Third Sector groups and organisations come in all shapes and sizes, and together they make an invaluable contribution to the wellbeing of individuals and communities across the length and breadth of the Shire.
Community groups and voluntary organisations typically benefit not only the people they exist to help, and the issues and causes they consciously set out to address. When people band together to collectively tackle the needs and issues that they identify in their communities, or in the world at large, this helps to develop a wider sense of social and environmental responsibility within these communities: the process of organising together to achieve positive social and environmental change builds a wider sense of trust and solidarity between individuals, and a sense of what citizens, acting together in a common cause, are able to achieve.
AVA is here to enable such 'citizen-led' initiatives to flourish: to provide people in the early stages of identifying and addressing a need with the skills needed to organise successfully in pursuit of their goals; and to provide existing groups and organisations with the information, support and encouragement they need in order to grow and develop, and to realise their ambitions more effectively or on a wider scale.
The kinds of support provided by AVA include:
- Advising groups where to look for new sources of funding, in order to grow and take on new activities - or simply to survive!
- Helping groups put together more focused and effective funding applications to Charitable and Statutory Sector funders
- Advising groups on how to attract volunteers and volunteer committee members
- Advising groups on Charitable Status, and the process of becoming a Registered Scottish Charity through application to OSCR, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.
- Advising groups and organisations on the protection offered to trustees / committee members through the incorporation of their group or organisation as a legal entity in its own right - in particular, the advantages of incorporation of a new or existing Scottish charity as a SCIO, a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation.
- Helping and advising groups with their day to day running, meeting legal and regulatory requirements in areas such as accounting, employment law, and meeting the specific requirements of OSCR and Companies House.
- Carrying out an 'organisational health check', assessing how well a group's existing financial, constitutional and governance arrangements allow it to fulfill its goals and ambitions, and enable it to function sustainably and effectively in its current operating environment
- Publishing and circulating a monthly Newsletter and e-Bulletin to keep groups informed of new funding opportunities, current Scottish and UK Government policies and initiatives, new regulatory requirements, and examples of recent achievements and current best practice by citizen-led organisations within Aberdeenshire, across Scotland and further afield.
- Arranging and providing accessible, low-cost training to community and voluntary sector groups and organisations through Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action Training.
- Organising forums and get-togethers across the Shire, such as the regular Grow your Group event, that bring people together to learn and to ask questions of us and of one another, to build contacts and develop peer-to-peer support networks between community and voluntary sector groups and organisations, and to raise issues and concerns that people would like AVA to raise with its Statutory Sector partners around the Community Planning 'table'.