Easter Holiday Office Closed

EVOCs offices are closed for the Easter weekend. We will be closed Friday 18th and Monday 21st, reopening 9am Tuesday 22nd.

You can call and leave a message on our answering machine (0131 55 9100), or you can submit a message through our online contact form if you require assistance and someone will get back to you when we re-open.

EVOC Office Closed

EVOC’s office will be closed Monday 14th April for the Edinburgh Spring holiday. It will re-open Tuesday 15th at 9am.

Edinburgh Mental Health Forum

Response to CEC Mental Health Commissioning Strategy Consultation

This response comes from discussions held at Edinburgh Mental Health Forum (EMHF), a representative body for Voluntary Sector providers of mental health services in the city. EMHF welcomes the opportunity to comment on the commissioning strategy and would be happy to discuss any matters in more detail as the process continues.

Download the document for the full response

Last chance to nominate your Inspiring Volunteers!

Don’t delay – nominate today!

Nominations close on Monday 7th April 2014 so get nominating and recognise some of your most outstanding volunteers who deserve recognition.

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost and the city’s Volunteering Ambassador, Donald Wilson, will honour the city’s most ‘inspiring volunteers’ at a special awards ceremony to take place on Wednesday 4th June 2014, during ‘Volunteers’ Week’ at the City Chambers.

Edinburgh’s ‘Inspiring Volunteering’ Awards’ are in their eighth year. Last year’s award winners included sports coaches, carers, fundraisers, campaigners, befrienders and tutors. They were representative of all backgrounds, ages and the many different cultures that make up Edinburgh’s population. Their volunteering activity took place in arts organisations, museums, church and sports groups, community campaigns, youth centres, children’s projects and elderly care.

Kris Von Wald, Convenor of Volunteer Centre Edinburgh said: “Each year we receive a wide selection of organisations nominating volunteers, but we know we only scratch the surface of what’s going on out there. So if anyone knows an organisation that might be interested in nominating its volunteers, or who perhaps works for an organisation and has someone in mind who deserves the spotlight, then we’re asking them to please let us know.”

Lord Provost, Donald Wilson, said: “There are thousands of dedicated and inspiring volunteers in Edinburgh selflessly giving up their own time to help and support others. These awards are simply one way of recognising some of the tremendous work of these individuals. Their contribution to the wellbeing of our city’s residents cannot be overstated”.

Find more information and how to nominate on the Volunteer Centre Edinburgh website.

EVOC Website Downtime

EVOC’s website will be offline from 6pm Thursday 27th March for essential maintenance. It will be back online Monday 31st March at 9am

You can find us on our Facebook page, on Google + or on Twitter whilst our website is down.

Referendum thinkSpace events

It’s hard to believe but we are only six months away from the Referendum on Scottish Independence (18th September this year.)

EVOC is strictly non-partisan on this issue, we are promoting neither a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote. We would encourage the Third Sector to  carefully consider the guidance from OSCR (The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator).

We aim to encourage Voluntary Organisations in Edinburgh to participate in the process. In our role of supporting these organisations, we hope to enable them to encourage their communities to participate.

In May we will deliver three thinkSpace events:

  • Thursday 01 May from 0900 to 1330 – On this day we will share tools, techniques and tips on how you might engage your communities in the debate
  • Thursday 22 May from 1730 to 1830 – During this Twilight Talk we intend to hear from the ‘Yes Scotland’ camp
  • Thursday 29 May from 1730 to 1830 – During this Twilight Talk we intend to hear from the ‘Better Together’ camp.

Full details will be released soon soon but mark those dates in your diary!

If you’d like to book a place(s), please email Dianne Morrison, confirming which dates you’d like to attend.

We expect the events to be very popular so reserve your spot before they fill up.

April thinkSpace breakfast sessions on Welfare Reform

The UK Government’s Welfare Reform programme continues to impact on people, on families and on our communities. Two years into the programme, the ripples from these changes are reaching out beyond those most immediately affected.

