West Lothian Volunteer Network (WLVN) exists to provide Volunteer Managers/Coordinators with a forum for support, information exchange, to share best practice and to work in partnership on an informal basis to develop a variety of events, with a particular emphasis on promoting volunteering opportunities and acknowledging all of the volunteers’ contributions. WLVN started in 2013, with our first Volunteers’ Celebration in 2014 and one every year thereafter. At the first celebration approx. 50 people were in attendance with 70 volunteer certificates being issued. This number has risen every year, averaging at 1500 certificates in 2017, 2018 and 2019 with approx. 50 organisations participating and approx. 250 volunteers in attendance.
Since the start of WLVN we have received funding/contributions from:
- 2014/15 West Lothian Council’s small grants funds
- 2016/17 Big Lottery, Awards for All £10,000
- 2018 VSGWL £2,000
- 2019 West Lothian Council £2,000
- 2020 West Lothian Council £1000 (Event cancelled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic)
- 2021 No further funding – WLVN held a Virtual Volunteers Celebration (Due to Covid restrictions)
- 2022 No further funding – funding used from 2019/2020 funds.
Plus, on top of this, WLVN have received an amazing amount of non-monetary support from West Lothian College. Their support has been fundamental in our volunteers’ celebration over the last 4 years, providing the likes of the venue, hall and table decoration, electrical and sound systems, projectors, cakes for volunteers, staff and student union support. Without such support the monetary amounts that we have would not be sufficient to ensure a wonderful celebration for our worthy volunteers.
Moving forward we would like to seek further funding to assist us in developing WLVN further, raising our profile through partnership working, promotional materials and publicity, advertising and social media. We also plan to continue delivering our West Lothian Volunteer Celebration, supporting our current organisational members and welcoming new. We will be continuing with our 3 main activities.
WLVN’s 3 main areas of activity:
1. Events and Volunteer Celebration
Since the beginning WLVN has been involved in a variety of activities around Volunteers Week. Each year Volunteer Fairs have taken place around the county from 1 st – 7 th June with the Volunteer Celebration being the grand-finally at the end of June. Volunteers from local groups and organisations are invited to attend as a ‘thank you’ for their commitment and contribution throughout the year. Certificates of appreciation are also given to each and every volunteer. WLVN also works closely with West Lothian College’s volunteer bureau and attends numerous fairs and events to highlight volunteering opportunities in West Lothian throughout the year.
2. Training, Skill Sharing & Networking
Previous Big Lottery funding allowed us to provide volunteer management training for members, delivered by Volunteer Scotland and further training by other training agencies. WLVN now explores further ways in which we can source training and share expertise and best practice amongst our members. We meet monthly for networking meetings and all members are invited to attend.
3. Communication and Promotion
We have developed a membership spreadsheet and our own member’s handbook for events, outlining member’s remit, contact details and volunteering opportunities. Previous Big Lottery funding has allowed us to purchase pop up banners and volunteering flyers both for WLVN as well as individual member groups to help promote volunteering opportunities in West Lothian. We now have a presence on social media, both Facebook and Twitter and use the #WLVN when posting. We can be found using @WestLothianVN