Category Archives: Third Sector First

Minister sets out his support for the third sector

Speaking at Connect2013 in Dumfries recently, John Swinney MSP set out the Scottish Government’s support for the third sector.

John Swinney MSP

‘Support’ for Scotland’s third sector

Over 200 people came along to the conference – probably the largest gathering of the third sector that there has been in Dumfries and Galloway – which was organised to promote and develop the third sector in the area.

John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth in the Scottish Government, gave the keynote speech at the first annual Connect2013 conference and explained that he wanted to see a broader range of social enterprises in the Scottish economy.

Organised by Third Sector First in partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Council and NHS Dumfries and Galloway, Connect2013 brought third sector organisations together with the public sector and provided a forum for voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises to influence public policy.

David Coulter, Chief Executive of Third Sector First, said: “We were delighted that so many people from third sector organisations across Dumfries and Galloway took the time to come along to the Connect2013 conference. The event was all about giving these organisations a stronger voice, particularly with the public sector, and we believe that Connect2013 successfully achieved this.

“Third Sector First looks forward to working with all those who came along to further develop and support the third sector in Dumfries and Galloway in the coming months and years.”

Subjects covered in a series of workshops at the conference included welfare reform, community shares, care for older people and the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill. Details of the presentations given will be available on the Connect2013 website www.connect2013.org.uk.

Stranraer young volunteers recognised

Four young people from the Stranraer area have gained recognition for their volunteering work through The Saltire Awards.

Saltire Awards logoAimee McCracken, Jack McQueen and brothers David and Alistair Stuart have all been presented with certificates in recognition of their efforts volunteering for local organisations.

The Saltire Awards recognise the commitment and contribution of young people volunteering in Scotland and are endorsed by the Scottish Government and by First Minister Alex Salmond.

The awards enable volunteers between the ages of 12 and 25 to gain new skills and practical experience through volunteering placements provided by local and national voluntary organisations. They  are designed to encourage more young people to volunteer within their local community, benefitting both the community and the young person.

Jack McQueen received an award certificate for 200 hours’ volunteer work, which is a tremendous achievement.

Jack volunteers as an administrative assistant at Stranraer Skills Station, a social business that offers support services to people with a variety of needs, and since September has attended the John Niven Centre, studying business admin. Jack attends college three days a week and volunteers on the two days when not at college, which provides him with valuable experience to enhance his education.

Aimee McCracken received award certificates for achieving 10 hours and 25 hours of volunteer work. Aimee is supported by Stranraer Skills Station to complete voluntary placements in the local community. One of her placements is within a childcare establishment and another in a local school. In both placements Aimee helps the young people with their activities, demonstrating how to play games, assisting with arts and crafts and keeping the children on task.

David and Alistair Stuart from Stranraer also each received certificates for their 10 and 25 hours awards. David volunteers with Wigtownshire Animal Welfare Association and Alistair volunteers with Active Schools Wigtownshire. Positive feedback was received from Wigtownshire Animal Welfare Association about David’s dedication and enthusiasm to help the animals in their care and from Active Schools about Alistair’s commitment and determination to support other young people taking part in sporting activities. David and Alistair both thoroughly enjoy volunteering and would recommend it to other young people.

Speaking about The Saltire Awards, David Coulter, Chief Executive at Third Sector First, the organisation which co-ordinates the awards in Dumfries and Galloway, said: “It is always a pleasure to see the positive contribution made by young people to our communities and I am really pleased to see their efforts recognised by these Saltire Awards. Well done to them all.”

More details about The Saltire Awards can be found at www.saltireawards.org.uk.

Survey shows surge in demand for third sector services in Dumfries and Galloway

Organisations in Dumfries and Galloway Third Sector First logothat provide advice and support to the most vulnerable people in our communities have reported a significant increase in demand for their services as a result of the UK Government’s welfare reforms.

A survey of third sector organisations in Dumfries and Galloway, carried out by Third Sector First, showed that, over the last twelve months, almost 94% of organisations that responded said they had seen an increase in demand for their services. All those organisations that responded said they expected demand for their services to increase in the coming year.

The results suggest that that more people are living in fear of change and people are increasingly worried about their employment prospects, whether they can afford to meet housing costs or simply make ends meet.

