Youth Volunteering – Saltire Awards

National Recognition Awards for young people

The Saltire Awards are National Recognition Awards for young people between the ages of 12 and 25 involved in Voluntary Work within Scotland. These awards are delivered locally by TSIs. In addition to gaining the Awards outlined below, young people will also receive Young Scot points to redeem a variety of rewards.

Although the awards are for young people, it’s not just 12 to 25 year olds that need to pay attention to this information. In order for young people to gain their Saltire Awards whilst volunteering at your organisation, your organisation needs to be registered with Saltire. Saltire is also a great tool for teachers – the Awards are designed to encourage and enable youth volunteering and dovetail neatly into the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence; as through their volunteering, students will develop their abilities to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors. The Saltire Journal is an added resource which allows participants to record the skills and learning they have achieved. They are also required to complete a self-evaluation (Footprints), which directly links their responses to Curriculum for Excellence.

The programme is split into four different categories as follows:

Challenges are aimed at one-off opportunities, such as a fundraising coffee morning, a neighbourhood clean up etc. The aim is to give young people an insight into what it’s like to volunteer as part of a group.

The Approach is basically the route into individual volunteering, helping individuals understand what volunteering is, what you can do as a volunteer and how it benefits you as a person. Not only will you learn about all these aspects of Volunteering but you will be rewarded for your efforts too.

The main focus of the Ascent is gaining key skills and experience that are often required to help get a job. All skills and experience gained will be kept in a record to help keep track of personal development and awareness and understanding of how your personal involvement benefits others.

The Ascent encourages volunteers to focus on the following, using an online journal on the Saltire website:

  • Why they want to volunteer?
  • What can they bring to the placement?
  • What they hope to gain from it?
  • Who will benefit and how?

As the name suggests, The Summit is the pinnacle of the Saltire Awards and will only be achieved by those who have not only completed the “Ascent” but have exceeded expectations.

There is a maximum of 12 recipients per year for this award in each local authority area.

Volunteers may be nominated for a “Summit” award by the Organisation(s) they volunteer for, their school, college, university or the Saltire Development Worker. The nominations are then peer assessed by a panel of Saltire Ambassadors who merit the award.

The local Saltire Development Worker (who is not permitted to influence the decision) facilitates the panel.

The Saltire Awards aim to deliver a programme designed for young people by young people. Young people who have achieved the “Ascent” will be invited to become Saltire Ambassadors.

Ambassadors will be involved in the Saltire Awards on every level from promotional and publicity activities through to decision making roles on the Summit Award panel as well as advisory groups and committees. Full training and support for these roles will be provided giving Ambassadors the opportunity to further develop and build their skills.

For more detailed information for young people, parents, teachers, and organisations, please visit

You can also register via the website, or by contacting Louise Orr.


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  • If people want to learn something new, we enable that to happen by giving them the training and skills – and along the way they get good company and a sense of achievement from what they have made
    Archie Scott Committee member, Wee County Crafters
  • I get a lot of satisfaction as an RSVP volunteer and I would recommend getting involved. Volunteering Matters to me because of the impact it can have on our community and making a difference to peoples lives. It gives me the opportunity to keep active and to contribute to my community in retirement.
    Bob Kerr Handyperson, Volunteering Matters
  • Deciding to befriend was undoubtedly one of the best decisions I have ever made - we both get so much out of it. I look forward to spending time with her every week and we are always commenting on how much we have in common! Loneliness is something that can affect anyone at any time, and it is projects like this that are so important in helping to stop it. I would recommend befriending to anyone – even if they are feeling apprehensive like I was – as the benefits to the person you are matched with and yourself are endless
    Katie Wardlaw Befriender, Volunteering Matters
  • It has been a good transition from working full time to volunteering. I had not done anything like this since my children were young as I worked full time for a long time but now I feel I can give something back to the community – and I am really enjoying this role. It is a great fit
    Mary Quigley Mary Quigley, Driver/Group Assistant, The Friendship Club
  • I love the variety of work at Play Alloa – there is always something different going on – answering the phone, preparing for the Christmas fayre, parent information evenings, helping with surgeries and providing information for parents. I have really enjoyed being part of a team – everyone helps and supports each other
    Julie Milligan Administration Volunteer, Play Alloa