Celebrating 10 Years of OSCR

Charities at Work

View a selection of examples that illustrate the diversity and impact of Scotland's charities.

David Robb

David Robb, Chief Executive

We're keen to highlight the work of Scotland's charities, to provide the public with an illustration of the sector's impact and diversity. We believe that the charities below give a snapshot of the sector. The wording, while summarised by us, has been supplied by each charity to explain its activities.

We aim to build a library of examples that together show the role of charities in Scottish life, whether at national or local level, and in doing so demonstrate why regulation matters. If you have a local charity that you'd like to recommend, feel free to email us at: info@oscr.org.uk.

Down's Syndrome Scotland is celebrating its 30th year of providing services, support and information to people with Down's syndrome, their families and professionals, helping people with Down's syndrome to reach their full potential.
The charity's Family Support Service provides home visits to families, training to teachers, coaches and carers, and support and information through telephone, email and social media. The new Down's Syndrome Sports initiative provides dance, football, gymnastics, karate, swimming and tennis to children and adults with Down's syndrome. The charity also offers a Parent Contact Service which provides parent mentors to families who need information and support on issues from schooling to independent living. Its Big Lottery-funded Making Your Way Through Life Project works with young people and adults to build confidence, and offers a person-centred planning programme to develops their goals for the future.

The image on the OSCR website (photograph Graham Miller) shows the Down's Syndrome Sports Football programme, which provides an opportunity for young people to learn football skills in a supportive and encouraging environment. This runs in partnership with the Celtic Foundation and emphasises the importance of a healthy lifestyle as well as building friendships. Down's Syndrome Scotland aims to continue building the programme and work with partners to see the initiative grow across Scotland.

Find out more at the charity's website: http://www.dsscotland.org.uk/

Read the charity's entry in the Scottish Charity Register.

Based in Livingston, Firefly Arts offers theatre skills, film and drama activity for children and young people across West Lothian, providing quality and equitable arts activity that builds confidence, social and creative skills. The charity is keen to meet new people, develop new creative partnerships, and make a significant difference for communities by generating greater arts opportunities for young people in Scotland.

Its experienced and enthusiastic staff deliver a range of activity throughout the year, including the Firefly Workshop Programme, aimed at five to 18 year olds, which develops drama, performance and film skills in weekly sessions across West Lothian. The Firefly Collective, aimed at over-16s, delivers weekly workshops and performance skills for adults with support needs while the Firefly School provides Outreach community projects for 5 to 25 year olds, exploring specific themes and topics.

The Firefly Youth Theatre, which features on the OSCR website (photograph Sinclair MacKenzie) offers 14 to 25 year olds the chance to shine, developing skills and experience in writing, production and performance. The charity also runs a Friends of Firefly scheme with three categories of support available and all funds raised used directly for community projects - in particular workshops for young adults with learning and physical disabilities; projects for young carers; and theatre development work with young people who are deaf, or have sensory or communication difficulties.

Find out more at the charity's website: http://firefly-arts.co.uk/

Read the charity's entry in the Scottish Charity Register.

Set up in 2007, Pet Blood Bank UK is the first and only charity of its kind that provides a canine blood bank service for all veterinary practitioners across the UK.

Operating just like the human blood service, Pet Blood Bank UK collects from volunteer 'doggy donors' at organised collection sessions nationwide, on average three sessions a week. The blood is then processed into packed red blood cells and fresh plasma, and delivered to veterinary practices when needed. Over 4,000 canine donors are registered, each donating up to four times a year.

The charity's website allows you to search for the next collection session in your area. In addition, the charity delivers lectures on blood banking and basic transfusion medicine with educational workshops held at veterinary conferences, universities and vets' practices. The charity also has an ongoing research programme into the welfare aspects of, and the science behind, the production and clinical use of blood products.

Every unit of blood collected can help to save four dogs' lives, saving thousands of canine lives every year.

Find out more at the charity's website: http://www.petbloodbankuk.org/

Read the charity's entry in the Scottish Charity Register.

Glasgow Life is the operating name of Culture and Sport Glasgow, a charity that seeks to enrich the lives of the citizens of Glasgow and beyond through engagement in sporting and cultural activities. It does this by providing sports centres, events, music venues, libraries, museums, classes, theatres and community facilities city wide.

