• Category: Midlothian Voluntary Action

    Midlothian’s Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund is NOW OPEN

    A new fund to support mental health and wellbeing is being launched in Midlothian today with £241,000 to be distributed to local third sector organisations and community groups. Social enterprises will also be able to benefit from the Fund, which aims to promote initiatives that will benefit adults aged 16+.

    The money will help to address the impact of social isolation and loneliness caused by the pandemic, as well as health inequalities that have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The funding has been provided by the Scottish Government as part of a wider £15 million programme for Covid-19 recovery and renewal.

    In Midlothian, the Fund will be overseen by representatives from the TSI, Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership, Midlothian Council, Health in Mind, Penumbra, CAPS Collective Advocacy and people with lived experience. There will be £241,000 across three separate grant streams consisting of micro-grants up to the value of £2000, small grants up to £10,000 and a limited number of larger grants in the region of £30,000 each. Money will also be available for capital spend on land or building projects, to compliment the small and larger grant streams.

    Lesley Kelly, Chief Officer of Midlothian TSI, which includes Midlothian Voluntary Action and Volunteer Midlothian, said of the Fund, ‘We are really excited to have been given this money to distribute locally, whilst working together with our partners over the next few months. We know that there is a huge amount already going on in Midlothian’s communities to support mental wellbeing. The Fund will help local groups and organisations to build capacity, enabling more people to make social connections and access opportunities that promote mental wellbeing.’

    It is hoped that a similar amount of money will also be available in the next financial year (2022-23) and that creative proposals will be received for a wide range of activities with a focus on wellbeing in the community. Priority areas include recovery from addiction, social isolation and loneliness, suicide prevention, dementia community supports, access to physical activity, support for carers and anything else to promote mental wellbeing for adults aged 16+ at a grassroots, local level.

    To find out more, go to the Funding page on MVA’s website, where you can read the Partnership Plan and Fund Guidance. Application forms can be downloaded from there. Please also share this article and spread the word about the Fund with others in Midlothian.

    Image: metin.gul

    Welcome to our new graduate intern

    I’m Jill Bunyan, 24, from Glasgow. I recently started my new role at Midlothian Voluntary Action as a Social Justice and Financial Inclusion Graduate Intern. I’m thrilled to start my graduate career in the third sector, and excited to support MVA’s work over the coming months. Here’s a bit about me: 

    Before MVA 

    • Due to a change in career plans, I took a year out between school and university, during which I worked two jobs and volunteered in my free time  
    • I went to the University of Strathclyde and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Scots Law. I also spent a semester at the University of Copenhagen as part of the Erasmus Programme 
    • I quickly realised that going down the path of training as a solicitor wasn’t for me. Instead, I chose to pursue my passion for environmental law and undertook a Master’s Degree at the University of Edinburgh in Global Environment and Climate Change Law. I graduated in 2020  
    • During my time at university, I worked in several part-time jobs in hospitality and as a student ambassador. I was also the treasurer for Erasmus Student Network Strathclyde in my 4th year, and treasurer for the Postgraduate Law Society during my Master’s  
    • Prior to joining MVA, I worked in the family business as an Administrative Assistant while applying for graduate roles.  

    What volunteering I have done 

    • I am on the Steering Group for Young Friends of the Earth Scotland (YFoES). Through YFoES, I was part of a youth organisation collaboration to organise Scotland’s Youth Environment Hustings in the lead up to the Scottish elections. Currently, I am working with others to deliver our campaign objectives for COP26
    • I am on the committee for Get Glasgow Moving. It is a grassroots network and we are campaigning for a fully integrated, accessible and affordable public transport system in Glasgow. Most recently, I did the voice-over for our new campaign video  
    • I have been a volunteer for the Children’s Hearing System for six years  
    • I worked as a sustainability research volunteer for People and Planet. My role was to help gather data to contribute to the production of the 2021 People and Planet University League Table, which ranks UK universities on their environmental and ethical performance 
    • During high school, I volunteered at my local RSPB Nature Reserve and my local wildlife rescue centre as part of fulfilling the requirements of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.  

    Why did I want to work for MVA and in the third sector? 

