Volunteers’ Week celebrations across the Islands

The Volunteer Centre Western Isles took the opportunity to raise the profile of volunteering achievement during Volunteers’ Week by holding Volunteer Awards ceremonies in Stornoway, Benbecula and Castlebay.

Now in its 30th year, and marked throughout Britain from 1st to 7th June each year, Volunteers’ Week encourages organisations to recognise, recruit and reward their volunteers.

Nominees for the awards came from many organisations in the Western Isles, bringing friends and family to join in the celebrations of volunteering and recognition of some of the excellent volunteers in our community.

Volunteers of all ages were presented with awards or certificates and given public recognition for their efforts.

The Volunteer Centre was pleased to present its new awards - Callanish Youth Award for volunteers under 12; the Kisimul Award recognising the impact made by adult volunteers over 26 and the Clisham Award for outstanding achievement made by exceptional volunteers. (All of these local awards are available for nomination throughout the year.)

Three main Awards were presented by the VC, with outstanding nominations to each category. Winners of the main awards were as follows:

Lewis and Harris: Organisation of the Year - Alzheimer Scotland (Lewis and Harris Branch) - Runner Up Tarbert Church of Scotland Bus Drivers; Young Volunteer of the Year – Megan Shaw (Alzheimer Scotland) - Runner Up Cameron Macdonald; Volunteer of the Year – Flora Matheson (Citizens Advice Bureau and others) - Runner Up Kathleen Duce (Rionnagan Og).

Uist : Organisation of the Year - Taigh Sgire Sholais - Runner Up Benbecula Taigh Ceilidh; Young Volunteer of the Year - Shona MacKay (various community organisations) - Runner Up: Darren Beaton (Oasis Junior Youth Club and others); Volunteer of the Year - John MacDonald, (Taigh Chearsabhagh and others) - Runner Up: Angus MacPhail (Sgioba Drama Uibhist and others).

Barra: Organisation of the Year - Bùth Bharraigh Community Shop

Young Volunteer of the Year - Grace MacArthur (various community organisations); Volunteer of the Year - Angie Foster (Buth Bharraigh, Garadh a Bhagh a Tuath and others)

Harris Mutual Improvement Association and Bùth Bharraigh Community Shop were both given the WAVE Award for their organisation good practice.

Young volunteers at the Lewis and Harris event were also presented with their Saltire Awards, the national Scottish youth awards for volunteering give to young people between 16 -24. Alasdair MacDonald, North Uist Agricultural Society and Bill Armour, East Camp Horticultural Project were both presented with Clisham Awards.

Kirsty Macdonald, joint manager, said: “Once again we have been delighted to take the lead in recognising some of the amazing volunteers and organisations in the Western Isles.

“The ceremony for Lewis and Harris was held on Wednesday 4th June in the foyer of Lews Castle College, and was attended by around 80 people.

“Brendan Graham was the youngest person to receive a Callanish Award for helping out at the retirement centre along with others - and is probably the youngest volunteer the retirement centre has had, at four years old!

“A special presentation was also made to Ishbel Macleod who has been volunteering with Save the Children for over 30 years: she was the first person to be presented with the new Clisham Award.

“Our celebrations continued later in the week in the southern isles, all with a sense of awe at the remarkable contributions made by volunteers in our communities.

“We are very grateful to our supporters for their contributions of venues, finance and donations for the ceremonies. Many thanks – we couldn’t do this without such strong community support.”