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 (DSS) is a parent led charity which was established in 1982. They are the only charity in Scotland dedicated solely to supporting people with Down's syndrome (Ds) and their carers and provide "all through life" support nationally across Scotland. They provide 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.

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 aged 5 to 25 years across West Lothian, providing quality and equitable arts activity that builds confidence, aspiration, 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.

The creative industries play a key role in Scotland's economy, and Firefly run training and skills development each month for young people, staff, artists and volunteers. Topics include sound design, voice skills, health & safety, emergency first aid, theatre lighting, physical theatre, dance/movement and autism awareness.

Local youth, family and community organisations play a vital role in helping Firefly engage with children and young people who are socially, economically and geographically marginalised.

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 a charity which delivers services to both citizens and visitors to the city, providing opportunities through culture, sport and learning.

Last year, more than 18 million attendances were recorded at venues, events and festivals - up more than one third since 2007. Some 2,600 staff and 2,200 volunteers deliver services across 160 Glasgow Life venues.

Glasgow Life has responsibility for:

  • Managing nine award-winning civic museums, including Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Riverside Museum and the Burrell Collection as well as the Kelvin Hall;
  • The Glasgow Club - Scotland's largest health and fitness network - including landmarks such as the Emirates Arena and Tollcross International Swimming Centre;
  • The Mitchell Library and 32 Community Libraries, as well as community facilities across the city and a significant learning programme;
  • Programming world-class music in venues such as the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, incredible art and exhibitions at Tramway and a number of cultural events, such as Celtic Connections, the Mela, the World Pipe Band Championships and the Merchant City Festival, among others;
Glasgow Life helped to deliver the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships, Davis Cup ties and the 2015 IPS Swimming World Championships.

Find out more at the charity's website: http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/Pages/default.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. It also receives valuable support from employees 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, run marathons and cake sales etc, and promote The Lifeboat Fund and its beneficiary, the RNLI.


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. It is estimated that 1,000 people die from meningitis and septicaemia every day. Many more are left with life-long disabilities.

The Meningitis Research Foundation have invested over £17m in vital research and health interventions which aid diagnosis. They spend around £1m a year in the UK supporting those affected and providing free information to the public and health care professionals.

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.

Early Years Scotland are committed to providing the very best start in life for every child in Scotland.

Their remit is broad, but with a strong focus on the professionals and families who care for the youngest members of our community.

There are two main strands to the work of early Years Scotland. These are:
  • Membership for Early Learning and Childcare settings
  • Working directly with children and families

Early years Scotland's philosophy centres on the following:
  • Prevention and Early intervention
  • A two-generation approach to shared experiences and learning
  • Practitioners as role models for children and parents
  • Evidence and Assets-Based
  • Support children's early learning and development
  • Emphasis on enriching the Home Learning Environment
  • Inclusive and capacity, capability, confidence building


 Find out more from the Early Years Scotland website: https://earlyyearsscotland.org/ 

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.

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.