Information Hub

Welcome to the Orkney Information Hub, we are currently working on this section and will be continuously updating the information listed. Please click on the links below for further information:

Coronavirus – guidance, support information and resources

VAO Orkney have compiled a comprehensive list of guidance, support information and resources, please click here to view our dedicated Coronavirus resources page.

Orkney Community Directory

The Orkney Community Directory provides a comprehensive list of community and voluntary groups in Orkney along with other organisations and services that may be of interest to you.

View and Search The Orkney Community Directory

Enhanced Wellbeing in Our Island Communities - Updated June 2020
Enhancing Wellbeing in Our Island Communities
(funded by the Aspiring Communities Fund and led by VAO)

In 2018 VAO in collaboration with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, 7 development trusts and Robert Gordon University commissioned research into community led care in the non linked isles. The research was carried out by Rosie Alexander and the report recommended that the isles communities continue to build and extend existing community services and identify the potential for bringing new services to the isles.

As a result a project has been co-produced with the above partners and Papay Community Council. The islands involved are: Hoy, Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre, Shapinsay, Stronsay and Sandy. The aim of the project is to enhance the wellbeing of older people living on these islands. A project manager and evaluator have been appointed and are employed by VAO. Island wellbeing co-ordinators have been appointed in each island and are managed by each island Development Trust.

The co-ordinators are working hard to produce delivery plans for their individual islands and these plans will be publicly available in the autumn of 2019. Some of the activities already being carried out include organising a dementia friendly workshop on Rousay, providing an outlet for small daily living aids on Hoy and Walls with the support of Selbro, supporting isles initiatives such as setting up Men’s Sheds and looking at ways to encourage the use of existing island assets such as the Healthy Living Centres. They have also provided crucial support to the Community Led Support team to set up workshops in Sanday.

Project Update June 2020

Extending the Reach of the Enhancing Wellbeing In Our Islands Communities Project

The Enhancing Wellbeing Project has been given the opportunity through funding from Aspiring Communities Fund, to continue focussing on the wellbeing of people living in the non-linked islands of Hoy, Shapinsay, Sanday, Stronsay and Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre. This project starting in March 2020 will extend the reach of the original Enhancing Wellbeing in our Island communities (EWOIC) Project, to address other areas of inequality. The existing project team can continue and will develop by building on existing relationships to facilitate solutions to issues of hidden poverty and disadvantage which were emerging during the initial EWOIC project. In their short time in existence the co-ordinator roles have become a safety net to the primary care offered on island. These community-based posts are in a unique position to galvanise local action to find solutions to inequality of access to wellbeing services on the isles.

This funding will enable our unique partnership to progress essential work, and will:-

· Create opportunities for new skills and employment

· Enable the co-production of solutions to the inequalities experienced by individual and groups across the participating islands. Some of these inequalities are already known as they have been highlighted during the EWIOIC project and have yet to be addressed as they were outwith the scope of the initial project.

· Support communities to find their own solution to their own problems

· Demonstrate the significant benefits of early engagement with communities and taking a bottom-up approach

· Have the potential to be a model that can be adapted to address similar problems in other areas

· Demonstrate additionality through the involvement and commitment of several agencies to establish and monitor the chosen solution

· Establish and maintain an innovative partnership between development trusts, HIE, VAO, RGU and Orkney Health and Care which will lay the foundation for sustainable approaches to community challenges

· Build on, or redesign, existing local service provision to provide support to meet local demand and local need and to tackle inequalities in a local context.

· Enable communities to be involved with other partners in planning and delivering services to meet local need

This project aims to deliver significant benefits to island communities. The end result aims to ensure that people are supported to access early interventions thereby reducing the need for statutory interventions. This project will take a holistic, intergenerational approach, which will utilise the full breadth of the community to address issues of inequality, and in particular low income groups, lone parents and workless households.

For more information about the project please contact Harry Johnson, Project Manager on 

Orkney Adult Befriending Service - Facebook Page

The Orkney Adult Befriending Service Facebook page aims to promote healthy active aging in Orkney. We aim to promote events that are happening locally in our community and information that promotes active aging.

To view the Orkney Adult Befriending Service Facebook page please click here

Children and Young People’s Services Directory

The recently updated Children’s Services Directory is proving popular with parents and carers, as well as professionals working with children and families. A comprehensive easy to read booklet, the directory gives details of all the services available to children and young people in Orkney. Contact VAO for your copy of the Directory or view online Childrens_Services_Directory_2

Adult Services Directory

VAO gathered information to produce a printed, Orkney-wide Care Directory with services and activities that are available to older members of our communities.

Have a look through to see all the services available here.

Orkney Health Walks

Your Community, Your Voice Consultation


Have your say and influence the future of your local community

If you live in the West Mainland or in Kirkwall then Voluntary Action Orkney (VAO) wants to hear from you!

The Your Community, Your Voice consultation will be running from the 22nd of February to the 21st of March.

It is an opportunity to help shape your local community by telling us what you really think of where you live. This is to ensure that as many people as possible have a say in planning future services as we recover from COVID 19. We want to know what is currently working well in your community, and what areas you’d like to see some improvement in.

The feedback from this consultation will be used to inform decision making in your local area. We want to make sure that any future work in community planning has the opinions of the local community at its heart and we encourage everyone of all ages to take part!The views gathered will contribute directly to community planning objectives which are a key focus of future activity for the Orkney Partnership.

To take part simply fill in the online survey linked below, it should only take around 15-20 minutes to complete:

The survey is completely anonymous and confidential meaning you can tell us exactly what you think, good or bad! It covers a range of different categories, such as public transport, work and health and wellbeing, to build up a picture of your local area as a whole. Ideally, we’d like to hear your opinion on all of the categories, however you can fill out as much or as little of the survey as you wish. You will be asked to give each category a rating and there will also be a comment box for more detailed feedback if you want to tell us more.

We are running this consultation largely online due to the current COVID 19 restrictions that are in place, however we want to make sure that taking part is as accessible and inclusive as possible. Therefore, you can request a paper copy of the survey with a pre-paid return envelope, by contacting us using the details below. If there are any other accessibility needs that would help you to complete the survey please contact us to let us know and we will do our best to help. The survey can either be filled out by an individual, or you can fill it in as a group.

The results of this consultation will be published in a report and available widely, including on the VAO website. You will have the option at the end of the survey to request a copy of the report to be emailed to you when it is ready. Going forward any issues identified from the results of this consultation will be discussed with communities and with local partners to develop innovative solutions focussed on reducing inequalities and improving your local area for everyone.

If you would like to find out more about the consultation or request a paper copy of the survey then please contact VAOs Community Engagement Worker on: or 01856 872897

This consultation is part of VAOs wider Community Engagement Project, in collaboration with the Orkney Partnership and is funded by Aspiring Communities.

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  • Orkney Community Directory

    View our comprehensive list of community and voluntary groups in Orkney along with other organisations and services that may be of interest to you.


VAO Newsletter

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