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May 4, 2011

Act, dance, paint, film, knit, carve, play, draw, sing…….

It’s estimated that nearly 20% of Scotland’s voluntary sector is involved in arts and crafts activities with around 2 million people participating in some way. This represents an enormous grassroots cultural resource and it’s about to showcase itself to the rest of the nation.  Scotland’s first ever Voluntary Arts Week kicks off this Friday.  So if you want to be part of it or get involved with something that’s happening near you, this is your chance

Voluntary Arts Scotland is busy making plans for a celebratory Voluntary Arts Week, set to take place from 6 to 14 May 2011. We want to highlight the many wonderful voluntary arts and crafts activities that take place throughout Scotland, and encourage others to join in!

The Voluntary Arts Week will be a great chance to profile your group locally, or even nationally. 2011 is the European Year of Volunteering, so we’ll be tying in with that, as well as our own Make a Splash! programme. So if you’d like to do something different that week, to help encourage people to take part in the arts and crafts, you could apply for between £250 and £2,000 to help you. To find out more go to

More info on Voluntary Arts Week to follow soon. In the meantime, if you’d like to get involved, please drop us an email to with ‘Voluntary Arts Week’ as the subject to register your interest.

Why take part?

Research has shown that taking part in arts and crafts activity can bring about better physical and mental health, teach people transferable skills, reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, bring generations and communities together – and most importantly of all, it’s a great way to have fun!

So if you’ve already discovered this, don’t keep it to yourself – let others know just how great participation in the arts and crafts can be!

If you’re part of a cultural group, this is a great chance to raise your profile and let others know what you do. An article in your local paper announcing your involvement with Voluntary Arts Week could attract new members and audiences. It’s also a great way to let potential funders know you’re there – and that what you do is worthwhile.

More than anything, it’s a chance to be part of something bigger,  to enjoy yourselves and potentially bring enjoyment to others.

How to get involved

This is the first ever Voluntary Arts Week, and we hope to make it bigger and better each year – with a view to eventually involving the rest of the UK. In the meantime, here are just some ways groups in Scotland could get involved:

• Hold a taster session
• Open up your usual weekly meeting / rehearsal to members of the public and encourage your members to ‘bring a friend’
• Run a special workshop on a particular craft or performing art
• Hold a music session in a pub
• Put on a special performance, with a pre-show talk about what you do
• Go to another location to let people know about you (e.g. arrange a ‘flash mob’ singing event in a local shopping centre or railway station, put on a dance display in the town centre, set up a ‘have a go’ craft stall in your local library)
• Hold an exhibition with hands-on opportunities for those visiting

Or whatever works for you!

If you’ve come up with something different, please let us know and we’ll add it to the above list. Email with your good ideas!

We’ll be holding a Voluntary Arts Week Celebration Event in the centre of Edinburgh on Saturday 7 May, and we’re looking for as many groups as possible to join us either on the performance stage or in the craft tent. If you’d like to get involved, then email: or telephone 0131 225 7355

Why not use yourVoluntary Arts Week Event as a chance to try out something new?  It could inspire you to think even bigger and apply for Make a Splash! funding of £250-£2,000 to increase participation in your group longer term.  Click here to read more about it.