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about us

our history

We have been helping all sorts of people in Edinburgh find volunteering for over 45 years

Back in the early 1970’s Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council opened a new “Volunteer Job Shop” to help people interested in volunteering find opportunities. This was one of the very first in the UK.

Forty years later that little project has evolved from “Job Shop” via “Volunteer Exchange” and is today Volunteer Edinburgh, an independent company since 2000 and today employing around 20 staff and directly engaging nearly 200 volunteers. Over the years we have always been at the vanguard of the development of services to volunteers… here are some of our highlights!

1973

Volunteer Bureau was established in the ECSS office at Ainslie House.

1975

Volunteer Job Shop (VJS) opens in Abbeyhill to provide “shop front” access to volunteering for the public. UK’s first “Volunteer Job Shop’’. Director of The Volunteer Centre in London says at the time:

“Now I believe is the time for an imaginative step…we should like to see the development of a national network of community job shops…”

1977

VJS relocated to Dalry Road and re-branded as Edinburgh Volunteer Exchange (EVE).

1984

We became the first UK Volunteer Centre to launch a dedicated Mental Health project.

Click here to find out more about our Health and Wellbeing service.

1990

We started a project to place people with physical disabilities into volunteering opportunities.

1994

We were the first Scottish Volunteer Centre to launch a project (in partnership with IBM and Volunteer Development Scotland) to help private sector companies to develop Corporate Social Responsibility through Employer Supported Volunteering.

1996

EVE receives matched funding from the Scottish Office and moves to much larger premises at 77-79 Easter Road.

It became the first Volunteer Centre to launch a dedicated project (Engage) to promote volunteering by 50+ volunteers.

1998

We hosted the first major Volunteer Recruitment Fair at Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms, this event grows rapidly to become the largest of its type in Scotland.

1999

EVE registers as a separate company and in April of 2000 launches as an independent company.

It launched a dedicated Resource Unit to provide dedicated support and training to volunteer involving organisations in Edinburgh.

2002

EVE re-brands as Volunteer Centre Edinburgh (VCE) adopting the common national branding of Scotland’s 32 Volunteer Centre’s.

It was the first Volunteer Centre to offer all its opportunities online and its newly launched website wins a national award.

2003

VCE moves to new premises at St Georges West Church.

2006

We were the first Scottish Volunteer Centre to launch a city-wide volunteering strategy Inspiring Volunteering: A Volunteer Strategy for Edinburgh to which all community planning partners sign up.

Click here to read the latest strategy for volunteering Edinburgh.

2008

We established a ground-breaking ‘hub’ for patients and visitors within the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.

Click here to find out more about the Volunteering Hub.

2012

VCE moves into the third floor of 24 Torphichen Street.

The second Edinburgh Volunteering Strategy is launched Inspiring Edinburgh’s Volunteers, Building on Success 2012-2017.

Click here to read the latest strategy for volunteering Edinburgh.

2015

VCE moves again, this time into its very own home at 222 Leith Walk and at the same time changes its brand to Volunteer Edinburgh with a new corporate identity!

We celebrated 30 years of our Health and Wellbeing team’s powerful work to overcome barriers and discrimination which accompany mental illness and disability.

Click here to find out more about our Health and Wellbeing service.