STIRLING’S bid to become the European Volunteering Capital 2020 received the fresh backing of a local politician.

MSP Bruce Crawford hopes the city will become the first Scottish location to hold the title after meeting with Natalie Masterson, chief executive of Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise and with George Thomson, chief executive of Volunteer Scotland.

The competition for the title is run by the European Volunteer Centre and recognises regions with outstanding volunteer support.

Previous winners include Barcelona, Lisbon and London.

The MSP said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Stirling. Volunteers in this area provide a highly valuable service to local communities and this dedication should be recognised.

“Having met with George and Natalie to discuss this bid in detail, I am impressed with the vision that Volunteer Scotland and Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise have for promoting our local area’s community spirit and volunteering opportunities.

“The organisations who have partnered up to take forward the bid are doing a fantastic job, and I stand ready to help in any way I can to promote the work of our local volunteering sector.”

Natalie Masterson added: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the response so far.

“It’s great to see such strong support from local businesses, charities and voluntary organisations as well as the Scottish Government.

“We want people to get behind the bid for the real benefits it will bring to Stirling. The competition is more than about winning a prestigious title.

“As well as seeing a growth in volunteering, previous winners have attracted increased funding and resources for the training and development of volunteers, have built international partnerships for the sharing of best practice and have seen improvements to the health and well-being of their citizens.”