunity to become a ‘Saltire Ambassador’.  Saltire Ambassadors will have the opportunity to support Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian in the facilitation of the Saltire Awards locally and will also be part of the decision-making process for young people nominated to achieve Summit awards.  If you have previously achieved a 200-hour MV Award certificate and would be interested in joining the first group of Saltire Ambassadors in West Lothian, please contact the Gateway for more information at

More Key Information…

Young people can enter or exit the Saltire Awards at any of the four stages.  For example, for many young people, it will be appropriate to enter the Saltire Awards at the Ascent stage, while others may enter at the Challenge or the Approach stage.

Signing-Up for Saltire Awards:

For Young People…

If you are a young person and would like to sign-up to work towards a Saltire Award, please complete the Volunteer Registration Form and then simply keep a note of the volunteering hours you complete on the Timesheet Form.  Once you have achieved a certificate level (at least 10 hours of volunteering), your Volunteer Manager, Supervisor or Coordinator should complete the Certificate Request Form.  Guidance on these forms can be found at ascent-notes.  Alternatively, you have the opportunity to complete all the relevant information and record your hours online through the Saltire Awards website.

Through Young Scot Rewards, young people are able to collect points on their Young Scot National Entitlement Card (NEC) for taking part in a variety of activities offered by a range of cross-sector partners.  As their points accumulate, they are then able to unlock achievements and rewards which include special offers and the chance to take part in unique experiences.  Examples of rewards currently available include two-for-one driving lessons with BSM, going behind the scenes at the filming of the latest series of ‘Gary: Tank Commander’ and the daring opportunity to swim with sharks at Deep Sea World.

For Organisations…

Local organisations and projects interested in supporting young volunteers through Saltire Awards should register interest by completing the Organisation Registration Form.  Thereafter, the organisation can support the young person in ensuring the completion of the Volunteer Registration Form and Timesheet Form before completing the Certificate Request Form to verify a young person has completed enough hours for certification.  Guidance on these forms can be found at ascent-notesKey information for organisations can be obtained by visiting the Saltire Awards website.

For Schools…

The Awards dovetail neatly into the four capacities of the Curriculum for Excellence.  Participants will be required to complete a self-evaluation (Footprints) at the outset, and at key milestones in their volunteering journey.  Footprints will monitor the progress they have made and will directly link their responses to the Curriculum for Excellence.  The Saltire Journal is used to record training courses, new skills learned and personal achievements.  My Saltire is an online account or record of volunteering which allows the young person to submit hours, claim certificates, record multiple volunteering activities and information on placement organisations.  The Pathway encourages participants to focus on their motivations for volunteering and ascertain what they hope to gain from it and will be a unique personal journey for each and every volunteer.

Using the combined tools of Journal, Pathway & Footprints, participants in the Saltire Awards will be able to identify learning outcomes and skills development as well as to record and evaluate success.  It will assist them to identify the transferable skills they acquire which employers and Further & Higher Education institutes now routinely demand.  Key information for schools can be obtained by visiting the Saltire Awards website.

For Parents…

Saltire Awards are designed to formally recognise the commitment and contribution of young people volunteering in Scotland.  The Saltire Awards enable volunteers between the ages of 12 & 25 to gain new skills and practical experience through volunteering placements provided by local and national voluntary agencies.  Key information for parents can be obtained by visiting the Saltire Awards website.

To download the forms, please click on the above blue highlighted links.  You can then save these files into your own documents from the VSGWL website.  All Saltire Awards forms should be returned to Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian at 36 – 40 North Bridge Street, BATHGATE, EH48 4PP or email to

Pinewood pupils were the first to receive a Saltire Award

These pupils at Pinewood School in Blackburn were the very first young people to receive a Saltire Award in West Lothian and it is a tribute to the school as a whole that they have achieved this in the very short time from the launch of the Saltire Awards on the 1st April 2012.

Volunteering of varying sorts has taken place, ranging from helping in charity shops to placements at local nurseries.

Staff at Pinewood school are extremely proud of the class for being the first school in West Lothian to achieve this award. The pupils from the Leaving Year were Connor Brookhouse, Christopher Williamson, Kyah Hopper, Toni Nelson, Craig Hardie, Jack McGroarty, Jennifer Fleming and Jack Mathieson

The success was celebrated at a whole school assembly with certificates being presented by Leader of the Council John McGinty, Jim McGregor and Eric Burton. Pupils then hosted a reception, where admiration for their achievement was expressed by staff and guests alike.

Katie Grant is the first in West Lothian to receive a 500 Hours Saltire Award

Prince’s Trust Team 9 Livingston were presented with 50 Hours Saltire Awards for their voluntary work at the completion of their Team Programme.

They volunteered on the Community Challenge at Tippethill Hospital and in the Team Challenge at the Scottish War Blinded Linburn Centre and with Leonard Cheshire Disability.

Katie Grant, a volunteer team leader with Prince’s Trust, was presented with a 500 Hours Saltire Award by Graeme Morrice MP at Craigsfarm Campus, Livingston.  Katie is the first person to receive a 500 Hours Saltire Award in West Lothian.  This award recognises her volunteering effort with the Prince’s Trust and others.

Pictured are Saltire Award recipients Jade Cherrie, Daniel Kimber, Dylan Mcneil, Matt Russell, Kar Meng Lee, Graeme Morrice MP, Katie Grant, Lisa Stewart and Kirsty Balloch

Other awards are available at


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

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