• Category: News

    New funding for Youth Arts in Midlothian

    Midlothian Voluntary Action is proud to be working in partnership with local social enterprise, Made in Midlothian, on a project that will support freelance artists to work with children and young people in Midlothian.

    Funded by Creative Scotland’s Youth Arts Small Grants Scheme, the project will provide small grants to artists across a range of media to work with groups of children and young people who have been most adversely affected by the Covid 19 pandemic. Local MSP, Colin Beattie, has congratulated Made in Midlothian on their success, in a motion to the Scottish Parliament. 

    The small grant fund will open for applications from artists on 25 January.

    See Made in Midlothian’s website for more information about the project.


    “This funding will support Made in Midlothian to empower freelance arts practitioners to deliver activity across the community, and bring meaningful creative experiences to children and young people, whose well-being has been so severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

    Colin Bradie, Interim Head of Creative Learning, Creative Scotland

    Volunteer Midlothian and Health in Mind team up to offer mental health training in January

    Hello and happy new year to you all from Volunteer Midlothian! Also not so happy, since we have entered another full lockdown across the UK, but we can only make the best of it and try to be kind to each other in the coming weeks and months.

    There is an ongoing need to support the mental wellbeing of third sector staff and volunteers at this time, so we are confident that the provision of three special training sessions later on in January from Volunteer Midlothian and Health in Mind will be welcomed. The sessions have been organised as part of the mental health and volunteering grants project, hosted by Volunteer Midlothian and launched during lockdown 2020. Our development worker Natalie, and also Lisa Hodkinson from Health in Mind, have worked hard to roll this provision out in the last month of funding for the project.

    During the staff session there will be an emphasis on maintaining wellbeing at work (including work from home). For volunteers, the focus will be more general, looking at self care and support to stay well in times of stress or additional challenges. Sessions will be short and easy to access. We are sure you will agree that now is the time to encourage people to pause and take a moment to reflect on how best they can support their own mental wellbeing, and that of others around them, as we move through another lockdown and try to deal with the longer term uncertainty of the pandemic.

    We’d appreciate it if you could promote the sessions widely around your networks and encourage others to sign up. For more information check out the two poster links below, or contact Natalie from Volunteer Midlothian.

    Info about staff sessions.

    Info about volunteer sessions.

    Covid can’t stop Randori Judo!

    Randori’s new judo centre in Dalkeith

    Just a couple of years ago, Mark Taylor walked into our office in Dalkeith with a dream: to start a social enterprise that would share the physical, emotional and social benefits of judo with children, young people and adults across Midlothian. He founded Randori Social Enterprises in 2018, running clubs and classes in schools around Midlothian.

    In the spring of 2020, facing all of the uncertainty that the pandemic brought, Mark took the brave decision to sign the lease on an industrial unit at Hardengreen Business Park. During the lockdown period, the Randori team worked relentlessly, galvanising the support of their members, local businesses and the wider community to fully refurbish and kit out their brand new dojo, complete with sprung floors, mats, mirrors and much more.

    SEAM worked alongside Firstport and Midlothian Business Gateway to ensure that Randori had the business support they needed and were able to make the most of available funding opportunities. The new Randori dojo is now up and running. It is an amazing space and an inspiring example of social entrepreneurship in Midlothian. Locate in Midlothian recently featured this article about Randori. You can also follow what Randori is up to on Facebook.

    Brexit’s not long away. Is your organisation prepared?

    With all the discussions about Covid-19 in recent months, it is easy to forget that we will still be leaving the EU on 31 December 2020. There will be guaranteed changes from January 1st for businesses as we start our new relationship with the EU. There are many actions you can take today to prepare. Third sector organisations are being urged to: 

    It is worth doing one or more of these things now, as Brexit (the real thing) will be upon us very soon!

    SEAM and MVA are having a clear out

    A lot has changed since the pandemic happened, and it’s certainly been a very challenging time for many organisations, especially not being able to get into our work places very easily.

    This picture of Rebecca was taken before lockdown, but we are actually still in the process of sorting out our office and meeting room on White Hart Street in Dalkeith. We are hoping that when life can return to ‘normal’, the TSI premises will be a safe, warm and supportive space for local third sector organisations to come for a one to one session, some training, or even just a general catch up to say hello and tell us how it’s been during lockdown.

