Voluntary Action Fund


Investing in Social Capital

- a better way of investing in our communities


Our strategic partnership 'Investing in Social Capital'  (IiSC) with the Voluntary Action Fund (VAF) is based on the shared understanding of the inherent value that can be found within our communities.


About the Partnership

SP-VAF ASC square formatWe believe that if communities are supported to identify and realise their own responses to local needs, they can tap into their local assents and strengths to achieve sustainable and lasting benefits even with relatively small amounts of money. Our partnership with VAF can support it in its decision to take a leadership role in grant making based on a social capital approach. Since 2012, ASC works with VAF to build their knowledge and understanding of social capital as a critical community asset.  The aim of the partnership is to help maximise outcomes from grants awarded to the organisations, their communities and immediate beneficiaries. 

VAF has worked closely with ASC to help us develop our impact evaluation software Unlocking Potential (U>P). They have acted as a critical friend to the process ensuring that U>P delivers for funders as well as the organisations that have received grants. 

Keith Wimbles, CEO at VAF said "working with ASC has enabled us to demonstrate and articulate more clearly the impact of public funding in the third sector. Using U>P and the tools it provides has increased VAF's understanding of the role trust, relationships and networks to delivering intended outcomes, within a funding context, which means we are better placed to invest in social capital as a critical resource for well-being in our communities.

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Investing in Social Capital

What we have done so far...

Social Capital Conversations

During 2014 we have jointly hosted a series of Roundtable conversations with a wider group of stakeholders to extend understanding of social capital. The partnership between VAF and ASC was formally launched on Thursday 22 May 2014, at the first of these events entitled 'The Christie Commission and Social Capital' at the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Centre in Edinburgh.

Please access the full report on the Gorbals Conversations on social capital and the co-production of services in the area here

Social Capital Events

As part of our partnership we will be hosting four events at the end of November/ beginning December 2016 in

○ Social Capital Event in Aberdeen, 24th November, 11.00am - 3.00pm at the Copthorne Hotel (Aberdeen)

○ Social Capital Event in Edinburgh, 25th November, 10.00am - 2.00pm at the Serenity Café (Edinburgh)

○ Social Capital Event in Glasgow, 26th November, 10.00am - 2.00pm at the Scottish Youth Theatre (Glasgow)

○ Social Capital Event in Inverness, 1st December, 12.30 - 4.30pm at the Scottish Youth Theatre (Inverness)

If you are interested in joining us please contact Pauline.Dewar@vaf.org.uk





ASC has been working closely with VAF's staff as well as board members providing training to increase and build VAF's knowledge and understanding as an organisation on social capital theory, approaches and practices. This has also included the exploration of possible ways how social capital can be embedded within the organisation leading to social capital being formerly included as a key component into VAF's 2014-2018 strategic plan. The success of working together has let to the partnership being formalised in 2014.

Scottish Government - Learning Network Challenge Fund

The partnership also provides the opportunity to work together on projects and initiatives. Therefore, our organisations successfully applied to the New Learning Network Challenge Fund to the Scottish Government in order to facilitate two events which can be used as a platform to identify and further develop new models of community-led regeneration through a social capital approach.

The two events took place at the beginning of this year in Gorbals in Glasgow. The Gorbals have been identified as one of the sites of 'Thriving Places' and for the events we worked together with the New Gorbals Housing Association which has previously shown interest in using social capital approaches to invest in positive socio-economic change.

Please access the full report on the Gorbals Conversations on social capital and the co-production of services in the area here