    • By working for MVA I will be able to network and engage with different partners and organisations. This will allow me to learn from a wide group of individuals with expertise on tackling social justice issues who share the same values and help me effectively contribute to MVA’s projects.  
    • The third sector is well positioned to influence and create change that will improve people’s lives and I wanted to be part of that.  

    What advice would I give to those wanting to volunteer? 

    Volunteering is a great opportunity to get involved in a cause that you are passionate about, or the opportunity to try something completely new.  Don’t be embarrassed if the first one (or few) you try don’t work out or aren’t the right fit for you. There are so many worthy organisations out there that are looking for volunteers. Volunteering demonstrates your commitment to a cause and enables you to develop skills and knowledge that you can apply in your professional career. It’s also a chance to meet new people and make friends. 

    Advice for those job hunting and how to stand out in your applications  

    • Talk about your interests/hobbies and what you are passionate about! This shows a bit of your personality and helps you stand out 
    • Research the company/organisation. Make sure you understand their ethos and values and incorporate this into your application. This demonstrates interest in the company, and not just the position 
    • As exhausting as applying for jobs can be, don’t give up, and keep working on personal development.  The right opportunity is around the corner. 

    My future plans 

    This role will provide me with a good introduction on how best to support and coordinate projects to tackle social justice issues, providing me with skills and experience that I can take forward. I’m passionate about tackling climate and marine environment issues, and collaborating with others to protect our natural world. I would love to work for an international NGO, working in policy and research, to work towards achieving climate and social justice.  

    Welcoming a new face thanks to the Kickstart Scheme

    We’re delighted to be part of the Kickstart initiative, created as part of the government’s coronavirus response to provide paid employment and career support to Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24. Fraser Waugh started with us this week thanks to Kickstart – we have also discovered that Fraser is a former Volunteer Midlothian volunteer! Over to Fraser to introduce himself:

    Hi, I’m Fraser Waugh, 23, from Penicuik. I have just begun my new role at Midlothian Voluntary Action. After many months of job searching, including sending away 55 applications, CVs, covering letters and nearly 18 months out of full-time employment; I am very pleased to be now working in a sector I am passionate about. I am eager to promote the amazing projects that are happening in and around Midlothian. So, a bit about me:

    My earlier years before MVA

    • After I left school, I went to Forth Valley College in Stirling to complete an HND in Media and Communications
    • Then worked at Ikea Edinburgh for over 2 years
    • Recently I finished my studies at Queen Margaret University in 2020, gaining a BA (Hons) in PR, Marketing and Events right at the start of the pandemic!
    • Now that I have a Kickstart role, I’ll receive on-the-job training and gain some valuable transferable experiences that will allow me to continue in a communications role.

    What volunteering have I done?

    I’ve volunteered in Midlothian – mostly when I was at high school, but throughout my life too:

    Volunteer Awards at Newbattle Abbey College
    Volunteer Awards at Newbattle Abbey College
    • Assisted in the start-up of the Beadazzling jewellery store in Dalkeith as part of Volunteer Midlothian’s Ready for Retail Project. I also created original jewellery designs such as earrings, bracelets and necklaces, helped run workshops and craft fair stalls, and was a retail assistant. This project was also recognised for all the hard work we did at the Volunteer Awards at Newbattle Abbey College. I was also part of another Volunteer Midlothian befriending project, a ‘Sew Crafty’ craft group designed to match up young people with older members of the local community. We knitted, made cards, a bit of jewellery making and any other craft skills that the lovely ladies knew!
    • From doing the Sew Crafty craft group and Beadazzling I gained an ‘Ascent’ Saltire award.
    • I starred in a film project in collaboration with Screen Education Edinburgh on behalf of MYPAS Thinking Differently. We were taught all aspects of filmmaking and created a film on the theme of alcohol abuse. This was filmed on location in Dalkeith and screened at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh. You can watch it here.
    • I have also been in Scouting since I was six – now I’m a Cub Scout Leader in Penicuik and an Explorer Leader in Bonnyrigg.
    • On the theme of scouting, I won the senior category in the south of Scotland’s regional district Rotary Club’s National Young Writer’s Competition. The finalists were invited to a presentation at Waterstone’s in Glasgow. Bill Daly, the Scottish crime writer, and Alistair Marquis (District Governor) gave us certificates in recognition for our writing.
    National Young Writer Competition Presentation
    National Young Writer Competition

    Why did I want to work for MVA and the third sector?

