Third Sector Interfaces provide support, learning and development opportunities for people and organisations through their programmes of work.

Each operates in ways that reflect local circumstances and need, and are responsive to and driven by their third sector locally.

Whether you want to know more about volunteering; setting up and running a third sector organisation; or using social enterprise as a model to deliver social good; the interface is your local starting point.

TSI organisations work across core strategic areas of:



Whether you’re an individual wanting to volunteer in your community or an organisation looking to attract volunteers your TSI is your local source of support and advice.

TSIs are key points of support for both volunteers and Volunteer Involving Organisations (VIOs).

CVS Falkirk has supported the Royal Voluntary Service Cafe to expand their volunteering opportunities. They have worked closely with Lorna Stevenson the cafe manager to provide young volunteers with the opportunity to develop their skills and experiences in a busy, friendly environment. “Every volunteer who comes to me through CVS genuinely wants to be here. It’s important to give young people a bit of responsibility”. Lorna’s loved working with CVS Falkirk’s volunteering team. “I’ve often found it more beneficial to find volunteers through CVS than our own website.”

volunteer catherine holds her Shetland volunteering award whilst Tavish Scott MSP for Shetland stands beside her

Volunteer Catherine accepts her Shetland Youth Volunteering Award from Tavish Scott MSP

Voluntary Action Shetland is at the centre of youth volunteering in Shetland. Their Youth Development Worker visits all of Shetland’s secondary schools to provide young people with information about volunteering, the Saltire Awards, and volunteering opportunities available in their area. Young people are supported both with individual and group volunteering and have the opportunity of being nominated for a Shetland Youth Volunteering Award.

Volunteer Midlothian run a quarterly ‘Volunteer Managers’ Forum’ which brings together individuals who coordinate volunteering in local VIOs across Midlothian, giving them an opportunity to share practice and network. Watch our video case study ‘Volunteering Makes Midlothian!’

Volunteer Centre Western Isles hosts drop-in sessions for members of the public who want to get involved in volunteering. One individual visited the Stornoway office and stated that she suffered from severe anxiety and a lack of confidence, but was looking to get into volunteering. The Volunteer Centre offered reassurance, discussed possible options, accompanied her on a visit to the local Foodbank and provided ongoing support. She volunteered with the organisation for over a year and this has enabled her to move her life in a new direction. 


Social Enterprise

Social enterprise and enterprising third sector organisations are the economic driving force behind our sector locally. TSIs support organisations using social enterprise as a model to deliver social good.

Glasgow Social Enterprise Network (GSEN) offers practical support to social enterprises in Glasgow as part of their wider strategy to develop a vibrant and sustainable social enterprise community in Glasgow. GSEN is one of the three partners that make up Glasgow TSI; TSIs that are made up of partner organisations will have an organisation dedicated to the support and development of local social enterprise. Where TSIs are single entity organisations, this forms a key organisational objective.

Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire (VASLan) Social Enterprise start up support has helped local organisation Ruby Rebellion, which works to end the damaging effects of period shame, stigma and poverty through products that educate and empower. New to the sector, Ruby Rebellion were at the beginning of their social enterprise journey and needed a good range of fundamental information, guidance and support on the best way forward for their organisation. VASLan’s approach meant that the organisation could use VASLan’s Organisation Resource Kit to get a head-start on making the right choices for setting up their organisation.

CVS Falkirk has supported Stoneywood Care Services, to set up the Stoneywood Community Project CIC. They wanted to offer work experience to their clients, and realised that the best way would be to do it themselves. However, they were unsure as to how to do so. “CVS Falkirk have always been very helpful. We worked with them a lot on setting up as a CIC, and now we’re getting support with funding applications. hey’re like a one-stop shop. If I have a question, and they don’t know the answer, they know someone who will”. You can read more here.

Sector Support

All types of third sector organisations need support to grow and thrive. TSIs offer advice, support and referrals to specialist agencies on all aspects of organisational development.

Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council (EVOC) offer various training courses and training grants for the benefit of their local sector. For example, they offer a ‘Funding Applications Workshop’ and courses covering different aspects of governance, such as  ‘Trustees Roles and Responsibilities’. You can view EVOC’s current training calendar here.

an elderly man is drawing a picture with a woman guiding his hand

Dementia art class at The Little Art School

TSIs provide advice and support around applying for funding. Voluntary Action South Ayrshire (VASA) helped The Little Art School – an organisation which runs art classes for the local community with a focus on helping dementia sufferers reconnect to learning and experiencing new things -to successfully apply for an Integrated Care Fund grant and to expand its pioneering programme into more communities. Watch our video case study ‘VASA: Supporting Local Third Sector Organisations’.




Voluntary Action Barra & Vatersay (VABV) runs its own social enterprise, the Guth Bharraidh -‘The Voice of Barra’- a weekly local newsletter with a circulation of around 600. VABV also runs the Isle of Barra Community Transport service, providing a vital link for local sector organisations such as the ‘Garadh a Bhagh a Tuath’ – Northbay Community Garden – which relies on Bus Bharraigh to transport its volunteers to and from the garden. Watch our video case study ‘Connecting the Community: Voluntary Action Barra & Vatersay’.

Barra bus drives along road






Bus Bharraigh

Empowering & Engaging

TSIs bring together voices from across the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors and amplify them to local planning and decision makers. TSIs are the connectors and enablers of the local third sector, leading and driving change.

Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire (VASLAN) hold a regular ‘Third Sector Forum’ across the various localities in South Lanarkshire. The Forum is an opportunity for local third sector and community organisations to come together, encouraging creative thinking and ways of working that address local needs and policy. Such forums also present a networking opportunity.

GCVS, Fife Voluntary Action, PKAVS and TSI North Ayrshire have all been involved in the Scottish Government funded programme Threading the Needle, to help health and social care commissioners use third sector evidence to commission outcomes for health and social care. As a result of Fife Voluntary Action’s role, local befriending projects in Fife and Council officers developed a common model and evaluation system so that, together with the health and social care partnership, they could start to explore when and how befriending makes a difference to individuals and to strategic outcomes.

CVS Inverclyde facilitates a number of local third sector networks; all of which contribute into Inverclyde 3rd Sector Forum (I3SF). Thematic networks bring together organisations that work in a similar field, strengthening their ability to work jointly e.g. Children & Young People’s Services. Practitioner Networks help people who do similar jobs within organisations to share knowledge and improve their practice e.g. Chief Officers. Locality Networks support people and organisations to work together to plan services in communities. Action Networks are short-term networks facilitated by CVS specific services and could be better joined up.



TSIs In Focus

Read our case studies showcasing what TSIs do best – building empowered, resilient communities with a thriving third sector at their heart.

Midlothian TSI: Leading the transformation of mental health support for happier and more resilient young people in Midlothian.

In Midlothian the Third Sector Interface is key to strengthening preventative support for youth mental health. Its unique ability to navigate and connect public & third sector organisations has enabled a multi-agency approach; helping partners consider how to get support to young people earlier and strengthening the local third sector role.

You can read more about how Midlothian TSI is strengthening local youth mental health here.

Engage Renfrewshire: Strengthening community led finance to help break the cycle of debt

Engage Renfrewshire, the Third Sector Interface for Renfrewshire, has been leading change at a local level to transform their local Credit Union sector. By employing a Credit Union Officer, Engage Renfrewshire has raised awareness of Credit Unions; connecting them to people and communities and increasing their effectiveness. As a result more people in the most deprived parts of the area now use Credit Unions and have healthier personal finances.

You can read more about how Engage Renfrewshire has been instrumental in strengthening local community finance here.