Voluntary Action Orkney Celebrates 50 Years


Ivan Houston, Sheila Garson & Gail Anderson (F Grahame)

Voluntary Action Orkney (VAO) held its AGM on Monday 12th June in Lifestyles, Pickaquoy Kirkwall. The Chair, Sheila Garson, welcomed the ‘great turnout’ which she said was ‘lovely to see’. Orkney News as a member was also there.

VAO has been supporting and helping organisations in Orkney for 50 years having become a charity in 1967. Sheila Garson said:

“This has been a year of challenges and opportunities…. also uncertainty”.

VAO has been involved in a huge amount of work with integrated joint partnership working.

Gail Anderson also commented on the partnership working that VAO has been involved with highlighting in particular the work in the North and South Isles . This is with the ‘Your Islands Your Choice’ initiative encouraging participatory budgeting with the non linked islands. Gail said that people appreciate deciding for themselves how to allocate the money they are awarded. She also pointed out that the Annual report cannot cover everything that VAO does as “much of the small things we do are not captured in the report” . Small things that make a big difference.

It was emphasised that VAO is a local charity and that is the way it will stay no matter what the outcome of the current consultation by the Scottish Government on the Third Sector. VAO is funded by the Scottish Government and by Orkney Islands Council who this year gave a 1% rise to their contribution.


Sheila Garson, chair of VAO cutting the cake to celebrate 50 years of serving Orkney

Retiring Treasurer, Jan Judge, was thanked for her many years of service and presented with a bouquet.

After the formalities of the AGM Sheila Garson  cut a cake to celebrate the 50 years of the work of VAO which was followed by refreshments and entertainment by the talented Aim Family.

You can watch a short video here of the evening

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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