Originally established in 1997 as “The Volunteer Information Point” with one development worker based in the Central Library, Volunteer Centre Dundee is now an independent voluntary organisation with around 20 staff.
Here’s a bit about how we started and other projects that we have been involved in over the years:
In 1998, with regeneration funding, we set up a local volunteer centre in Midcraigie and Linlathen area after a successful pilot project; The Community Volunteer Initiative (CVI) was formed. Originally based in The Hub, CVI moved in 2004 to share premises with our Lend-a-Hand project. CVI has focused on raising awareness and developing community volunteering. They worked with many local groups to help them to increase their capacity to recruit, support and retain volunteers. The project ended in 2008.
In 2003, CVI undertook research into local volunteering needs in the Mid Craigie and Linlathen areas and was the basis for a successful application for funding from the Action Fund (UVAF). In 2004 we set up our Lend-a-Hand project, a good neighbour scheme. VAF funding ended in 2007; however, Lend-a-Hand continued with a team of dedicated volunteers and a support worker. The project ended in 2009.
2005 saw an increase in the staffing at Volunteer Centre Dundee. As well as funding from the Scottish Executive we accessed funding from Millennium Volunteers, Sportscotland, Working for Families, Regeneration & the Voluntary Action Fund. This growth was in response to the Scottish Executive’s Volunteering Strategy which we were a key partner in delivering. The strategy focused on four strands:
2006 saw a successful bid for funding from the National Lottery’s Fairshare money. This project, based in Charleston, was a befriending project focusing on bringing together young and old to reduce isolation and increase access to services. The project ended June 2009.
We celebrated our 10 years of being an independent organisation during 2009. We had a year of celebrations including a Civic Reception and a volunteering conference “Volunteering Matters: Time to make a Difference” held at West Park Centre where Dundee Partnership launched their Volunteering Strategy.
We successfully bid for funding under the SVA Change Champions programme, funded by BIGLottery and administered by SCVO, to roll out the Volunteer Friendly Award across Scotland. The Volunteer Friendly Award, a quality standard designed to support groups to look at their volunteer management practices and to recognise those that treat their volunteers well, was developed by Volunteer Centre Dundee with funding from Dundee Partnership.
In an 18-month project, from April 2010 to September 2011, the Award was introduced to Volunteer Centres and interfaces across Scotland. Since the project ended, Volunteer Centre Dundee has continued to support interfaces in 23 other local authority areas which are licensed to deliver the Volunteer Friendly Award.
Since 2011, Volunteer Centre Dundee has been a partner in Dundee’s Third Sector Interface, alongside Dundee Voluntary Action and Dundee Social Enterprise Network. The public face of the interface’s activities is Voluntary Gateway Dundee.
To support its vision for older people, that “older people are valued as an asset, their voices are heard and they are supported to enjoy full and positive lives in their own home or in a homely setting”, Scottish Government launched a four-year Reshaping Care for Older People Change Fund in 2011 to provide funding to partnerships between the statutory and non-statutory sectors across Scotland to change the way we provide care for older people. The Partnership in Dundee (NHS, Local Authority, the third sector and the independent sector), along with older people, identified eleven Programmes of Change to be prioritised in Dundee.
Volunteer Centre Dundee has worked closely with our interface partners, Dundee Voluntary Action and Dundee Social Enterprise Network, to deliver outcomes for the Capacity Building Programme (Programme 10). More recently, Volunteer Centre Dundee has been supporting the DIAL-OP project, part of the Information Programme (Programme 11).
From an initiative supported by the Reshaping Care for Older People Change Fund to test the development of timebanks in Dundee, the first timebank, TimeTree, was set up in North- East Dundee with a small grant from Dundee Partnership’s Building Stronger Communities Group. Further funding has been given by NHS Cash 4 Communities to roll out another five timebanks across Dundee. Time 2 Give was launched in February 2014 in the West End and FerryTime in Broughty Ferry in July 2014.
Kathryn Mackenzie was instrumental in setting up the Volunteer Information Point in 1997 and growing and developing Volunteer Centre Dundee with the support of successive Boards of Directors and a loyal team of staff. Following Kathryn’s decision to move on to pastures new in July 2014, Volunteer Centre Dundee enters a new era under the leadership of Kirsty Keay.
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