Firstport is coming to Orkney!

Firstport is Scotland’s development agency for start-up social entrepreneurs and social enterprise.

Brian McMillan from Firstport shall be in Orkney to speak about the support and funding that Firstport offers, individual appointments are available on either the 29th or 30th of August to discuss your business idea and any support you might need. There are daytime and evening appointments available.

There will be a workshop session the 30th: What Is Social Enterprise & Ideas Generation workshop/ presentation
To register your interest, please R.S.V.P to Meghan at VAO.

If you would like to meet with Brian individually please email him at:

Consultation on Principles and Purposes of Sentencing

A Public consultation has been launched by Scottish Sentencing Council on “Principles and Purposes of Sentencing”
Deadline 27th October, via their website; 

Increase in numbers of charity accounts being closed by banks

Oxfam and save the Children are just two of the charities that have been hit as banks take the safe option for fear of falling foul of money laundering legislation.

Banks face potential fines of billions of pounds if they don't follow strict guidance on laws designed to weed out terrorist funding.

Charities have warned that the clamp-down is causing government-backed aid efforts to fail, humanitarian workers to be put at risk and deperate people to suffer.

The most charity accounts were closed by HSBC and Co-Operative Bank in the last two years, according to a Reuters survey of more than 30 case studies.

The UK government said it is setting up a working group comprising charity executives, bankers and officials to meet in the coming months to "drive to allow legitimate charities to operate unhindered.

Some banks are responding to the problem, but other institutions are taking the easy option and steering clear of allowing aid charities to set up new accounts or simply closing existing accounts with no warning.

Monowara Gani, a director of the Muslim Charities Forum, said: "Delayed and declined payments have become a regular recurrence in the sector with charities experiencing disruption to their objectives on a daily or weekly basis.”
Mike Parkinson, policy adviser for Oxfam UK, said he had encountered delays in opening bank accounts overseas.

"The humanitarian sector is struggling with a policy vacuum, leaving commercial organisations such as banks to set the risk rules for delivery of publicly-funded aid,” he said.
Tim Boyes-Watson, executive director of Mango which helps charities manage their finances said: "We feel like banks used to be competing for charity business, but now they are pushing us away.”

Read more here

Comic Relief Launch New Active Ageing Grants Programme (UK)

Comic Relief is providing a limited number of grants for local community based organisations to enable disadvantaged older people to design, deliver and take part in opportunities to contribute to their communities.

The new Active Ageing: Creating Change in Communities initiative is providing £1.5 million of funding in order to engage older people aged 65 and over from ‘harder to reach’ groups to get involved in opportunities which use their skills, knowledge and experience to contribute to their communities.
Registered and un-registered community based organisations and partnerships across the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man can apply for grants of between £40,000 and £80,000 to support projects, initiatives and activities which primarily focus on benefitting older people, specifically those older people who do not usually participate in volunteering or social activities because they are from a disadvantaged community, or face barriers to participation. Comic Relief is also interested in supporting activities which will have a wider benefit for the community in which they are taking place.
To be eligible for funding, projects should:
• Meet at least one of the following outcomes: 
• Older people improve their mental health and wellbeing.
• Older people increase the quality and quantity of their social connections.
• Older people develop an enhanced sense of purpose and empowerment.
• Provide creative, fresh approaches to engage beneficiaries in social action activities which bring people together and help to improve their lives and solve problems that are important to their communities. This may include activities around campaigning and fundraising as well as volunteering, all of which can create a double benefit for communities and the older person themselves. For the activities to have positive benefits for the older people involved, they should: 
• Provide meaningful roles with opportunities for social interaction and leadership.
• Ensure that older people are recognised and valued for their contribution.
• Make older people feel valued and enable them to be creative and productive. To do this, activities might focus wholly on older people, or use a broader community or intergenerational approach. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they really understand the needs of their community, the role that older people can play in catalysing social change and make the case that they can deliver.
Comic Relief expects to award grants to between 15 and 25 projects.

The deadline for applications is 29 August 2017 (midday).

Contact the Elderly wants to expand its service across Scotland to reach 1,000 older Scots at risk of loneliness

A charity wants to offer a “friendship lifeline” to 1,000 older people who live alone in Scotland within the next year.

Contact the Elderly organises free monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties in cities, towns and villages from the Borders to the Highlands.

It currently has 126 groups serving 860 older people but now wants to increase this to 890 groups serving 1,000.

For this the charity requires 250 additional volunteers.

Morna O’ May, head of service at Contact the Elderly, said: “In the past year, we have welcomed more than 20 tea parties and while we are immensely proud of what we, and our volunteers, have achieved we know there are so many more people who would benefit from an afternoon of baking and a blether once a month.

“With the goal of reaching 1,000 older guests in the coming year, we are committed to working tirelessly to reach out to those living alone in communities throughout Scotland and finding volunteers who want to make a big impact with a small time commitment.

“Our parties are beloved by volunteers and guests alike and true friendships are quickly formed. We hear each and every week how much the afternoons mean to everyone involved.”
There are currently plans to develop groups nationwide with development underway in Tealing, Hawick, Blairgowrie, Perth, Stirling, Falkirk and Alloa. It will also be launching more groups in areas which already have Contact the Elderly tea parties taking place throughout the country.

A volunteer driver collects one or two older people and accompanies them to a volunteer host’s home.

A host will welcome a group of between six and eight people once or twice a year.

Find out more about volunteering at Contact the Elderly.

 Read more HERE


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