Are you involved with a community group, voluntary organisation, charity, sports club, village hall or social enterprise – either as a worker or a volunteer? Then you’re part of the third sector – even if you don’t realise it!
The third sector (sometimes called the voluntary sector) is a diverse range of organisations, including all of the above and more. The sector has a direct impact on the economy of the Scottish Borders, the wellbeing of our people, and improving our public services.
There is a misconception that those who work in the sector are all volunteers. Not so. Although the sector relies heavily on dedicated people who give their time free as a volunteer, lots of organisations have paid staff.
It’s not easy to calculate just how many third sector organisations actually exist in the Scottish Borders, but it is estimated that there are more than 3000 – and they come in all different shapes and sizes. A charity in Scotland is an organisation registered with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) having met the “charity test”.
This means an organisation must have only charitable purposes and must provide public benefit in Scotland or elsewhere. At the time of writing, there were 775 charities listed with The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).
Voluntary organisations are not for profit, non-statutory, autonomous, and run by individuals who do not get paid for running the organisation Social enterprises are businesses that trade for a social and/or environmental purpose.
They make a profit, just like any private sector business. But profits or surpluses are always reinvested into their social and environmental purposes. Social enterprises can be set up in different ways, and some are registered charities and some are not.
The Scottish Borders has seen a big rise in the number of social enterprises in recent years. Whatever the status of your group, if it is clearly part of our third sector, then you can get advice and support from the Scottish Borders Third Sector Partnership – see more info below. PS – if you’re wondering about the first and second sectors – the first sector is business (privately owned and profit driven) and the second is the public sector (owned by the state – local and national government, NHS, etc).
Each local authority area in Scotland has a Third Sector Interface (TSI) to support, promote, develop and represent the sector. The organisations below make up the Borders Third Sector Partnership (the local TSI).
The Bridge is a Council for Voluntary Service and a community development organisation.
It supports community and voluntary organisations and social enterprises by providing capacity building support and practical help on various issues. It informs organisations by providing communication links with partners in both the statutory and third sectors.
Scottish Borders Social Enterprise Chamber is a membership organisation for social enterprises in the Scottish Borders.
It supports the development of social enterprise in three main ways: by acting as a voice for social enterprise; by providing individual support; and by providing general support.
It represents the views of social enterprises.
Berwickshire Association for Voluntary Service (BAVS) is an independent voluntary organisation. It was set up to support, inform, represent and provide services , to community and voluntary groups in the Berwickshire District Area of the Scottish Borders. Its aims include promoting the development of new organisations.
Volunteer Centre Borders aims to develop and promote volunteering for all, improve volunteering opportunities, remove barriers to participation and to monitor the success of volunteering for the Scottish Government. It works in partnership with organisations and projects, to promote good practice, recruit and place volunteers and to raise awareness of volunteering.