• Tag: 2024

    Scottish Charities Invited to Shape Future Regulations

    The Scottish Government is running a consultation to understand whether a review of charity regulation is needed, and what the Third Sector would like this review to focus on.

    Midlothian Voluntary Action will be submitting a response to this consultation and would like to have your feedback to ensure our presence is reflective of the opinion of the Third Sector within Midlothian.

    Please email info@mvacvs.org.uk with your comments before Thursday 18th July. 

    We are also encouraging organisations and individuals to respond on their own behalf, the link can be found here:

    What’s the goal?

    The purpose of the consultation is to understand whether a review of charity regulation is needed and, if so, what the purpose and parameters of it should be. Specifically, the consultation focuses on: 

    • understanding whether the sector still want a more general review of charity regulation 
    • identifying what areas of charity regulation the sector want to be reviewed, and why 
    • identifying any areas for review that might fall within a technical workstream 
    • establishing the purpose and parameters of a review to allow for next steps to be determined. 

    The consultation is split into two strands.  

    1. Should there be a review of charity regulation?

    The first strand is focused on whether there should be a review of charity regulation and asks what the focus of any review should be. Two options are offered, as well as space for organisations/individuals should suggest others: 

    • To assess the effectiveness of current charity regulation in meeting the future needs of the sector .
    • To review the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 – exploring if the Act is doing what it set out to do and if any changes are required.

    The consultation then references specific parts of charity regulations that have previously been suggested for review, and asks if you believe any of these should be prioritised at this stage:  

    Charitable purposes 

    There are 16 charitable purposes set out in section 7(2) of the 2005 Act. Each charity must have at least one of these purposes in their written constitution. The purpose(s) make clear what the charity has been set up to achieve, its broad aims.

    Public benefit 

    Public benefit is the way a charity makes a positive difference to the public (either in general or to a specific section) through the activities it carries out when advancing its charitable purposes. This is set out in Section 8 of the 2005 Act

    Charity trustee duties

    All charity trustees have legal duties and responsibilities under charity law. A duty is something that you must do, and all the duties must be met. The duties are set out in Section 66 of the 2005 Act. 

    2. What technical areas are being reviewed?

    The second strand focuses on Technical Areas that have also been identified for review, and the consultation asks for your opinion on these:  

    Charity reorganisations for statutory charities 

    Reorganisation allows often older charities to make changes to become more effective in a number of ways. For the small number of charities established under Royal charter or an Act of Parliament or Act of the Scottish Parliament, the process of reorganisation can be complex. 

    Incorporation to a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) 

    Incorporation means that the charity as a legal entity can enter into contracts in its own right and the charity trustees do not have the same liability if something goes wrong. In recent years incorporation is often a requirement for funding, including SG funding. This area can be problematic, particularly for smaller charities.  

    The OSCR processes for establishing new SCIOs, registering other incorporated bodies as charities, or winding up the old charities are not necessarily the issue here. It is often the transfer of all assets and liabilities from the old charity to the new charity which can be time consuming and expensive. Some charities who would benefit from the SCIO form withdraw from the process due to these complexities.  

    Review of audit thresholds 

    We have become aware that charities are finding it increasingly difficult to appoint an auditor. At the moment the evidence is anecdotal. However, we believe that over time there is a risk that charities requiring an audit will struggle to appoint an auditor, meaning that they would be unable to file annual accounts with OSCR to comply with the Charities Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (the 2006 Regulations) and the 2005 Act. 

    The audit income threshold for charities in Scotland and Northern Ireland is currently £500k, in England and Wales the threshold is higher, currently £1m. Some stakeholders have publicly called for the threshold to be raised to £1m. The Scottish Charity Sector in broad terms has a lower income than England and Wales, with only around 1,500 Scottish charities currently subject to the audit thresholds.  

    Raising the threshold would have a knock-on effect of creating more demand for independent examinations (required where an audit is not), where there is already a shortage of independent examiners. So, a change of threshold would not in itself reduce the demand on professional accountancy firms and individuals.   

    The audit thresholds are set out in the Charities Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2006. Any change to the threshold would need to be made by amendment regulations, as opposed to it being a matter of discretion for OSCR. We understand from OSCR that data on the Scottish Charity Register indicates that an increase in the audit threshold to £1 million would bring around 500 charities out of the current audit requirements and place them under independent examination requirements. 

