For several years Volunteering Matters and ProjectScotland have enjoyed collaborating on a variety of projects due to their shared approach to supporting and enabling people and communities through volunteering and social action.
By merging and by taking a place-based approach – shaped by local knowledge, energy and understanding – more people in local communities will be supported to overcome the challenges they may face. And more young people in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK will be supported by volunteers to overcome any barriers in their way, developing their confidence and skills to unlock their potential.
ProjectScotland and Volunteering Matters’ combined approach will provide a platform for volunteers, young people and communities to challenge existing structures and work with decision makers to overcome barriers and inequalities.
As an example, one of Volunteering Matters’ volunteer-led projects, WASSUP (Women Against Sexual Violence and Exploitation Speak Up) in Ipswich, enables young women from the local area to create a range of ways to raise awareness of the issues that matter to them and advocate for change. The volunteers have won recognition and awards for their work which includes delivering awareness-raising sessions in schools across Suffolk, and working closely with the local council and other local partners to create change in the community.
Similarly, as part of the development of a new National Volunteering Framework, ProjectScotland enabled a group of young volunteers from across Scotland to lead on changes to shape the future of volunteering. This working group, YouthVIP (Youth Volunteering Innovation Project), in partnership with Young Scot, created space for the young people involved to debate key issues and present an insightful list of recommendations to the Scottish Government. All of the recommendations presented in the YouthVIP report were accepted by Government and a legacy group of young people will now oversee the next steps in making the recommendations real at a local level with the aim of increasing access to and participation through volunteering in Scotland.
By building on this model, there is a shared ambition to enable volunteers of all ages to lead change, creating opportunity and stronger communities through volunteering and social action in Scotland and across the UK.
In addition, the merger will create more opportunities to bring together organisations, businesses and stakeholders from a wide range of backgrounds who are interested in enabling people to make change, connect communities and address social inequalities.
The two brands will continue to operate under one charitable organisation. Both brands will continue their existing programmes and current volunteers and the people they support will not be directly affected by the proposed merger.
More details will be announced following final approval from OSCR, which should take no longer than 40 days.