Stirling bids to be European Volunteering Capital

Stirling 2020

Stirling is aiming to be the first Scottish city to be named European Volunteering Capital, and plans to get half its citizens volunteering

2nd July 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A Scottish city is in the running to be named European Volunteering Capital 2020.

Stirling’s bid to be named the centre of volunteering was announced at the European Volunteer Centre on Monday 2 July.

The competition recognises regions which offer outstanding support for volunteers. Previous winners include Barcelona, Lisbon and London.

Aarhus in Denmark currently holds the title and will be succeeded by Kosice, Slovakia, in 2019. If Stirling is successful, Scotland will be home to a European Volunteering Capital for the first time.

The city’s bid is led by Stirling Council, Volunteer Scotland and Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise.

George Thomson, chief executive of Volunteer Scotland said: “We want to make Stirling alive with volunteering. We’ll achieve this with a vibrant year-long Festival of Volunteering in 2020 that involves all our communities.

“We want to capture Stirling’s strong community spirit and the feel-good factor that volunteering brings.”

The three bid partners want Stirling to be the first area in Scotland where it’s the norm to volunteer and have set an ambitious target of increasing volunteering participation rates to 50%. Currently over a third of local people in Stirlingshire volunteer.

Natalie Masterson, chief executive of Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise said she had been taken aback by the amount of support shown in the local area.

She said: “We want people to get behind the bid for the real benefits it will bring to Stirling. The competition is more than about winning a prestigious title. As well as seeing a growth in volunteering, previous winners have attracted increased funding and resources for the training and development of volunteers, have built international partnerships for the sharing of best practice and have seen improvements to the health and well-being of their citizens.”

Councillor Chris Kane, convenor of Stirling Council’s Community Planning and Regeneration Committee, said: “To be declared a candidate city is a wonderful recognition of the sports coaches, the PTA home bakers, the walk leaders, the chairs, the treasurers, and the countless other volunteers that enrich the lives of our communities by giving their time to causes close to their heart. 

“Now we must show the judges that Stirling has the potential to do so much more. To be a beacon that inspires volunteers around the continent, to encourage even more people to get involved and deliver a celebration of volunteering worthy of the title European Volunteering Capital 2020.”

More than 100 local and national organisations have already backed Stirling’s bid, including the Scottish Government.

The winner of the 2020 title will be announced in December.