    We look forward to seeing you once our space is sorted out and the regulations allow it. In the meantime – see you on Teams or Zoom!

    Winter driving skills for staff and volunteers

    Cars and lorries on a snowy motorway.

    Lothian 4×4 Drivers are offering winter driving skills training for staff and volunteers, aimed at helping them to be safer and more confident driving in winter conditions. In the past, participants in the sessions have given them a unanimous thumbs up, being educational and entertaining too – and certainly contributing to the safety and confidence of local drivers during the winter months.

    This opportunity is a great one to include in your winter planning and preparation. It will be an online session, for obvious reasons. If you are interested in this for your staff and/or volunteers but wouldn’t have 10 people available to participate, get in touch and we’ll try to group more than one organisation together. 

    Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme opens

    The Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme is a £25m Scottish Government funded programme aiming to support charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations that are supporting people and communities through the shift from lockdown to recovery. As well as providing ongoing crisis support, the fund will enable changes that will help organisations to adapt and thrive in a very different social and economic climate. The programme has two main strands: 

    This stream aims to support organisational change. It offers tailored support and funding to develop a plan so that third sector organisations can operate sustainably post-pandemic. 

    This stream supports the delivery of services in communities that were suspended or reduced because of COVID-19, or the creation of services that tackle new challenges presented by the pandemic. 

    You can apply now

    Both strands are now open. The two funds are based around an integrated system so, if required, a request can be made to both programmes using a single application form. 

    Retirement of George Wilson, manager of MVA

    We are sad (but happy for George!) to share the news that George Wilson, Manager of MVA, retired at the end of September.  George has worked in Midlothian since 1994. He initially managed Woodburn Action Group, which then merged with MVA in 1998.  He has been with us ever since. 

    His calm and supportive manner has been appreciated by everyone in the sector, and we can’t put into words how much everyone at Midlothian TSI will miss him.  His leaving collection raised over £400, and we were able to buy him a very nice bottle of Islay Malt. We hope you enjoy it George – but definitely don’t drink it all at once!

    Core Skills in Volunteer Management goes digital

    Core Skills in Volunteer Management is normally a four-day long course run for volunteer managers and coordinators by Volunteer Edinburgh. CSVM provides a comprehensive introduction to volunteer management in all its varied forms.

    We can say from experience that the course content is both informative and challenging. Facilitators are also highly skilled and critically aware of best practice and other topical issues in the field of volunteering. We recommend that anyone involved in volunteer management considers doing some if not all of CSVM, which has recently gone digital – for obvious reasons. At present there are two 7 hour courses available, each running over a period of two weeks. Courses include virtual contact with other volunteer managers and the trainer, as well as coursework and the use of online forums. 

    There is a small fee for each course, but it would be money will spent and would help to ensure that organisations are fully up to speed with the implications of working with volunteers in the current context.

    For more information contact javier.tejera@volunteeredinburgh.org.uk or go to  Volunteer Edinburgh’s training and event webpage.

    Successful recipients of Midlothian mental health grant announced

    Volunteer Midlothian and Health in Mind recently launched the ‘Midlothian Mental Health in the Community Small Grants Fund’, using money from the Scottish Government’s Supporting Communities Fund, to enable local organisations to pilot new activities that serve the community. The six month project will provide mental health and wellbeing support for those that have been affected by Covid-19 and lockdown. The funded projects will offer internet and telephone-based listening, counselling and peer support. Any face-to-face services will only commence in due course, in line with the Scottish Government’s social distancing guidelines and lockdown routemap. 

    We are delighted to announce that the seven projects being funded are: Alzheimer Scotland, Anam Cara, Cyrenians, Dalkeith and District Citizens Advice Bureau, Midlothian Sure Start, Rosewell Development Trust and Vocal Midlothian. The projects will support a range of different needs across Midlothian, including those of carers, families, people who are socially isolated, people living with dementia and vulnerable women. All project volunteers will have access to specialist mental health training designed and delivered by Health in Mind specifically for this project.

    You can follow on social media for regular updates on the progress of each project on Twitter: