Creative cultural activity encompasses the activities of traditional amateur arts and crafts groups as well as wider (and emerging) definitions of the arts within differing cultures, new forms of digital creativity and other areas of cultural creativity, such as those practised in gardens, kitchens and workshops. It also emphasises culture as a process and includes a sense of active involvement.
Voluntary Arts recognises the important contribution that creative cultural activity makes to individual and collective wellbeing. It encourages civic participation, develops learning, improves health and contributes to the enrichment of lives. Voluntary Arts believes that, rather than starting from a deficit model that suggests not enough people are taking part in a prescribed range of arts and cultural activities, it is important to support the broad engagement of people in their communities’ creative lives, and on their own terms.
Understanding of how benefits accrue in creative cultural activity from the individual to the collective underpins our approach as does the understanding of how creative cultural activity behaves as an ecology. We seek to support peoples’ creative lives as well as community needs and societal outcomes by playing our part in a broader enabling framework.
The work of Voluntary Arts can be categorised as follows:
  • Connect – alliances, partnerships, networking, brokering
  • Influence – lobbying, advocacy, representation, consultation, research
  • Develop – information, advice, training
Voluntary Arts works actively across the UK and Republic of Ireland and connects beyond these islands to other national networks which champion creative cultural activity. That gives us a unique perspective at international, national and local levels.
We believe in thinking globally and connecting locally and although we are able to act nationally and internationally and do, we understand that most creative cultural activity is experienced locally.
This informs our approach to the national initiatives we undertake: it is important that these initiatives both create a national profile and happen locally with activities organised by creative citizens. We make connections between local and national by identifying inspirational stories that we can share, bringing people together and building our knowledge of where and how creative cultural activities happen.


Voluntary Arts uses the Podio project management tool to manage our contacts across the creative, cultural population and sync these across devices.

Podio provide sponsorship offers for nonprofits, start-ups and students.

ScotlandVoluntary Arts Scotland is a signatory of Scotland's Digital Participation Charter, an initiative of SCVO with support from the Scottish Government. The charter asks organisations to sign up to five key pledges around digital skills, support and participation.

Voluntary Arts works with a diverse range of partners and networks to build a more creative society.

Get Creative

The Get Creative campaign involves a range of partners promoting everyday creative participation. Voluntary Arts is a founding member of the campaign and sits on the steering committee of Get Creative.

64 Million Artists

64 Million Artists campaign to unlock the potential of everyone in the UK through creativity. Voluntary Arts and 64 Million Artists are working together on lobbying and advocacy work to influence public policy.

Family Arts Campaign

Family Arts Campaign is a large scale, national collaborative programme led by the visual and performing arts sectors to increase levels of arts engagement by families. Voluntary Arts is a member of the Project Board and supports the Family Arts Standards.

Arts Development UK

Arts Development UK is a professional association, with a membership drawn from local authorities and those working in the creative industries sector in England and Wales. Voluntary Arts is a partner of Arts Development UK and collaborate on promotion of resources and the Our Cultural Commons initiative.

Cinema For All

Cinema For All is the national support and development organisation for community-led cinema: community cinemas, film clubs and societies. Voluntary Arts Scotland is running the Grow Your Own Cinema project in collaboration with Cinema For All.

Making Music

Making Music is the UK’s number one organisation for amateur music, with a membership of over 3,000 groups representing around 170,000 music makers across the UK. Voluntary Arts shares resources with Making Music members and collaborate on training and networking events.

Fun Palaces Scotland

Voluntary Arts Scotland is hosting Fun Palaces' Scotland Ambassador, Lewis Hou for the next three years. He'll be working with communities across Scotland to promote Fun Palaces' ethos of 'Everyone an Artist, Everyone a Scientist. Find out more about Lewis' residency here.