Stirling plans major volunteering events

Festival of volunteering 1

The city plans to use the momentum behind its failed European Volunteering Capital bid to host two major events in the coming years

6th December 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Stirling has narrowly missed out on the chance to be the next European Volunteering Capital 2020, losing out to the Italian city of Padua.

But the city has vowed to continue with its plans for a year-long festival of volunteering in 2020 and has renewed its commitment to increasing volunteering participation to 50%.

Stirling’s bid was led by Stirling Council, Volunteer Scotland and Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise.

Despite the result, the team are set to press ahead with exciting plans to host a Festival of Volunteering in 2020 and a conference for representatives from across the world in 2021.

Chief executive of Volunteer Scotland, George Thomson, said: “We’d like to congratulate Padua on their successful bid and look forward to connecting with them in 2020.

“Whilst the award has not come to Stirling, our plans will still go ahead. We have a thriving, feelgood volunteer community here in Stirling – over 39% of people already volunteer – and we’re going to build on that to bring the benefits of volunteering to all. We have so much to look forward to over the next few years, from a year-long festival in 2020 to the world’s first volunteering expo in 2021."

The city’s plans for 2020 include a year-long festival of volunteering, which is expected to involve over 70,000 people, and a European engagement programme, offering learning and development opportunities as well as youth volunteer placements.

Stirling will also hold the world’s first volunteering Expo in 2021, with plans already underway for the event.

Cabinet secretary for communities and local government, Aileen Campbell, said: “It is disappointing to hear that Stirling has lost out to Padua as European Volunteering Capital 2020. I know regardless of the result, the city will continue with its year-long volunteering festival and other events across the year.

“Volunteers make a vital contribution to our communities, sharing their time with people and organisations that need support. Their commitment and dedication knows no bounds. There are so many benefits of volunteering, not just to the recipients but for the volunteers themselves. Volunteering is key to our ambition of creating a fairer and more prosperous country for all and I would encourage more people to consider volunteering in their local communities.”

Chief executive of Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise, Natalie Masterson, said the bid had brought organisations together to secure Stirling’s place as a centre for volunteers.

“It has been a great partnership opportunity for us all,” she said. “This has been a great example of local and national organisations working together.

“One of the things we are excited about is working with Volunteer Scotland to see what we can progress and learn from our bid.

“We are confident that we can reach our target of getting 50% of the population volunteering. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and determination, but we are focused on removing the barriers to volunteering.”

Stirling Council leader, Councillor Scott Farmer, said: ““First of all congratulations to Padua. While I am disappointed that Stirling has narrowly missed out on this honour, it certainly won’t close the book on this inspiring story about our citizens’ volunteering spirit.

“Regardless of the result, 2020 is going to be a celebration of volunteering in Stirling and our mission remains the same: to encourage even more people to get involved and act as a beacon to the continent about the joy of helping others.”

For more information on Stirling’s plans, visit the Festival of Volunteering website.