    Please email info@mvacvs.org.uk with your comments before Thursday 18th July. 

    Panda-monium at the Midlothian Volunteer Awards 2024!

    On Thursday 6 June, volunteers across Midlothian arrived at Newbattle Abbey College for our annual Midlothian Volunteer Awards. The night was a blast and we want to thank everyone who attended. It is a joy to celebrate the hardworking volunteers in Midlothian each year. We hope you all had as much fun as we did!

    Photographs

    Thank you to our wonderful photographer, Kris Soul Photography, for capturing the evening.

    Click the button below to see photos from the awards ceremony:

    Programme

    You can see the winners and nominations from the night in our awards programme:

    Mascot Campaign

    In 2024, our mascot campaign is a little different. Each year we usually have a student placement who works with us to organise a competition and campaign with a brand new mascot. This year, we didn’t have a student placement but we couldn’t bear to have Volunteers’ Week without a mascot! We brought back mascots from previous years; Bramble the Bear, Pretzel the Panda, and Ringo the Rhino to keep the tradition going. Take a look at our campaign video down below.

    We hope these mascots will find someone to look after them next year!

    If you attended the ceremony, we’d love to gather your feedback, please fill in this short 3 question survey. Your feedback helps us continually improve for future events.

    A BIG thank you to our generous sponsors:

    EDF Energy

    Esk Valley Rotary Club

    Scottish Fire & Rescue Service

    Scottish Qualifications Authority

    Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership

    Midlothian Council

    Well Done You Ltd

    and of course, Newbattle Abbey College.

    We can’t wait to see you all again for next year’s ceremony!

    Free Unrestricted Funding With Easyfundraising

    MVA hosted an online event today with Becky Coleman at easyfundraising.org.uk.

    Don’t worry if you missed the session, you can view the recording below:

    You can download the slides from this session here.

    How does easyfundraising work?

    Brands see that easyfundraising has sent you to them, so they pay easyfundraising a commission when you start your shop from the easyfundraising website or app. If you make a purchase, a commission is generated, and they turn that into a donation.

    Becky explained that there are over 8,000 retailers who will donate to your charitable organisation every time one of your supporters makes an online purchase through easyfundraising.

    How do I sign up?

    It is straightforward and free for organisations to register. Easyfundraising will undertake the due diligence and then set up an easyfundraising page on your behalf. They will even provide you with promotional materials and graphics to encourage your supporters to sign up with easyfundraising.

    Your supporters can then go onto the easyfundraising page, select the retailer they wish to use, and shop as normal. The donation will be made at no cost to you or them. Supporters can also download the easyfundraising app or browser extension, which will remind them to use easyfundraising when making a purchase.

    You will receive a quarterly donation from easyfundraising which is stress-free unrestricted funding. No reporting is required.

    Participating retailers include Amazon, John Lewis, Tesco, and Argos. Your supporters can also raise funds when they book holidays, buy insurance, electricity, and office supplies!

    There’s really no downside. You can register now at easyfundraising.org.uk/midlothian

    Don’t want to miss any more MVA training sessions?

    Keep an eye on our website, or our TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn pages.

    National Lottery Funding – Briefing Blog

    MVA recently held a National Lottery Funding Briefing to provide third sector organisations with an update on some changes the National Lottery are making to their funding streams.

    Community Led, Improving Lives, and Cost of Living Support Scotland will close on the 21st August 2024. Applications will still be accepted until that date and assessed as usual. For further details you can contact your NL Funding Officer.

    New streams of funding will come online at the end of the year, but no date has been confirmed yet. They will likely fall around these four priority areas.

    Supporting communities to:

    • Come together
    • Be environmentally sustainable
    • Help children and young people access resources and experiences that help them thrive
    • Enable people to live healthier lives

    National Lottery Awards for All, Young Start and Scottish Land Fund will remain open to applications with no closing dates.

    Please do contact MVA if you would like support in applying to any of these funds before they close. The Development Team would be more than happy to review applications or provide advice about other potential sources of funding. See more about the support we can provide here.

    Contact us at info@mvacvs.org.uk or call our office, Monday – Thursday, on 0131 663 9471.

    Slides from this briefing can be viewed here:


    ALISS (A Local Information System for Scotland) Training Recording & Recap

    We recently held training alongside Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland & Midlothian Council to help organisations in Midlothian learn more about ALISS (A Local Information System for Scotland) and how they can utilise it efficiently.

