Stirling has narrowly missed out on the chance to be the next European Volunteering Capital 2020, losing out to the Italian city of Padua.
But the city has vowed to continue with its plans for a year-long festival of volunteering in 2020 and has renewed its commitment to increasing volunteering participation to 50%.
Stirling’s bid was led by Stirling Council, Volunteer Scotland and Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise.
Chief Executive of Volunteer Scotland, George Thomson said: “We’d like to congratulate Padua on their successful bid and look forward to connecting with them in 2020.
“Whilst the award has not come to Stirling, our plans will still go ahead. We have a thriving, feelgood volunteer community here in Stirling – over 39% of people already volunteer – and we’re going to build on that to bring the benefits of volunteering to all. We have so much to look forward to over the next few years, from a year-long festival in 2020 to the world’s first volunteering expo in 2021.”
Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Scott Farmer said: ““First of all congratulations to Padua. While I am disappointed that Stirling has narrowly missed out on this honour, it certainly won’t close the book on this inspiring story about our citizens’ volunteering spirit.
“Regardless of the result, 2020 is going to be a celebration of volunteering in Stirling and our mission remains the same: to encourage even more people to get involved and act as a beacon to the continent about the joy of helping others.”
Convener of Stirling Council’s Community Planning and Regeneration Committee, Cllr Chris Kane said: “Padua made a strong bid and I would like to wish them well. The decision hasn’t gone our way but getting to this stage is recognition for our thousands of volunteers who make such a positive difference every day across our communities.
“The title would have been the icing on the cake, but our work now begins in earnest to unlock the full potential of volunteering in Stirling, Scotland and Europe, and I know we will rise to the challenge.”
Chief Executive of Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise, Natalie Masterson echoed this sentiment. She said: “Our commitment to volunteering growth and improving access still stands. We’re as determined as ever to reduce social isolation and close the equality gap between our poorest and most wealthy communities through volunteering.”
The city’s plans for 2020 include a year-long festival of volunteering, which is expected to involve over 70,000 people, and a European Engagement programme, offering learning and development opportunities as well as youth volunteer placements.
Stirling will also hold the world’s first volunteering Expo in 2021. For further details see here.
Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government Aileen Campbell said: “It is disappointing to hear that Stirling has lost out to Padua as European Volunteering Capital 2020. I know regardless of the result, the city will continue with its year-long volunteering festival and other events across the year.
“Volunteers make a vital contribution to our communities, sharing their time with people and organisations that need support. Their commitment and dedication knows no bounds. There are so many benefits of volunteering, not just to the recipients but for the volunteers themselves. Volunteering is key to our ambition of creating a fairer and more prosperous country for all and I would encourage more people to consider volunteering in their local communities.”