All posts by Dehra Macdonald

Volunteers’ Week Scotland 1st – 7th June 2021

Volunteers’ Week Scotland 2021

 This year Volunteers’ Week Scotland is being held on the 1st – 7th June. We would like to take this opportunity to say a very big THANK YOU! to all the CLD Volunteers out there.

“During an exceptionally difficult year, people from all corners of the UK have taken the time to volunteer and make a huge difference to people and their communities – just as they do every year.

Volunteers are always active at the heart of every UK community. They are behind many of the services we all rely on. Some have been volunteering online from home, others in person with a local charity or organisation. Their crucial efforts have not stopped, despite the uncertain times we find ourselves in, and will continue as an important part of the nation’s recovery.

That is why on this 37th annual Volunteers’ Week it’s time to say, ‘Thank You Volunteers!’ We want to recognise all of those who have continued delivering vital work as volunteers over the past 12 months but also all those who usually volunteer but have not been able to because of the pandemic.”  (Volunteers’ Week Scotland)

How can YOU become involved in our CLD Volunteers’ Week Campaign?

In this age of social media, and through publications such as ‘What Scotland Learned’ we have been given a small peek into the world of CLD Volunteering, and want to share the impact far and wide. One of the ways we will be doing this is to work in partnership with the CLD Standards Council, and the wider CLD sector to create a #CLDVolunteers2021 Virtual Wave across Scotland. To help us achieve this we ask that you include the #CLDVolunteers2021 to any social media posts during Volunteers’ Week Scotland.

We have also created a Volunteer Virtual Wave Padlet to track the reach of #CLDVolunteers2021. We would encourage you all to also go into the Padlet and track the location of your social media posts and any other Volunteer Thank You events. We’ve included instructions on how to do this in the attached brief ‘How To’ Guide.  Padlet ‘How To’ Guide.docx

If you do not have access to Padlet, then please either tag our team into your social media post, or email with details of the event and we will ensure it’s placed on the map on your behalf.

Whichever option you chose please try to include the following #s




If you are including photos in your Twitter posts remember you can tag in our Education Scotland CLD Team and the CLD Standards Council without using up any of your characters by tagging them in the photos @edscotCLD and @cldstandards. The attached brief ‘How To’ Guide will explain how to do this. Twitter ‘How To’ Guide.docx

We will be posting a daily ‘Meet the Team’ post sharing the Volunteering experiences of some of our Education Scotland CLD colleagues.

The CLD Standards Council are also keen to highlight some of the fabulous work CLD Volunteers they’ve done.  If you know a volunteer you’d like them to showcase with a CLD Volunteer Practitioner Spotlight feature on their website, please email

There are many different ways you can become involved in Volunteers’ Week Scotland 2021. have lots of ideas, and free resources on their website. We can’t wait to celebrate all the work your volunteers do as Team CLD!

Scotland’s Virtual Kiltwalk

Since 2016, Kiltwalk Heroes and the Hunter Foundation have raised almost £20 million for over 2000 Scottish charities. Previously, Kiltwalks were mass participation walking events that raise much-needed funds for Scottish charities and projects. Events were held Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh in Dundee with participants registering for a 6/8 mile ‘wee wander’, 13 mile ‘big stroll’ or 26 mile ‘mighty stride’. Kiltwalkers can raise funds for any charity of their choice and thanks to the generosity of Sir Tom Hunter and The Hunter Foundation, all funds raised will be topped up by 50%.

This year, participants were asked to take part in their own virtual event over the weekend of 23-25 April. They were invited to walk, run, swim, cycle and even boogie their way to raising funds for their chosen charity.

Education Scotland’s CLD Team (and guests) saw the Kiltwalk as an opportunity to not only raise funds for Who Cares? Scotland, it was an invaluable opportunity to engage with colleagues, and feel connected away from screens. On Saturday 24th April, they climbed hills, visited local landmarks, and managed to walk along the banks of The River Clyde and River Tay. They collectively walked over 100,00 kilometres raising money, with Mary Ann’s four legged heroes clocking up over 38,000 steps each!

Who Cares? Scotland believe that Care Experienced people have the potential to change the world. Who Cares? Scotland’s membership is a care experienced community creating belonging and achieving change in Scotland and the world, as part of a movement of Care Experienced people. They do this in a number of ways including:

  • Advocacy for Children and Young People
  • Providing support to Corporate Parents
  • Policy and Research
  • Helpline, counselling service, and life coaching.

The team’s Go fund Me Page will be open until the 3rd May, please support and donate whatever you can. Thank you everyone for your support, see you all next year!

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, met representatives from the learning sector to thank them for their efforts during the pandemic.

The meeting consisted of a representative from, Colleges, Early Years, high schools, primary schools and CLD. Colleagues shared their experiences of working in challenging circumstances caused by Covid-19. Key messages shared were the commitment of education colleagues to supporting learners and students, genuine interest in wellbeing, support and improving the learning experiences whilst constrained due to Covid-19 restrictions. Even though the group worked across very different areas they all agreed that among the challenges there has been a lot to celebrate in the last 12 months in relation to the dedication and commitment of staff.

