I recently met with senior management at Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire (VANL), the Airdrie based development agency and membership network open to third sector organisations throughout North Lanarkshire.
Formed in 2010 following the amalgamation of the Council for Voluntary Services and the Voluntary Centre, VANL seeks to forge closer working links between third sector bodies in North Lanarkshire. It is the central point of contact for information, advice and support on voluntary action, and represents the sector in discussions with local community planning partnerships.
VANL currently supports between 350-400 voluntary organisations and in excess of 1800 volunteers in the local authority area, providing them with a comprehensive range of resources including organisational and financial support, advice on sourcing and obtaining funding, and bespoke training for volunteers.
The meeting was very informative, and I was favourably impressed by VANL’s role as an essential advice and support network for local volunteer and community groups. VANL staff and employees are highly trained and extremely knowledgeable, and I would advice all local volunteer groups to take advantage of their expertise.
With the coalition Governments programme of austerity measures cutting back on public services, the burden on the third sector will increase exponentially. It is imperative, therefore, that third sector funding is kept at a sustainable level, and that the role of volunteer groups is not diluted, but remains clearly defined.