Volunteer Community Champion Programme

/Volunteer Community Champion Programme
Volunteer Community Champion Programme2018-02-13T16:05:51+00:00

The Volunteer Community Champion programme is a partnership between Forestry Commission Scotland’s (FCS) Central Scotland Engagement Programme and the Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations (CEMVO). It is designed to develop people who are passionate about getting their communities into the woodlands.

Now in its third year, the one-year VCC programme trains volunteer champions to engage community groups in Central Scotland and help break down barriers to access their local woodlands.

Over the last two years, 16 candidates have completed the programme, all of whom are from protected characteristic backgrounds, covering race, religion and belief, age, disability, sexual orientation and gender. This has resulted in over 1300 individual visits to Scotland’s woodlands.

Nila Joshi, from Edinburgh, has been volunteering in her local community for the past five years, and a participant in year 3 of the Volunteer Community Champion (VCC) programme. Throughout the programme, Nila has attended a variety of training events and workshops, including outdoor first aid, environmental awareness, leadership and bushcraft skills, which have provided her with the skills needed to manage and facilitate local events and woodland activities. Her work was also recognised at the Ethnic Minority Impact Awards 2017, where she was shortlisted for the Volunteer Community Champion award.

Nila said: “The VCC programme has provided me with a platform to promote the message that being in nature can really make a positive difference to our physical and mental health and wellbeing. I currently help run the Positive Future Lunch group for men and women aged 60 plus, where I see first-hand the positive effects being outdoors has on the elderly. The activities we deliver for the group also help build their confidence in exploring Scotland’s woodlands and inspires them to get out more.”

To find out what’s on in the woodlands in your area or to learn more about Forestry Commission Scotland’s Engagement Programme, please visit:


Keeping ahead of COVID-19

CEMVO Scotland is committed to caring for the health and wellbeing of its staff, board members and service users and supporting our vital services by following national guidelines to help prevent the spread of the virus.

On Tuesday 17th of March 2020 we followed government guidelines, introducing social distancing which includes the following:
• All project staff are working from home
• Office enquiries are re-directed to staff remotely
• All training and events are cancelled until further notice
• All travel is suspended
• All face to face meetings will take place over the phone or using other technology
• All board meetings are cancelled until further notice

We understand that our staff provide services that our users rely on and we want that to continue, it will just be delivered differently. What does this mean if you need CEMVO support?
• All staff are contactable through email, phone, social media and our enquiries email
• All staff will contact their clients to talk through their support to you
• We just can’t meet you face to face but can provide support over the phone, using video calling and also email

We will be working like this until Friday 17th of April 2020. At this time, we will review our working arrangements and update our website and social media channels.

If you have an enquiry, need CEMVO support or wish to work with us please do continue to get in touch as our operations are continuing and we will respond to your queries.

For up to date information about us please check our social media channels.