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Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.


Some call us the third sector
Some call us the voluntary sector

We are the #EssentialSector

We are village halls, sports clubs, youth clubs, cafes and shops
We are organisations working in housing, health, social care and transport
We are advice services, campaigns to bring about change and so much more...

Our work changes people’s lives for the better, brings communities together, improves policy and contributes to the economy. What we do, and the benefits we bring, are constantly at risk if we do not have the support and funding we need to thrive and survive. So, we're starting a new campaign called #EssentialSector and we want you to get involved.

Let's make some noise to remind everyone how #Essential our work is so it can be protected and nurtured.

We are

46,000+ organisations

1,180,000 volunteers

135,000 staff

Get involved

Applications to become one of eight organisations showcased during the launch of the #EssentialSector campaign later this year have now closed.

The campaign launch will feature short video clips of real people, telling their stories in their own words to paint an inspiring and raw picture of the value and impact of our sector - to show the challenges the sector faces as well as its many achievements.

In addition to heart-warming and informative stories, we are on the hunt for surprising and hard-hitting stories from every corner of Scotland, and from all different shapes and sizes of organisation, to help show the diversity and impact of the sector.

Shortlisted organisations will:

  • Receive training on how to do simple filming using a mobile phone or tablet
  • Be supported to plan out the best way to tell their organisations’ story on film
  • Take their own short films of key people involved with their organisation/activities
  • Own the content they help to create
  • Have their content featured in the launch of #EssentialSector

We will:

  • Organise the training
  • Provide support with story-planning for filming
  • Organise support check-ins during filming
  • Set up channels for peer support amongst the organisations involved
  • Edit the film content into short films to support the #EssentialSector launch

You'll need a few things for the training including a laptop if you're joining by video, a smart phone or tablet for filming, an app called Adobe Premier Rush, headphones, a USB cable, a tripod and mic (if you have them).

Don't worry if you don't have equipment! We'll help as best we can with that.

We want to co-create videos with you, so your organisation gets to learn new skills as well as showcase its work. And we want you to own your video content so that you can use it to keep promoting your work beyond the #EssentialSector campaign.

All your stories are important. It will be hard to choose, but we aim to select a shortlist that shows as diverse a range of the sector as possible – different types and sizes of organisation, in different locations, doing different things and with different stories to tell.

While only eight organisations will be selected to make videos for the campaign launch, every story matters. We will send a campaign toolkit to everyone who applies with support and ideas for sharing your story as part of the campaign.

Applications closed 12pm on 5 May 2023. Thank you you for your applications, we'll be in touch with you soon about the outcome.

Key dates for your diary

29 March 2023Applications open - time to fill in an application form and submit it by 5 May 2023
5 May 2023Application closing date
Week of 15 May 2023We'll confirm the shortlisted organisations - our panel of judges will make the difficult decision on which eight organisations make the shortlist and this is when you will find it out if you have been successful
Week of 19 June 2023Filming training with Media Co-Op
June to September 2023Filming – we’ll work with you to create a final storyboard for your film, then it’s over to you to get filming! We’ll still be there for encouragement and practical support when you need us
End September 2023Filming deadline
September and October 2023SCVO will edit films – we’ll work with your storyboard and film clips to create a short film that brings your organisation’s special story to life
November 2023#EssentialSector campaign launch

Talk to us

Got questions, feedback or need some help? We'd love to hear from you!

Get in touch

#EssentialSector campaign partners