SCOTLAND'S first ever Festival of Volunteering will take place in Stirling this week in a bid to boost the number of local people donating their time to good causes.

The festival, from September 21 to 26, aims to see over half of the community enjoying active volunteering within three years and for Stirling to become Scotland’s first volunteering city.

Festival director Rob Rae of Volunteer Scotland said: "The people of Stirling already do a massive amount of voluntary work, with over a third currently volunteering. 

"But we know far more people want to volunteer and the festival will highlight the many ways to get involved. We want to show how flexible volunteering can be, there really is something for everyone. 

"The festival is being piloted in Stirling, but we intend to roll it out across the country and encourage even more Scots to volunteer."

Organised by Volunteer Scotland in conjunction with eight local partners, the festival will see ten events taking place across the city in just six days. 

The line-up includes an awards ceremony where Stirling’s volunteer of the year will be crowned, community crowd-funding event Stirling Soup, a networking event for volunteers, a conference for volunteer managers and a volunteer story exhibition at Historic Environment Scotland’s Engine Shed.

Family highlights include a cycle treasure hunt led by Recyke-a-bike and a volunteering family fun day at King’s Park on Saturday, September 23.

The festival marks the culmination of a six-month campaign, which saw a series of local groups and charities take over a pop-up shop in Stirling’s town centre where they could promote their volunteering opportunities.

A funding pot of £2000 was also divided among ten local groups with an idea to improve their community. One of the successful projects included setting up a weekly memory café for people living with dementia and their families.

The café will be officially launched at Dunblane’s Braeport Centre on Wednesday, September 20, a day ahead of World Alzheimer's Day.

Organiser Breda Seaman said: "We want the café to bring together different generations and give young people the chance to support older people living with dementia in the community. 

"Local school pupils will be baking their ‘granny’s favourite’ cakes using ingredients paid for by the grant and donating these to the café.

 "We’re also looking at creating a recipe book of the cakes to raise further funds for the café to keep it going. I hope the café will become a long-lasting legacy of the volunteer festival."