Celebrating 150 years of VSA

Showcasing our history in social care since 1870

As part of marking its 150th anniversary in 2020, VSA was awarded a grant from The National Heritage Lottery fund to deliver a project showcasing the history of social care in Aberdeen since 1870. VSA are incredibly grateful to The National Heritage Lottery fund for supporting this exciting opportunity to showcase social care through the years.

At the heart of the project are 150 stories which were brought together from various archives across the city to explore the heritage of changing definitions of care, the way systems of care were organised and delivered, how understandings of welfare were interpreted historically, who cared for who and how this has changed over the years.

Woven through the rich tapestry of these stories are the threads of humanity’s resilience, courage, hope, compassion and kindness. A lasting legacy of the VSA’s enduring and continued support of vulnerable people living in our communities.

With such a strong focus on community throughout its history, VSA wants to strengthen and preserve this ethos by inviting the people of Aberdeen to play a collaborative role in this project too, through oral history, public art, crafting, performance pieces, developing a walking tour, a schools toolkit and exhibition.

Volunteers have been at the very heart of the VSA’s work since its inception. And this project is no different. Volunteer heritage ambassadors are making this project possible by generously donating their time, expertise and skills. Just as they did so 150 years ago.

VSA Heritage Stamp

“Heritage is so much more than castles and museums. Memories, stories, and reminiscences are an important way of learning about our past and sharing it with future generations. Thanks to players of The National Lottery, the VSA will be able to collect and record this shared history before its slips out of human memory.”

Caroline Clark, Director Scotland of The National Lottery Heritage Fund

150 years of memories to share - see our memories through the years

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Watch the Pride of Aberdeen Play

The Pride of Aberdeen, a narrated play scripted by local playwrite Mike Gibb from our collection of 150 archived stories, explores how VSA came to be founded and the beginnings of its early work.

With special thanks to the National Heritage Lottery Fund; Mike Gibb; Mairi Paton Warren; Carolyn Johnston; Brian McDonald; Michelle Bruce and to the William Syson Foundation for funding this part of the project.


We invited people who’s lives had been touched by the VSA in some way to share their stories. Here you will find interview recordings from people who have been supported by the VSA in many different ways, as well as hearing from those responsible for facilitating these services and the challenges they faced delivering care during a global pandemic.

Jim Allison's Story
Shahnaz and family Story


The VSA reached out to The Deaf Sewing Bee to collaborate on making a quilt to commemorate the 150 year history of the organisation. The tapestry explores milestone moments in the VSA’s history as well as the themes of resilience, hope and support which are woven through all its work.

View the tapestry here


As part of our heritage project we would like you to share your own memories, photos and videos with us here and be part of a unique opportunity to build an online heritage community collection.