Stirling’s third annual Festival of Volunteering will draw to a close this Friday after a month packed with events to inspire citizens to volunteer.

During the festival nearly 30 local organisations, from Plus Forth Valley to Strathcarron Hospice, were given the chance to promote their volunteering opportunities in the Thistles Shopping Centre.

The annual festival, organised by Volunteer Scotland in partnership with Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise and Stirling Council, also saw an awards ceremony to recognise Stirling’s thriving volunteering community and several opportunities to take part in the UK’s largest participatory art project The Cube at venues across the city.

Families living in urban areas were also given the chance to visit Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park to take part in a volunteering day where they learnt bush craft, surveyed plants and took part in an archaeological investigation.

Natalie Masterson, Chief Executive of SVE said: “As this year’s Festival draws to a close its been fantastic to see how many local organisations have come together and engaged in promoting, supporting and celebrating all things volunteering for another year. We hope this theme will continue, not just throughout September, but the whole year round, keeping the motivation and enthusiasm we have seen for volunteering these past few weeks at the forefront of our City and local communities.”

This Friday (27 September) will see the final local event in the festival calendar, Stirling Soup, which will take place in Made in Stirling, 44 King Street, 7-9pm.

The concept of Soup is simple. Diners donate £5 (or more if they can) for a lively evening of food and live music, listen to pitches from small community projects and vote for their favourite. At the end, the winner takes away all the donations to make their idea a reality.

To date the successful crowdfunding event has raised over £3000 for local causes.

Soup7 will see 4 local community projects compete for funding:

  • Katie’s Cradle – a horse rehabilitation project involving veterans and young people.
  • Invest in plants – a project looking to teach people how to recognise plants.
  • Action in Mind – for a Young Person’s Befriending Service.
  • The Kitchen at 44 King Street – a project to create a new community kitchen and cook school.

Liam Miller from Team Soup said: “We’re excited to launch our seventh event at our new home smack bang in the middle of the city. We’re down to our last few tickets and would encourage anyone wishing to attend to secure their seat at www.stirlingsoup.com. We’re also keen to hear from anyone interested in volunteering with Soup.”

A festival of volunteering will also take place in South Ayrshire on Friday, following Stirling’s lead.

Margaret Starkie, Strategic Engagement Manager for Volunteer Scotland, said:

“It’s been great to see festival fever spread, with growing interest from across Scotland. We’re delighted to have South Ayrshire joining Stirling this year in celebrating the local people, groups and organisations that make a difference in their communities through volunteering. Anyone can get involved and festivals can be any size, from a single community event to a month-long celebration!”

To find out how to get involved visit: www.festivalofvolunteering.org