    • At MVA there will be a lot of scope for me to get involved in different projects and initiatives – promoting these causes and making a difference appeals to me.
    • The third sector, volunteering and charities especially make a massive contribution to society and it is an industry where there is a lot of transformative work happening.

    What advice would I give to people who want to volunteer? And those who are job searching and looking to ‘stand out’ in applications?

    • GET IN TOUCH with your local volunteering provider! Particularly due to the Covid-19 pandemic a lot of charities/other non-for-profit organisations need as much help as possible.
    • Volunteering is great for your mental health and career prospects – this was the case for me! Your job prospects increase a lot as you are helping your local community and learning a lot of different skills in another context outside of work. The opportunities are endless and help you stand out!

    My future plans?

    What I hope to get out of my time at MVA is to gain valuable charity experience that will allow me to continue in a communications role in the third sector. With the experience and training I hope to receive from this role, I’d love to eventually become a brand strategist in a PR or marketing agency creating and implementing strategies for a range of different clients and brands.

    Make a change in your community

    The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best in Midlothian communities. We’ve seen people banding together to look after neighbours and the environment. Now is time to think about the next steps and keep that energy going. Do you want to make change in your community?

    Midlothian Council’s Communities and Lifelong Learning Service and Midlothian Voluntary Action have created a free four-week introductory course to community changemaking which starts on 1 June 2021. The course will be led by Daniel Baigrie (Midlothian Council) and Rebecca McKinney (MVA), both with many years’ experience in community development and changemaking.

    Find out more about the course.

    Artists supported through youth arts programme

    Made in Midlothian, in partnership with Midlothian Voluntary Action, has selected seven freelance artists to deliver creative projects with young people across local communities.

    Funded by Creative Scotland’s Youth Arts Small Grants Scheme, the successful applicants are:

    • Adie Baako, West African Dancer of Akrowa UK
    • Ailis Paterson, Drama Facilitator
    • Annie Lord, Artist and Performer
    • Hannah Edi, Actor and Teacher
    • Laura Baigrie, Play Services Manager and Arts Practitioner
    • Lea Taylor, Professional Storyteller and Author
    • Mary Turner Thomson, Author.

    Each artist will shape their projects with young people taking the lead on what’s created. The programme will culminate in a showcase in March 2022 where young people will have a chance to display or perform their art. In addition to this, they will have an opportunity to list their art on Made in Midlothian’s online marketplace. 

    To learn more about their projects visit www.madeinmidlothian.com/mim-youth-arts-programme

    Good Governance in the Third Sector

    Moving your Board Meetings Online

    This month we’re publishing a series of blog posts to help organisations update their governing documents if needed, so online meetings can continue. Here’s the first blog written by our Deputy Chief Officer, Rebecca McKinney:

    Wiki Education board meeting June 2020 via Zoom by LiAnna (Wiki Ed) is licensed with CC BY-SA 4.0.

    The process for how your organisation holds board meetings and members’ meetings such as AGMs and EGMs will be set out in your governing document. In normal times, you must follow this process.

    In response to the Covid 19 Pandemic, some rules have been loosened to allow meetings to be held virtually even when this is not stated in your governing document. However, the rules are currently scheduled to revert back at the end of March, 2021. This means that if you want to continue having virtual board or members’ meetings, you may have to change your governing document. Here’s what to do next:

    1. Find your constitution or your articles of association and read the sections pertaining to the conduct of Directors’/Trustees’ meetings and Members’ meetings.
    2. Does the document specify that meetings may take place electronically or virtually?
    3. Or, does it have clauses stating that the meeting will be treated as taking place regardless of where participants actually are?
    4. Remember to check sections pertaining to both DIRECTORS and MEMBERS.
    5. If YES, you don’t have to make any changes to your governing document.
    6. If NO, read on:
    If your organisation is a SCIO or unincorporated charity, see these NEXT STEPS:

    1. Hold an AGM or EGM and pass a resolution to make the change to your constitution. Remember that this meeting must be quorate. At least two thirds of members who participate in the vote must agree to the change.

