VAA is both a Charity and a Company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland and governed by a Board of Directors who are volunteers possessing significant background experience in working with local communities. The organisation currently has 20 paid employees and our work is complimented further by the efforts of volunteers.
Our work includes providing a Third Sector interface role (TSI), a community development function and, as a key organisation, in empowering communities and combatting poverty.
Our work in supporting third sector and volunteering initiatives is crucial to securing new resources for the sector to become more sustainable and proactive in reshaping services to individuals, families and communities. Whilst VAA has a core element to its work, there are many other projects and activities we manage or support in partnership with other agencies and partners.
VAA is a community development agency committed to positive social change and also a delivery agency of the Third Sector Interface (TSI) service as within our funding from Scottish Government. VAA activities are described as follows:
- Building inclusive and buoyant volunteering cultures where all people enjoy the right to volunteer
- Creating a sustainable dynamic and innovative social enterprise movement democratically led by local people delivering local services
- Developing the capacity of the third sector and community organisations
- Facilitating change within partnership settings where the third sector has a central role in decision making and culture change
- Empowering communities to care
- Combating poverty
- Providing learning and facilitation of better approaches towards working with communities and civic health
VAA currently have 1,500 volunteers registered and active within the organisation. The volunteer numbers have significantly increased this year due to the pandemic which has created a number of different volunteer opportunities and roles.
VAA also continue to support the wider third sector in volunteer recruitment.
The last year has seen a vast amount of realignment and change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of third sector organisations including VAA had to look at radical redesign of services within a very short time scale to ensure communities received the support they required. VAA had a pivotal role in the emergency response to COVID-19. Frontline emergency support mechanisms were developed and implemented through real partnership work between Angus Council Communities Team and Voluntary Action Angus (VAA) which all stemmed from an initiative that was agreed by VAA and Angus Health and Social Care Partnership. The ability for all partners to embrace and understand the situation, trust and use each other’s strengths to the benefit of delivering a service for vulnerable members of our community, has been key for this successful initiative and continuous partnership. Systems were quickly identified and developed which enabled area coordinators (from both VAA and Angus Council’s communities team working as one identity / team) to access and support the many volunteers to deliver prescriptions, provide shopping and / or emergency food parcels and befriending to those most in need. Within 3 weeks, staff (both VAA and communities’ team) were responding to 140 requests per day at the height of the pandemic.
This immediate flexibility to respond was created through meaningful approaches in working authentically with communities that required barriers to be removed and supporting new forms of transdisciplinary working between VAA and departments within Angus Council and Health and Social Care Partnership. VAA also quickly noticed that the wider third sector had to adapt their way of delivering services. It was essential that the third sector had a role within this multi-disciplinary team.
We started a new initiative called Angus Connect with the Third Sector and partner agencies. This brings all organisations together in order to build the capacity of the third sector and actively promote the sector to show we are still here supporting the community even if the work is being carried out slightly differently. This allowed us to reach people most in need of support and ensure no one fell through the gaps.
VAA has been commended on this work from many partner agencies. This highlights how successful our role is as a strategic partner and leadership organisation.
VAA strategic work is also influential and recognised at all levels of Health and Social Care Integration ranging from our community development approach to working in localities across Angus, to making an important contribution on strategic leadership within the Integrated Joint Board. Our partnership working within Health and Social Care has been helped with the new addition of our eight Social Prescribing workers, who are based across the county in GP practices working alongside our local workers to provide support to anyone with social issues. This coincides with our capacity building work, in order to create a fairer economy and with empowering communities to create an Angus that actively cares. In Community Planning, VAA continues to be proactive in facilitating the involvement of the third sector in many key outcomes including poverty, mental health and the economy. This is evident through our transforming services process, which has excelled this year through Angus Connect and other platforms created during the emergency response.
Finally, our Third Sector Centre at The Cross in Forfar is now at full capacity which means we have over 16 different organisations and a number of other services which are being delivered from the centre. The centre has had a significant impact on partnership working and allows communities to better access opportunities.
No one could have planned for what we have been faced with this year, but VAA and the communities of Angus have shown resilience throughout – but it would not have been possible without our Health and Social Care and Community Planning partners, as well as our fantastic VAA staff and of course our thousands of volunteers!
VAA is governed by a Board of Directors who volunteer their experience and skills to progress the work of the staff team to ensure that the key functions and additional outcomes are met and delivered to the best standard. The Board of Directors are:
- Bill Muir, Chairperson
- Julie Bell
- Rhona Guild
- Sharon Neilson
- Kenny Lee
- Anne Callendar
- Jill Scott
Voluntary Action Angus provides support and services for the county of Angus, offering staff support and guidance with volunteering, third sector support and social enterprise.
You can contact any of our staff team by phoning 01307 466 113 or email them directly by clicking their name below
- Hayley Mearns – CEO / email@example.com
- Ruth MacKay – Deputy Chief Executive / firstname.lastname@example.org
- Helen Carlin – Personal Assistant to Hayley Mearns, CEO email@example.com
- Lenny Gunning – Third Sector & Community Development Manager / firstname.lastname@example.org