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CalAid collection point

VAO are acting as a collection point for anyone wanting to donate items to Calaid. Our offices at 6 Bridge Street are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Visit 'Orkney Sees Syria' facebook page for more info on what to donate, and other ways you can get involved.

Information Commissioners Office visit to Orkney

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is coming to Orkney on September 15th and wants to meet you and answer your questions. As the Regulator for the Data Protection Act 1998, the ICO has a Scotland-wide remit to promote good practice and endeavors to travel outside the central belt as much as possible. The ICO is pleased to be able to travel this year to Orkney and Shetland as part of this promotional work and is keen to engage with organisations large and small to provide updates and awareness raising sessions on any and all aspects of data protection.

Data sharing is a constant hot topic as often organisations are reluctant to share information because they are afraid they will breach the Data Protection Act 1998 and this can mean offering a poorer service to those who need it most.

Have you ever encountered the: “oh no, I can’t do that because of data protection”? Then these sessions may be for you!

Seminar on Data Protection for Practitioners

Data Protection: What’s it all about and how does it affect you?


Share your views on working together in Orkney

A consultation is underway which will help shape the future of partnership working in Orkney.

Orkney Community Planning Partnership is seeking views on its draft Community Plan for 2015 -18, which incorporates a Local Outcomes Improvement Plan (LOIP) for Orkney.

This describes what the Community Planning Partnership aims to achieve by working together, over and above what could be achieved by organisations working individually.

It also outlines the Community Planning Partnership’s priorities for action and how these have been selected. The three main outcomes the Partnership aims to achieve are:

  • Positive ageing: that people in Orkney enjoy long and active lives.
  • That Orkney has a vibrant economic environment.
  • That Orkney’s communities are healthy and sustainable.

Community Planning Partnership Chair, Councillor Steven Heddle, said: “These plans have been produced following months of intense development work by the Partnership to improve our approach to Community Planning in Orkney and to adapt to changing expectations.

“The structure of the Partnership has been simplified to enable it to focus more effectively on its priorities for action. These priorities address challenges which no single agency can solve on its own – tackling them will require a concerted effort by us all.

“Everyone in Orkney will be familiar with the big issues faced by our community. These include transport, housing, connectivity and fuel poverty and these are reflected in our priorities.

“We are keen to hear your views on the Community Plan and questions are posed throughout to encourage feedback. Feel free to answer as few or as many questions as you like.”

The draft plan and questionnaire are available here ( and can be completed online.

Paper copies are available at OIC customer services in Kirkwall, the Warehouse Buildings in Stromness, the Orkney Library and the mobile library.

If you would like this plan in a different language or format, please contact Andrea Massey or Anna Whelan at Orkney Islands Council. Phone: 01856 873535 ext 2153 or 2160. Email: or write to Council Offices,

School Place, Kirkwall, KW15 1NY.

Young People's Befriending Update

Image of young person alone on beach

Young people in Orkney may struggle, but they don't have to struggle alone.

Young People’s Befriending Project Update

It is always exciting to see new enthusiastic volunteer befrienders meeting a young person and then going out and enjoying themselves doing anything from crafts to rock climbing. The most recent batch of three volunteers who have completed their training has been no exception. They each brought their own unique skill sets, interests and hobbies which they are passionate about. Now, as they have begun to share their interests with the young people, we get the fun of seeing these young people come out of ‘their shells’ and grow in their communication and confidence while having fun at the same time.

With 15 other young people on the waiting list, we are still recruiting though. In fact we already have a fair bit of interest for the September 2015 training coming up next month. There’s still room though, so we have been reaching out to specific interest groups in an appeal for volunteers. We are excited about this approach because it encourages people who love something to share that very thing with a young person.

So, with new matches being made all the time, we are definitely open for new referrals as well. Choosing the right young person for the volunteer is one of the main keys to seeing a match get on well so having a variety of young people (age 8-18) assessed is actually very important. So, if you know a young person who may benefit from having a befriender, please don’t hesitate to fill out a referral form, or call us to discuss, and we’d be happy to do an assessment, answer any questions, or give a more complete picture of how the process works.

Coordinators: John or Hannah 01856 872897

The referral form can be found at:

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