Voluntary Sector

image of posters to launch the Voluntary Sector Manifeto

Voluntary Sector in Edinburgh

There are over 600 voluntary and community organisations in Edinburgh. The sector is diverse and can be broadly categorised into service-providing, advocacy and campaigning organisations, as well as organisations with or without paid staff.

The sector ranges from small, locally focussed organisations with little or no regular income to major charities or social enterprises with annual turnovers running into million of pounds.

There is also diversity in the ethos and operating model of organisations from those more traditionally charitable to those with a strong enterprise focus. Voluntary and community organisations adopt a number of structures including charities, companies limited by guarantee and trusts.

While the voluntary and community sector is diverse, all organisations in the sector share a number of characteristics which distinguish them from both the public and private sectors. These defining characteristics are:

  • Independence from statutory agencies;
  • Managed by a voluntary committee or board;
  • Established for public or mutual benefit;
  • Non profit distributing

Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations' Council (EVOC) is the umbrella organisation which helps to support, develop and promote the interests and work of voluntary and community organisations in Edinburgh.

How is the voluntary sector represented on the Neighbourhood Partnerships?

EVOC supports the local service-delivering voluntary sector in to be involved in the Neighbourhood Partnerships by setting up local forums or networks in each area. The Forums and Networks are accessible and inclusive, and operate as an effective voice for the local Voluntary Sector, and as a route into the local Community Planning structures.

Voluntary Sector Representatives are elected through the local forums or networks to represent the sector on their respective NPs. All properly constituted voluntary organisations delivering a service within the boundaries of a NP are eligible to participate in Voluntary Sector elections, unless they already have alternative representational routes into the NP Board.

The primary function of each NP is to improve local service delivery through partnership working. It is recognized that the Voluntary Sector is a significant deliverer of services to local communities, and is often best placed to deliver critical services to those most in need. Bearing this in mind, the key task of a Voluntary Sector Representative is to bring the skills, experience and ethos of the local Voluntary Sector to partnership working generally and particularly to service design and delivery. Hence, role of the Voluntary Sector Representative is to ensure that the local Voluntary Sector point of view is effectively articulated within the all community planning structures.

For more information on how to engage with your local Voluntary Sector forum or network please contact;

Kate Kasprowicz
14 Ashley Place
Edinburgh EH6 5PX
Tel 0131 555 9100


EVOC website


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