Voluntering is an integral part of the social fabric of Orkney and VAO are passionate about making sure volunteering gets the recognition it deserves. To help us do this VAO would like to get a clearer picture of the numbers of volunteers in Orkney.

We are asking all the organisations who rely on the hard work and enthusiasm of volunteers to take part in a very short survey so we can get a  more accurate picture of the amount of volunteering input into Orkney’s social and economic community.

There is a link to the survey below and if you have any questions at all about the survey please contact Rob McGregor or gary Amos at VAO on 872 897.

 Take the Survey here. 



Today (13/03/2019) the NCA ( National Crime Agency) launch Jessie & Friends, a new Thinkuknow education resource which will help keep 4-7 year olds safe from online sexual abuse.

At a time when younger children are ever more active online, the NCA is reporting an increase in the scale and complexity of online offending against children. In response, NCA-CEOP is engaging directly with children as young as four for the first time through Jessie & Friends.

Jessie & Friends is based on a series of three fun, age-appropriate animations which follow Jessie, Mo and Tia as they view, share and game their way towards a safer future online. The animations are accompanied by:

- a catchy song, storybooks and posters

- a detailed Guidance Pack with engaging learning activities on key topics including trust, consent, and healthy and unhealthy online behaviours, plus expert advice on safe and effective delivery of Jessie & Friends

- advice for parents and carers on using Jessie & Friends to start a positive, age-appropriate online safety conversation with their child

Children across the UK will enjoy learning with Jessie, Mo and Tia through age-appropriate lessons and activities in the school curriculum, or delivered within community-based clubs and other services for children. The NCA are delighted that Jessie & Friends has been awarded the PSHE Association Quality Mark in recognition of the high-quality, safe learning opportunities it provides.

The resources highlight links to the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence, including Relationships and Sex Education, Health Education and the Computing Curriculum.

All Jessie & Friends education resources will be available to download free from today (13/03/2019) at www.thinkuknow.co.uk/professionals/resources/jessie-and-friends.

You’ll find content for parents and carers www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/jessie-and-friends.

Download films, songs, storybooks and guidance at www.thinkuknow.co.uk/professionals/resources/jessie-and-friends


“If it makes you feel worried, scared or sad, tell a grown up you trust”: new online safety advice and education for 4 year olds from #JessieAndFriends, heroes of the new animations from [Twitter: @CEOPUK] [FB: Click CEOP]. Download films, songs, storybooks and lesson plans to keep #KidsSaferOnline at  www.thinkuknow.co.uk/professionals/resources/jessie-and-friends


Does your child enjoy being online? Then they’ll love meeting #JessieAndFriends, heroes of these fun, age-appopriate new online safety animations from [Twitter: @CEOPUK] [FB: Click CEOP]. Watch the films, read the storybooks and find advice for parents to keep #KidsSaferOnline at www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/jessie-and-friends

SCVO reports that over the past five years, the Digital Participation Charter Fund has provided funding to over 160 projects across Scotland, with over 16,000 people being supported to increase their essential digital skills. Find out more and learn how to apply here.
You can also read a first-hand account of how the Fund has benefited Camphill Blair Drummond in Angela Flaws' guest blog.


Awards of up to £100,000 are available to support capital projects that create or improve places where people take part in sport and physical activity. The funding is intended for sports facility projects within club and communities, school and education or performance sport environments.

Activities should clearly demonstrate an impact on one or both of the following outcomes:

  • Participation - provide opportunities for people to get involved and participate in sport and stay involved throughout their life.
  • Progression - provide opportunities for people to develop, progress and achieve success at their chosen level of sport.

Priority will be given to projects where there is a commitment to the following:

  • Equalities and inclusion.
  • People development.
  • Collaboration and impact (applications must show that the community has been involved in the decision-making stages of the proposals).

Grants of up to £100,000 are available to support the following:

  • Small Projects with a total project value between £20,000 and £250,000 (including VAT).
  • Larger Projects with a total project value over £250,000 (including VAT).

Only capital expenditure costs will be considered, defined as the purchase, upgrade or construction of an asset; costs directly incurred in the process such as related Architect, Quantity Surveyor, Engineer’s and Solicitor’s fees, as well as planning, building warrant asset purchases or leases fees are included.

Applications will be considered from any non-profit distributing, constituted organisations whose membership is open to all sections of society.

There are normally two application rounds per year.

Next Submission date is April 1st 2019

Further information here.

On Thursday 28th February 2019, the Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population published their debut report: UK Immigration Policy After Leaving The EU: Impacts on Scotland’s economy, population and society.

Below is a link to both (i) the report in full and (ii) an executive summary:

(i) here

(ii) here

The key findings of the report are as follows:


  • The changes set out in the UK Government’s Immigration White Paper are projected to reduce net migration to Scotland by between 30-50% over the coming two decades.


  • Scotland is projected to experience more pronounced population ageing than other parts of the UK, whilst reduced migration from the EU will lead to a gradually declining working age population.  Together these will only exacerbate the challenge of managing an ageing society in Scotland   


  • 63% of workers in Scotland earn less than the proposed £30,000 salary threshold for Tier 2 entrants.  This would dramatically constrain Scottish employers’ labour market access, with a pronounced negative effect through gendered and regional disparities.


  • Restricted routes for EU migrants would also be particularly disruptive for Scotland’s remote rural and island areas.  The relatively older age structure of these areas means that in-migration (including EU migration) is the only practical method of countering depopulation.


  • The seasonal and temporary programmes proposed by the UK Government would prohibit the longer-term settlement of immigrants working in key sectors such as health and social care, education, construction and tourism.

The report has produced a useful evidence base around which discussions on Scotland’s future needs and migration policy can be built.  

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