Third sector interfaces (TSIs) provide a single point of access for support and advice for the third sector within local areas. There is a total of 32 TSI’s with one situated in each local authority area in Scotland.

TSI’s play an important role in the third sector landscape. They are a key point of intelligence about local third sector organisations and volunteering. They understand the local landscape and how it effects the third sector's ability to contribute to local outcomes and national strategies (such as health and social care, community empowerment). TSI’s are well positioned to identify support needs for local community groups, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and around volunteering. TSIs can identify third sector issues and perspectives that can feed into both local and national policy.

The TSI role is complex, they support people and the general sector as well as member organisations. They provide support across all policy areas and client groups. They must understand both the local and national context. The local sector itself is very diverse with different needs and different perspectives. Whilst this is challenging it does mean that TSIs occupy a unique and important place.

Voluntary Action Shetland (VAS) is Shetland’s Third Sector Interface.

The role and aim of Shetland’s TSI is:

To be a central source of knowledge about:

  • The Third Sector Locally
  • Local and National Policy and how it might affect the Third Sector, communities and citizens
  • How the Third Sector can contribute to those agendas

To be the Voice:

  • Ensuring a strong Third Sector Voice at a Strategic Level within Local Planning Structures and Nationally

To Build Capacity

  • Developing the capacity of volunteering, community groups, voluntary organisations and social enterprise to achieve positive change

To Connect

  • Providing Leadership, vision and co-ordinator to the Local Third Sector to better respond to local priorities, including through partnership and collaboration

What is the Third Sector?

The Scottish third sector encompasses an estimated 45,000 voluntary organisations, of which around half are registered as charities. From small grassroots sports groups to pre-school day care, self-help groups, health and well-being services, culture and arts venues, village halls, housing and major social care providers, the third sector plays a key part across all walks of Scottish life today.

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