    2. Inform OSCR within three months that you have made the change, by sending their notification form and a copy of your amended constitution. You can find out more about how to do this here. Suggested text is available via SCVO. You will need to adjust the wording and clause numbering to match your particular constitution.

    Add immediately after clause 40: “40A. The board may make arrangements, in advance of any members’ meeting, to allow members to participate in the members’ meeting by means of a conference telephone, video conferencing facility or similar communications equipment – so long as all those participating in the meeting can hear each other; a member participating in a members’ meeting in this manner shall be deemed to be present in person at the meeting.”

    Amend clause 44: “44 Every member has one vote, which must be given personally; for the avoidance of doubt, a vote given by a member participating in the meeting through any of the methods referred to in clause 40A will be taken to be given personally for the purposes of this clause.”

    Add immediately after clause 86: “86A. A charity trustee may participate in a meeting of the board by means of a conference telephone, video conferencing facility or similar communications equipment – so long as all the charity trustees participating in the meeting can hear each other; a charity trustee participating in a meeting in this manner shall be deemed to be present in person at the meeting.”

    Amend clause 90: “90. Every charity trustee has one vote, which must be given personally; for the avoidance of doubt, a vote given by a charity trustee participating in the meeting through any of the methods referred to in clause 86A will be taken to be given personally for the purposes of this clause.”

    If your organisation is a Company Ltd by Guarantee WITH charitable status, follow these NEXT STEPS:

    1. Hold an AGM or EGM and pass a resolution to make the change to your Articles of Association. Remember that this meeting must be quorate. At least two thirds of members who participate in the vote must agree to the change.

    2. Inform Companies House of the change to your Articles within 15 days. You can find out how to do this here.

    3. Inform OSCR within three months that you have made the change, by sending their notification form and a copy of your amended constitution. You can find out more about how to do this here.

    Some sample statements you may insert into your Articles are:

    In determining whether directors are participating in a directors’ meeting, it is irrelevant where any director is or how they communicate with each other.

    or

    If all the directors participating in a meeting are not in the same place, they may decide that the meeting is to be treated as taking place wherever any of them is.

    And

    In determining attendance at a general meeting, it is immaterial whether any two or more members attending it are in the same place as each other.

    If your organisation is a CIC or Company Ltd by Guarantee without charitable status, follow these NEXT STEPS:

    Check your CIC Articles. It is likely that these already contain a clause enabling you to hold meetings in which all participants are not in the same place. In this case, you do not need to make any changes.

    If you do need to amend your articles, follow the same procedure as ‘If your organisation is a Company Ltd by Guarantee WITH charitable status’ above, but because you are not a charity, you will not have to inform OSCR.

    On 24 February we’re holding a free workshop for Midlothian third sector organisations that may need to change their governing document to allow virtual meetings.

    Virtual meeting best practice

    "Zoom meeting" by chericbaker is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0

    A poor internet connection, a frozen screen and Zoom fatigue are all problems that those of us taking part in video meetings have experienced during the pandemic.

    For all the downsides, video meetings have allowed some organisations to keep working under lockdown, and they can also be easier to attend for those with mobility issues or busy schedules. The technology reduces the costs of holding meetings, and businesses are now less dependent on office space.

    If your organisation wants to keep holding official meetings online or by phone (such as AGMs) after 30 March 2021, you may need to update your governing documents.

    Over the next three weeks we’re going to publish a series of blog posts that outline how to work out if you need to update your governing documents to allow for continued online meetings. We’ll provide some sample lines to use, and share case studies on what other businesses have learnt from holding meetings online. Topics we’ll cover will include how to manage online voting, preparing for those potential technical hitches and avoiding disruptive ‘Zoombombing’.

    Keep an eye on the news page over the coming weeks- follow us on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll let you know when the next post is live.

    On 24 February we’re holding a free workshop for Midlothian third sector organisations that may need to change their governing document to allow virtual meetings.

    Youth Arts Small Grants Fund now open for applications

    Midlothian Voluntary Action are 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 programme will provide small grants to artists to work with groups of children and young people in Midlothian 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 is now open for applications and applications close on 1 March 2021.  See Made in Midlothian’s website for more information.


    “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

    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!

    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!