Doctors report that worry about benefits is making their patients ill. Teachers tell us that more children are coming to school hungry and unable to learn. The Third Sector, also, is being put under pressure by these changes. Front-line staff increasingly find that they are expected to know details about benefits – even when they are not trained and equipped to know the ins and outs of a complex and changing system.

The Scottish Government continues to do what it can to mitigate against the worst impacts of welfare reform. The City of Edinburgh Council, locally, remains alive to the needs of people affected by welfare reform, with senior officers and elected members meeting regularly with partners to help support our most vulnerable communities.

One of the things that EVOC is doing to help Edinburgh’s Third Sector is bringing people together to consider the issues, to get informed, and to talk through possible joint actions at a series of thinkSpace events.

Do join us at the next breakfast series (on the topic of Welfare Reform) – during April. Please download the programme for details (pdf).

On the following four mornings (0815 for 0830 – 0930) we will host breakfast sessions where you can come together, hear from our speakers, and – most important – share your own thoughts and experiences.

We asked you what topics you’d like us to cover, and you said:

  • What is EVOC doing on Welfare Reform?
    Share with EVOC Director Ella Simpson on Friday 04 April
  • What is the City of Edinburgh Council doing on Welfare Reform?
    Hear from the Council’s Welfare Reform leads Alan Sinclair and Eileen McHale on Wednesday 09 April
  • What are the biggest impacts of Welfare Reform on families with children?
    Child Poverty Action Group Scotland colleagues share their insights on Friday 11 April
  • What are the biggest impacts of Welfare Reform on poverty and inequality?
    Edinburgh Partnership Poverty & Inequality Theme Group co-chair Harriet Eadie will present a considered view on how Welfare Reform impacts on the broader anti-poverty agenda on Wednesday 16 April

All four events run from 0830 – 0930 with registration, coffee and networking from 0815. Details are available on our thinkSpace events page: http://www.evoc.org.uk/thinkspace/events-programme/

Spaces are limited so book your place NOW by emailing Dianne.Morrison@evoc.org.uk telling us the name of those who’d like to attend, and for what dates

Two Years On – Perpetual (Welfare) Reform?

THIS month sees the second anniversary of the Welfare Reform changes currently underway.

To mark this ‘anniversary’ we are running another set of four ThinkSpace breakfast discussion sessions on different aspects of Welfare Reform.

Take a moment to read our blog.


This time around, we asked you what topics you’d like to see discussed, and then picked the four most popular:

What is EVOC doing about Welfare Reform? on 4th April

What is the City of Edinburgh Council doing about Welfare Reform? on 9th April

What are the biggest impacts of Welfare Reform on families with children? on 11th April


What are the biggest impacts of Welfare Reform on Poverty & Inequality? on 16th April

Please do Join Us between 0815 and 0930am.

You Must Book your spaces, though: please email Dianne Morrison with details of who would like to attend which sessions.


Council Grants report goes to Committee on Tuesday 25th

ON TUESDAY 25th February the City of Edinburgh Council’s Corporate Policy & Strategy Committee will consider its annual report on Grants to Third Parties. Third Sector organisations funded by the City Council will be keen to know what the recommendations are. We are led to believe that the recommendations are not contentious, and that they will be agreed by the Committee on Tuesday.


The Committee report includes appendices which detail all proposed expenditure under this programme. The anticipated measures of success include: that funding agreements will be concluded swiftly; that funded oganisations will be satisfied with the support they get; as well as ‘attainment’ on ‘user satisfaction, financial leverage, volunteer activity and levels target achievement.’


The Council’s Review of Grants to Third Parties continues, and – in our opinion – needs the space to continue. As a result EVOC and our Third Sector Interface partners lobbied hard to protect organisations from unnecessary change. We are hopeful that over this year, protected from unwanted churn, Edinburgh’s Third Sector will engage meaningfully in the process to develop more effective relationships within the sector, with Edinburgh’s Third Sector Interface, and with our funding partners at the City of Edinburgh Council.


The grants for this year, their monitoring and the review of grants will all be conducted under the overarching Compact principle: In Equal Respect.