David Coulter, Chief Executive of Third Sector First, said: “Many of our members are the organisations that people turn to when they are in difficulties. Not only have many of these organisations experienced an increase in demand for their services over the past year, but they predict a further increase in demand in the next twelve months.

“Inevitably what this means is that some of the most vulnerable people in our communities are experiencing increased levels of stress and mental health problems.”

The results of Third Sector First’s survey will be revealed in full at Connect 2013 – a conference being held in Dumfries on Friday 8 November that will bring the third and public sectors together to explore issues that affect the people and communities of Dumfries and Galloway.

Visit www.connect2013.org.uk for more information and to book a place.

Third sector conference comes to Dumfries

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Communities, John Swinney MSP, is to be the keynote speaker at Connect2013, the third sector conference. Taking place on Friday 8 November, the conference aims to promote and develop the third sector in Dumfries and Galloway.

Photo of john Swinney MSP

Connect2013 to welcome John Swinney MSP

Connect2013 is organised by Third Sector First in partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Council and NHS Dumfries and Galloway, and will bring third sector organisations together with the public sector. The event is also providing a forum for voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises to influence public policy.

David Coulter, Chief Executive of Third Sector First, said: “Across Dumfries and Galloway there are literally thousands of community organisations. Until now these organisations haven’t had as strong a voice as they should have and Connect2013 is all about changing that.

“Connect2013 will provide the community sector in Dumfries and Galloway with a valuable opportunity to meet with and influence decision makers from across the public sector.”

Connect2013 is aimed at all third sector organisations in Dumfries and Galloway, their employees and volunteers, as well as members and employees of public sector bodies.

Subjects to be covered in a series of workshops include: welfare reform, community shares, care for older people and the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill.

Connect2013 takes place on Friday 8 November at the Cairndale Hotel in Dumfries. Visit www.connect2013.org.uk for more information and to book your place.

Calling all voluntary organisations in Dumfries and Galloway

Third Sector First, Third Sector First logothe Dumfries and Galloway wide organisation set up to promote charities, voluntary organisations and community-led groups, is holding two training sessions in Castle Douglas.

Volunteers play an important role in many organisations and these workshops will give local organisations help in developing programmes and policies for the involvement of volunteers in their organisation.

Speaking about the courses, David Coulter, Chief Executive at Third Sector First, said: “There are hundreds of voluntary organisations locally which are doing some fantastic work with local volunteers. Many organisations that help to make Dumfries and Galloway the place it is rely on volunteers and it is only right that they receive the best support possible.”

These two workshops are designed to help those organisations consider the important role volunteers play. Topics to be covered include: who volunteers and why; what motivates volunteers; recruiting & selecting volunteers; supporting volunteers and equal opportunities & diversity.

Added David: “Without volunteers our communities would be so much poorer in terms of charity and social cohesion. That’s why we are helping to give local organisations the skills and practical support to help them work with their volunteers.”

The courses run at Castle Douglas Fire Station on Thursday 31 October 2013 and Thursday 5 December 2013, from 9.30am to 4pm.

To find out more or to book contact Third Sector First on 0300 303 8558. Alternatively the workshops can be booked online at http://thirdsectorfirst.eventbrite.co.uk.

Official opening of new Third Sector First centre in Dumfries

Third Sector First is officially openingThird Sector First logo its brand new centre in Dumfries on Friday 27 September, providing a unique space for charities, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and individual volunteers to work and meet.

The centre at 16 Queensberry Street will give voluntary and community organisations across Dumfries and Galloway a modern office location in which they can meet and network with other similar organisations. Within ground floor premises, the new centre has a high profile shop front and excellent provision for disabled access.

Third Sector First is funded by the Scottish Government and Dumfries and Galloway Council to support and develop a strong third sector. The third sector is made up of organisations that have a social purpose and exist to improve the lives of people and communities. This includes community groups, charities, social enterprises and cooperatives and everyone who works or volunteers for them.

Across Dumfries and Galloway there are literally thousands of people working or volunteering for third sector organisations. Until now these organisations haven’t had as strong a voice as they should and Third Sector First is all about changing that.

Third Sector First is holding an Open Day at its brand new centre and all are welcome to come along.

When: Friday 27 September, 10am – 3pm
Where: Third Sector First, 16 Queensberry Street, Dumfries DG1 1EX