The CLD representative Jennifer Nicol from East Renfrewshire was asked to share her experiences of facilitating adult learning opportunities in advance of the meeting and she highlighted areas such as prioritising wellbeing, access to resources and information requirements. Jennifer highlighted that many learners face multiple barriers including low levels of language and literacy, digital exclusion and isolation. Learning and support was adapted to be inclusive dependent on learners’ skills, equipment and confidence. Connecting Scotland was highlighted as playing a key role with staff accessing training as Digital Champions whilst offering tremendous support to learners through the provision of equipment, connectivity and learning.

Positive relationships with the community have been strengthened with learning continuing to be offered, including partnerships with local Colleges which have allowed qualifications to be completed during lockdown. CLD staff have been creative, resourceful, enthusiastic and dedicated to maintaining links with the community whilst learning has been a lifeline for so many people during this difficult time.

The First Minister extended her thanks to all CLD services across Scotland and the hope is that more opportunities will take place for education sectors to come together to share experiences and network in the future.

Photo from FM’s Twitter feed.

Summary of CLD Covid Resources now on National Improvement Hub

Education Scotland have developed a Summary of Community Learning and Development (CLD) Covid Recovery Resources page on the National Improvement Hub. This new landing page will collate and highlight Covid-19 guidance, practitioner resources, research and case studies relevant to the CLD sector.

Please get in touch with if there is any information you would like to add to this page.

What Scotland Learned – Inspiring Stories from the South West Region CLD Sector

The COVID-19 pandemic led to the sudden closure of community venues, schools and other learning sites across Scotland. CLD practitioners responded by developing new and flexible ways to deliver key services with, by, and for vulnerable and marginalised learners in schools, colleges and communities. The Scottish Government recognises not only the role of the CLD sector across public and third sector in providing invaluable support to Scotland’s learners and communities during the pandemic, they also recognise that CLD approaches will be key to planning for a full recovery and renewal to active civil society across Scotland.

“The rapid shift in ways of working brought about new and strengthened relationships between school and local authority staff, CLD practitioners and allied professionals. The common goal and shared commitment to identify and target support to the more vulnerable children, young people and families in our communities ensured vital services were available to those who needed them most.”

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills

During the early days of the pandemic, there were many examples of the extraordinary work of CLD practitioners to support learners and communities. Practitioners and volunteers responded in a variety of creative and stimulating ways and What Scotland Learned aims to capture, and celebrate, some of the stories of lockdown learning between March and August 2020.

This post highlights the stories of CLD Practitioners in the South West of Scotland (Dumfries & Galloway, North, South and East Ayrshire). The stories highlighted below have been curated from a selection submitted from practitioners, local authorities, establishments, leaders, parents, learners, partners, volunteers and others. The words are their own and unedited.

CLD ESOL, South Ayrshire

Find out how CLD, South Ayrshire changed their methodology to support learning and sustain learner engagement during lockdown.

Follow the team on Twitter to find out more @CLDSouthAyr


CLD Literacy, South Ayrshire

Find out how CLD, South Ayrshire, delivered literacies support for learners during lockdown.

Follow the team on Twitter to find out more @CLDSouthAyr


Community Learning and Adult Education, North Ayrshire Council

Community Learning and Adult Education delivered 7 Gaelic Language Classes, a Clarsach and a Fiddle class for adult learners during lockdown.

Follow North Ayrshire’s Adult Learning Team on Twitter to find out more @NAAdultLearning


North Ayrshire Council’s Youth Work Team

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, North Ayrshire Councils Youth Work Team were fast in creating a full interactive digital programme under the branding of #DigiDReam. The programme gave the team and partners a platform to engage and work with young people and families throughout lockdown.

Follow them on Twitter to find out more @NAYouthServices


Redburn Community Centre, North Ayrshire

Redburn Community Centre encouraged many of Irvine’s older residents to learn how to use video-meeting technology to help address loneliness and social isolation.

Follow North Ayrshire’s Adult Learning Team on Twitter to find out more @NAAdultLearning


The Usual Place, Dumfries and Galloway

The Usual Place in Dumfries and Galloway enabled trainees to develop their I.T. literacy skills to reduce individual digital exclusion, promote competency and confidence in online learning and reduce social isolation.

Follow them on Twitter to find out more @TheUsual_Place


Vibrant Communities, East Ayrshire

Vibrant Communities engaged learners in weekly music performance sessions on Zoom.

Follow them on Twitter to find out more @VibrantEAC


Vibrant Communities, East Ayrshire

Vibrant Communities distributed learning resources and made weekly phone calls to ensure learning continued throughout lockdown.

Follow them on Twitter to find out more @VibrantEAC


Vibrant Communities, Lifeskills & Inclusion Team, East Ayrshire

Vibrant Communities, Lifeskills & Inclusion Team continued teaching and learning digitally, which has allowed Community ESOL learners to go for their accreditation assessments.

Follow them on Twitter to find out more @VibrantEAC


Youth Work Dumfries and Galloway

Find out how the youth work team in Dumfries and Galloway developed a wide-ranging, creative response to meet the diverse needs of young people through lockdown and the summer.

Follow them on Twitter to find out more @YOUTHWORKDG


Do you have a story to share from the South West Region? Please contact Dehra Macdonald if you do –