Third Sector Interfaces provide support, learning and development opportunities for people and organisations through their programmes of work – whether you want to know more about volunteering; setting up and running a third sector organisation; or using social enterprise as a model to deliver social good; the interface is your local starting point. 

TSI organisations work across core strategic areas of:


Social Enterprise

Sector Support

Empowering & Engaging local voluntary action


Whether you’re an individual wanting to volunteer in your community or an organisation looking to attract volunteers your TSI is your local source of support and advice.

TSIs are key points of support for both volunteers and Volunteer Involving Organisations (VIOs).

Volunteer Dundee are running a ‘Volunteer Outreach Programme’ during summer 2017, encouraging would-be volunteers to come along and find a volunteering opportunity that works for them.

Volunteer Catherine accepts her Shetland Youth Volunteering Award from Tavish Scott MSP

Voluntary Action Shetland are at the centre of youth volunteering in Shetland. Their Youth Development Worker visits all of Shetland’s secondary schools to provide young people with information about volunteering, the Saltire Awards, and volunteering opportunities available in their area. When young people sign up for the Saltire Award scheme through Voluntary Action Shetland, they are supported both with individual and group volunteering and have the opportunity of being nominated for a Shetland Youth Volunteering Award.

Volunteer Midlothian run a quarterly ‘Volunteer Managers’ Forum’ which brings together individuals who coordinate volunteering in local VIOs across Midlothian, giving them an opportunity to share practice and network. Watch our video case study ‘Volunteering Makes Midlothian!’


Social Enterprise

Social enterprise and enterprising third sector organisations are the economic driving force behind our sector locally. TSIs support organisations using social enterprise as a model to deliver social good.

For example, Glasgow Social Enterprise Network (GSEN) is a member of our TSI Network. They offer practical support to social enterprises in Glasgow as part of their wider strategy to develop a vibrant and sustainable social enterprise community in Glasgow. GSEN are one of the three partners that make up Glasgow TSI; TSIs that are made up of partner organisations will have an organisation dedicated to the support and development of local social enterprise. Where TSIs are single entity organisations, this forms a key organisational objective.


Voluntary Action Barra & Vatersay (VABV) runs its own social enterprise, the Guth Bharraidh -‘The Voice of Barra’- a weekly local newsletter with a circulation of around 600. VABV also runs the isle of Barra community transport service, ‘Bus Bharraigh’ providing a vital link for local social enterprises such as the ‘Garadh a Bhagh a Tuath’ – Northbay Community Garden – which relies on Bus Bharraigh to transport its volunteers to and from the garden. Watch our video case study ‘Connecting the Community: Voluntary Action Barra & Vatersay’.

CVS Falkirk have provided help to Stoneywood Care Services, who discovered the range of social enterprise support services that CVS Falkirk could offer at a local Community Care and Health Forum meeting. As a result of this, CVS Falkirk helped Stoneywood Services to create the Stoneywood Community Project CIC (Community Interest Company); a social enterprise which offers work experience for people with learning disabilities. You can read more here.


Sector Support

All types of third sector organisations need support to grow and thrive. TSIs offer advice, support and referrals to specialist agencies on all aspects of organisational development.

Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council (EVOC) offer various training courses and training grants for the benefit of their local sector. For example, they offer a ‘Funding Applications Workshop’ and courses covering different aspects of governance, such as  ‘Trustees Roles and Responsibilities’. You can view EVOC’s current training calendar here.

TSIs also provide local level support on evaluation. Voluntary Action Scotland worked in partnership with Evaluation Support Scotland to deliver a ‘Train the Trainer – Evaluation Support’ session for TSI staff. 

Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire (VANL) and Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire (VASLAN) have used the learning from the ESS session to deliver an evaluation support training course to their local sector in Lanarkshire.


TSIs provide advice and support around applying for funding. The Little Art School is an organisation which runs art classes for the local community across Ayrshire and Glasgow. It began with an idea to run art classes for dementia sufferers as way of helping them reconnect to learning and experiencing new things. It was through the help of Voluntary Action South Ayrshire (VASA) that The Little Art School was able to successfully apply for an Integrated Care Fund grant and to expand its pioneering programme into more communities. Watch our video case study ‘VASA: Supporting Local Third Sector Organisations’.


Empowering & Engaging

The interfaces bring together voices from across the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors and amplify them to local planning and decision makers. TSIs are the connectors and enablers of the local third sector, leading and driving change.

Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire (VASLAN) hold a regular ‘Third Sector Forum’ across the various localities in South Lanarkshire. The Forum is an opportunity for local third sector and community organisations to come together, encouraging creative thinking and ways of working that address local needs and policy. Such forums also present a networking opportunity.

Glasgow Council for the Voluntary SectorFife Voluntary ActionPerth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Services (PKAVS) and TSI North Ayrshire have all been involved in the Scottish Government funded programme delivered by ESS, Threading the Needle, designed to help health and social care commissioners across the four local authority areas to use third sector evidence to commission outcomes for health and social care. As part of Fife Voluntary Action’s role in Threading the Needle, befriending projects in Fife and local authority Link Officers developed a common model and evaluation system so that, together with the health and social care partnership, they could start to explore when and how befriending makes a difference to individuals and to strategic outcomes.

The interfaces also aim to build empowered, resilient communities with a thriving third sector at their heart. Each operates in ways that reflect local circumstance and need, and are responsive to and driven by their third sector locally.