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As we settle into 2018, PAS Volunteer CJ Walker recalls some of the highlights from last year.

It’s a new year, and that means that there’s a new set exciting projects, challenges and opportunities on the horizon for us all. But before we put 2017 behind us, we should take a minute to appreciate how great a year it was for PAS, and the fantastic volunteers who made it so.

The time, expertise, and enthusiasm our volunteers invest in PAS is invaluable, and without them, it would be impossible for PAS to run as many projects as we do. Before we go too far into 2018, let’s revisit some of the last year’s highlights.

With the launch of the Bridging the Gap programme in March, our volunteers worked with students at Galashiels Academy, supporting them to explore their place with the Place Standard tool and help develop the tool into the Place Standard app. We encouraged the students to think about their responses to the Place Standard and explore and present what they had learned during the workshop.

PAS volunteers supported the facilitation of charrette workshops and school workshops for Golden Glenrothes, which encouraged the residents of Macedonia, Tanshall and Caskieberran to create a vision of what they wanted their space and community to look like in the future.

Throughout 2017, the Advice Service offered by PAS took on hundreds of new cases. PAS relies on the hard work of specialist volunteers to handle the number of mostly developmental management and domestic enquiries – be they from private individuals, community/resident groups or business start-ups – within 48 hours. The hard work of the volunteers is clearly paying off – over 88% clients commented, after speaking to an advisor, on how they felt more confident in engaging in the planning process in the future.

Volunteers have also supported and delivered a number of talks and presentations on a variety of subjects. We assisted the students of the University of Highlands and Islands in Inverness with understanding the planning requirements of opening a local business, and gave an introduction to planning at the Ordnance Survey AGM, and numerous other activities. This helped introduce people to the principles of planning, and empower them in getting involved with their built environment.

Volunteering has always been at the heart of what PAS does, and we hope to continue this tradition throughout 2018. We are always keen to know how we can support and develop our volunteers, and make your experience with us the best it can be. If you’d like to get in touch, find out more about PAS volunteering, or become a PAS volunteer yourself then please get in touch with Erin, Interns and Volunteer Manager at

CJ Walker