Nicola Sturgeon has said Stirling’s bid for the title of European Volunteering Capital 2020 has the full support of the Scottish Government.
The city is competing with Padua in Italy for the title and is planning a year-long festival of volunteering that aims to increase the number of local people who volunteer from the current rate of around a third.
Representatives from Volunteer Scotland, Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise and Stirling Council are travelling to Brussels on Thursday to make their case to the judging panel, with the winner announced in December.
The First Minister said: “Volunteering is one of the greatest expressions of Scotland’s values and of our shared European values.
“It’s at the heart of everything we do as a government – key to our ambition of creating a fairer and more prosperous country with equality of opportunity for all, a country where everyone has the chance to make a difference.
“That is why I am proud and delighted to be adding my endorsement, and the full support of the Scottish Government, to Stirling’s bid for European City of Volunteering 2020.
“We have much to be proud of in our current volunteering practice and much to share with friends across Europe.
“But we are ambitious for the future – for a growth in participation for all, for greater reach and impact and for building a strong body of best practice and policy internationally.”
The bid team have already received the support of former council leader and first minister Jack McConnell, and golfer and Stirling University graduate Catriona Matthew as well as local politicians.
Aarhus in Denmark currently holds the title of European Volunteering Capital, which has previously been won by Barcelona, Lisbon and London.