Across Glasgow, the charity provides services to make a difference to the lives of the local community. In the last year, Glasgow Life saw a record 16.8 million individual attendances or uses of its services - up 2.3 million from the previous year. In its first year, the Riverside Museum exceeded all expectations, recording 1.6 million visits and winning a raft of national and international awards.

Find out more at the charity's website: http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/about-us/Pages/home.aspx

Read the charity's entry in the Scottish Charity Register.

The Lifeboat Fund was founded in 1866 and is an official charity of the Civil Service, with support from employees and former staff of the Royal Mail and British Telecom. The Fund's sole aim is to support the work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

The charity benefits from donations given by serving and retired employees, and from legacies. Civil servants the length and breadth of the UK organise fundraising collections, hold raffles and coffee mornings, and carry out sponsored activities to support and promote the RNLI's life-saving work.

The Fund is the single largest regular contributor to the RNLI, which is run wholly on voluntary donations and legacies. Since it began, the Fund has bought 52 lifeboats for the RNLI, which have together saved over 4,700 lives.

The total gifted by The Fund to the RNLI in 2011 was £200,000, helping to train and equip the volunteer lifeboat crews. Its 2012 Appeal spread the benefit of its fundraising - buying new lifejackets, training lifeguards and maintaining boats it has purchased. In 2013, the appeal seeks to purchase a full kit for a crew member at every lifeboat station in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The number of lifeboat launches has more than doubled in the last 10 years, with 2011 proving to be the RNLI's second busiest year ever - for launches, for the time crews spent at sea and for lifeguard activity. The Lifeboat Fund's lifeboats were used to rescue more than 140 people, five of whom owe their lives to the brave volunteers who crew these boats.

Find out more at the charity's website: http://www.thelifeboatfund.org.uk/

Read the charity's entry in the Scottish Charity Register.

Carr Gomm has over 10 years' experience of providing services to people with a wide range of support needs. Its philosophy of support is based on the view that we all, as human beings, have a lot to contribute to each other and to wider society. Its vision is that we should all live in a society where everyone has the support they need to make choices and control their lives as citizens.

The charity provides support at home or through its services. The support provided can be long term or short term, for recovery or for respite. People discuss their particular needs are and the charity works with them to make a difference.

The charity supports its beneficiaries as members of a wider grouping of family, friends and community with its work supporting the strength of this network and encouraging its place in people's lives. The charity aims to do this through co-operation and inclusion and in developing opportunities.

Find out more at the charity's website: http://www.carrgomm.org/

Read the charity's entry in the Scottish Charity Register.

The Meningitis Research Foundation believes that scientific research holds the key to the vision of a world free from meningitis and septicaemia. Since its foundation in 1989, MRF has awarded 137 research grants leading to many advances in the prevention, detection and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia. The total value of its investment in scientific research is over £17 million, with 17 projects currently in its research programme.

With 3,400 cases of meningitis and septicaemia each year in the UK, on average, every day nine people are affected, of whom one will die and two more will be left with life long disabilities. While meningitis can affect anyone, the majority of those affected are young children and teenagers, with meningitis the biggest killer of children from disease in the UK.

MRF also runs awareness programmes for the general public and health professionals, reflecting the best current understanding of meningitis and septicaemia and distributing millions of life-saving symptoms cards, leaflets, and posters to the general public and health professionals, free of charge.

The charity has a membership of over 15,000 active individual members and supporters in the UK, whose personal experience informs all aspects of MRF's work. The charity operates Meningitis Awareness Week, which this year runs from 17 to 23 September, and aims to increase awareness of symptoms and the need to seek early help. Information and iPhone apps are available at MRF's website.

Find out more at the charity's website: http://www.meningitis.org/

Read the charity's entry in the Scottish Charity Register.

The Bread Maker has been running its award-winning coffee house and artisan bakery on Aberdeen's Rosemount Viaduct since 2006, providing training and employment opportunities to adults with learning disabilities who may otherwise be excluded from mainstream society. This commercially focused social enterprise produces high quality breads and confectionery, providing employment, training, educational opportunities and social activities to its beneficiaries.
The ethos of The Bread Maker is to fully support its apprentices, enabling them to work holistically and innovatively. This approach offers a stimulating and positive experience for each individual, recognising their contribution and input as a valued team player.

