Voluntary Action South Ayrshire (VASA) – 2 July 2019
Hazel Vanzetta from Voluntary Action South Ayrshire (VASA) came along to the club to explain that the organisation is the local Third Sector Interface. It is recognised by the Scottish Government and South Ayrshire Council as fulfilling a key role in ensuring the continued development of a robust Third Sector in South Ayrshire.
As VASA has been created from an amalgamation of Volunteer Centre South Ayrshire (VCSA) and Council for Voluntary Organisations in Kyle and Carrick (CVOKC) it is founded on a wealth of experience gained during decades of work with Third Sector organisations, agencies and groups operating in South Ayrshire.
VASA’s primary purpose is to progress the 4 key Interface functions set out by the Scottish Government. These are:
- Volunteering Development
- Social Enterprise Development
- Supporting and Developing a strong Third Sector
- Building the Third Sector Relationship with Community Planning
Handing over to Fiona MacKenzie of South Ayrshire Befriending Project (SABP), Fiona continued by telling her audience that it is a small locally run charity based in Ayr. It was established in 1996 when the need for a befriending service for young people with social or emotional difficulties within South Ayrshire was identified. SABP also extends to young people with an additional support need or a diagnosed medical condition through the new “Buddies” project. Issues which create this need range from social isolation, school exclusions, addiction problems at home or child protection situations.
- SABP, with only a small team of five, supports around 50 to 70 young people each year through the provision of one-to-one befriending and group activities using volunteers. This support lasts from six months up to two years.
- They receive funding from a variety of grant making bodies and trusts as well as private donations and a contribution from the Local Authority.
- The Project’s full team consists of four part-time Co-ordinators and one full time Project Assistant who oversee the daily running of SABP. It is managed by a Board of Directors, made up of volunteers with different professional backgrounds and their own specific remit within the Project.
Fiona emphasised that volunteer befrienders were carefully matched with each child to whom they devote 2 to 3 hours every fortnight. Her concluding statement that “we just want to make them happy” said it all.
John Ewing thanked both ladies for their dedication and well-delivered addresses.