Scotland’s first ever festival of volunteering has been hailed a huge success by organisers Volunteer Scotland. The festival, held in Stirling from 21-26 September, attracted more than 1400 people, including over 70 organisations and charities, to a series of events throughout the city.
Over 550 people came along to the festival’s fun day on Saturday, which kicked off with a cycle treasure hunt. A host of activities for all the family were also laid on in King’s Park, with everything from water walkers and a giant inflatable slide to a feature bike track and a storytelling tent. Nearly 30 local organisations and charities also took part in the day, showcasing local volunteering opportunities in and around Stirling.
The festival saw ten events take place across the city in just six days, with a number of events for volunteers from an awards ceremony and networking event to a conference for volunteer managers and a volunteer story exhibition at Historic Environment Scotland’s Engine Shed.
The line-up also included the return of the city’s popular crowd funding event, Stirling Soup which was won by Indie Flynn of Square Peg, a small charity which works with vulnerable children to produce cartoons. The money raised at the event, £510, will be used by Indie to host an ‘Oscars’ style ceremony for the young animators.
The Festival was piloted in Stirling, with the intention of rolling it out across the country. Festival Director, Rob Rae said: “Our ambition is to see Festivals of Volunteering taking place all over Scotland from 2018. We’re busy drawing up plans to support that aspiration. We’re kicking off with Stirling as it’s a city where people already do a massive amount of voluntary work; over a third of local people currently volunteer. We’ve set ourselves a goal of increasing that figure to 50% within three years and for Stirling to become Scotland’s first volunteering city.”
The festival was organised by Volunteer Scotland in conjunction with eight local partners.
George Thomson, Chief Executive of Volunteer Scotland said: “I’m so delighted to have seen so many people come together with a common goal, to help each other and the wider community. Together we have highlighted and celebrated the many ways volunteering enhances the lives of individuals and communities. A big thank you to everyone who joined in; we’ll be bottling that feel good factor and enthusiasm as we press forward with our plans for a series of volunteering festivals in 2018.”