    These training sessions were popular, but don’t worry if you missed out! You can watch the recorded training session here:

    ALISS Training session presented by Cameron MacFarlane, ALISS Programme Engagement and Insights Manager at the Alliance.

    We’ve also written up a brief overview, if you need a refresher:

    What is ALISS?

    ALISS is a digital tool operated by Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (The Alliance) that allows groups and organisations to find or share information on local resources, services, groups, and support.

    Why should you use ALISS?

    ALISS allows you to share services, activities, and resources that help;

    • Enable social connection
    • Assist people to self-manage their long-term conditions
    • Support outdoor or physical activity
    • Access digital technology

    Outside websites and directories pull information from ALISS, these include:

    The information they use is automatically updated when it’s edited on ALISS.

    How do you use ALISS?

    There are different ways to use ALISS:

    • To search for information
    • To upload information
    • For community mapping
    • For signposting
    • For creating your own directory/ embedding on your website

    When searching for information, it’s helpful to utilise the search filters.

    How do I add to ALISS?

    There are three main ways to get information on ALISS:

    • Basic Account – Good for one-off events/ postings, information approved by ALISS
    • ALISS Editor – Good for posting in bulk, doesn’t need to be manually approved by ALISS
    • Claimed Organisation – Claim your own organisations information, take responsibility to ensure it is accurate and up to date. Edits don’t need approval from ALISS

    ALISS for Alexa

    ALISS can now be used on the Amazon Alexa app and voice devices. By using voice commands, like “Alexa, search My Scottish Community for walking groups.”, those with low digital literacy or who may have a physical condition or disability, can stay connected to their communities and access the support they need when they need it most.

    For more information, and how to set it up check out these articles:

    Connecting communities through voice activated technology – Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (alliance-scotland.org.uk)

    Amazon.co.uk: My Scottish Community: search ALISS for support : Alexa Skills

    Don’t want to miss any more MVA training sessions?

    Keep an eye on our website, or our Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages.

    Nominations Open for the 2024 Midlothian Volunteer Awards!

    Nominations are now open for the 2024 Midlothian Volunteer Awards! 

    The Midlothian Volunteer Awards take place each year, and are all about celebrating the amazing efforts of volunteers in Midlothian. This celebration is a part of a national initiative, where we appreciate people’s kindness across the whole of Scotland. It is a great opportunity to promote some of the fabulous volunteering projects that exist in Midlothian.

    Please ensure you read the FAQs here before you submit.

    Nominations will close on March 22nd, so submit them soon.

    If you have any questions, email info@volunteermidlothian.org.uk

    2024 Midlothian Volunteer Awards

    Click here to see this years nominations!

    The Midlothian Volunteer Awards are back! We’re excited to celebrate all the amazing efforts of volunteers in Midlothian over the past year.

    This celebration is a part of Volunteer’s Week, a national initiative where we appreciate people’s kindness across the whole of Scotland. It is a great opportunity to promote some of the fabulous volunteering projects that exist in Midlothian. The 2024 Award Ceremony will be held on June 6 at the splendid Newbattle Abbey College.

    We’d love any person nominated for an award to be made aware so they can save the date for the event.

    Please note this event is for nominated volunteers, and their nominees.

    Take a look at our video from last year to see what it’s all about:

    Applications open for CMHWB Micro Grant

    Are you a community group looking for funding?

    Year 3 of Midlothian Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund for Adults launched in the end of September 2023 distributing over £246 thousand to third organisations and community groups. It has already seen many successful applications for larger projects. There is a small fund of £7800 to support micro grant applications, to be distributed by the end of March 2024. The Fund aims to support people’s good mental health and wellbeing and to provide opportunities to connect with others in local community.

    Local groups are invited to apply for funding from £200 up to £2500.

    Known as “the Sunflower Fund” the funding has a strong emphasis on collaboration, partnerships, capacity building and the development of creative projects that can work at a grassroots level, together with local people. All these to ensure outcomes are inclusive and have maximum impact on a local level. In Midlothian the fund had been overseen by a team of staff and volunteers from the TSI, Midlothian Council, Health in Mind, and Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership. The Lived Experience Working Group from Health in Mind will be assessing the funding applications. 

    Fund enquiries should be directed to Magda Clark magda@volunteermidlothian.org.uk by 26 February 2024.

    Read more about the Midlothian Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund here.

    Midlothian Third Sector Interface