The charity's apprentice scheme provides a range of work experience and job opportunities. In addition, apprentices are supported in fully participating in the life of the City, engaging in a range of social activities and learning opportunities beyond their work roles. A continuous Personal Development programme gives an opportunity for everyone to maximise their own potential to become a fully active member of society valued for their abilities, skills and experience.

Find out more at the charity's website: http://www.thebreadmaker.org.uk/

Read the charity's entry in the Scottish Charity Register.

Scotland's variety of wildlife species and habitats is outstanding - from golden eagles to otters, red squirrels to wintering geese and huge seabird colonies - all set among rugged mountains, moorland, ancient Caledonian pine forests and miles of coastline. RSPB's work in Scotland helps protect them all.

The charity manages an extensive network of nature reserves across the country, working to protect rare species and habitats for future generations. It bases its work on sound scientific understanding, ensuring its policies and partnerships deliver for wildlife and biodiversity. Volunteers are an essential part of RSPB Scotland, at the heart of what it does and achieves.

Find out more at the charity's website: http://www.rspb.org.uk/scotland/

Read the charity's entry in the Scottish Charity Register.

The Scottish Pre-school Play Association (SPPA) provides direct support services to community-led childcare groups across the country. It is Scotland's largest voluntary sector provider of such services.

Member groups have access to support such as specially negotiated insurance cover; guidance publications setting out good practice for administration and governance; and resources for play and development.

SPPA delivers support and guidance to providers of pre-school education and childcare services. These include:

• all-day care groups
• playgroups
• parent and toddler groups
• under-fives groups.

Member groups of the SPPA operate throughout mainland Scotland and the Islands. The charity has over forty years' experience of working with children and families, covering many of the most disadvantaged groups in Scotland. These include:

• families on low income
• ethnic minority families
• lone parent families
• families affected by social or rural isolation.

SPPA works closely with parents, early years providers, public bodies, and childcare partnerships to support early education and childcare provision. The charity represents the interests of voluntary sector community based provision, giving input to national and local policy consultations and working groups. The SPPA's National Early Years Conference is being held this year at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow on Thursday 4 October.

Find out more from the SPPA website: http://www.sppa.org.uk/

Read the charity's entry in the Scottish Charity Register.

The Army Cadet Force Association (ACFA) is dedicated to promoting the ideals and activities of the Army Cadet Force (ACF), one of the country's largest youth organisations and which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2010.
The ACF provides fun, friendship, action and adventure for 5,000 cadets across Scotland. Sponsored by the British Army, it aims to inspire young people to achieve success in life with a spirit of service to the Queen, their country and their local community, and developing the qualities of good citizenship.

The organisation welcomes boys and girls of all abilities and backgrounds between 12 and 18 years of age. Through a range of exciting, challenging, educational and adventure activities, cadets are developed physically, mentally and socially. Some activities have a military theme and others a community focus, together promoting fun and friendship and helping cadets prepare for success in their chosen path in life, whatever this might be.

A particular focus, particularly in North East Scotland, is ACF piping and drumming, with the organisation recently achieving Scottish Qualifications Authority accreditation for its training.

Find out more here: http://armycadets.com/about-us/

Read the charity's entry in the Scottish Charity Register.

The Aigas Trust is based in Beauly, near Inverness. It was established in 1980 by conservationist and author Sir John Lister-Kaye with the aim of providing educational opportunities to learn about, and be inspired by, the natural world.

While the Aigas Trust offers learning opportunities for all age groups, it has a particular focus on young people as the key to a safe and sustainable future. Every year the charity engages with over 4,000 young people through its education programmes, helping them to connect with their natural heritage by immersing them in nature and encouraging them to understand, enjoy and care for the environment.

The Aigas Trust also runs a highly successful Ranger Training Programme which provides natural science graduates with a comprehensive workplace learning programme. This successful initiative has seen many participants taking up employment in conservation and education.

Find out more at the charity's website: www.naturedays.org.uk

Read the charity's entry in the Scottish Charity Register.