Lord Provost’s Inspiring Volunteer of the Year Award

This special award was first introduced in 2008. Each year since then five Volunteers have been shortlisted by members of iGIVE (a sub group of the Compact Partnership – and the driving force behind the Volunteering Strategy) for the Lord Provost to select his “Inspiring Volunteer of the Year” from.  

Held annually, the Inspiring Volunteering Achievement Awards ceremony is organised by Volunteer Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Compact Partnership as part of Volunteers’ Week which is a national celebration of volunteers and volunteering. The awards are hosted by the Lord Provost and City of Edinburgh Council and the Inspiring Volunteering Achievement Awards 2017 ceremony will be held this year on 7 June.

The awards celebrate the accomplishments of volunteers, and the major economic and social benefits they provide as a result of their voluntary activities. More on this years awards can be found here.

On Tuesday 3 June 2015, the past Lord Provost unveiled a new Honour Board he commissioned which lists previous winners of the Lord Provost’s Inspiring Volunteer of the Year Achievement Award since its inception in 2008. And it is intended to add to it each year as new winners are chosen. This board is displayed in the City Chambers and the previous winners can be found below. More photos of the unveliing can be found on our Facebook page here.

The unveiling was also covered by the local press! You can view the article featured in the Edinburgh Evening News here, and it was also covered by North Edinburgh News here.
 

The Lord Provost’s Inspiring Volunteer of the Year - Roll of Honour

“Each and every one of the names on the Honour Board belong to inspiring individuals whose volunteering efforts have changed people’s lives. Last year’s Inspiring Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Betty Stevenson, Convenor of the Edinburgh Tenants Federation. Betty is a formidable champion of tenants’ rights and she has worked tirelessly for years to make sure their voices are heard. I was delighted that Betty and so many other previous winners could join me for the unveiling today.

“In my role as the city’s Volunteer Ambassador, again and again I see not only how volunteering makes a huge difference to the lives of those it helps but also to those who dedicate their time. By reminding people about Edinburgh’s outstanding volunteers, I hope the Honour Board will help inspire more Edinburgh citizens to start volunteering for the benefit of others.”


Rt. Hon Donald Wilson - Lord Provost of Edinburgh

This year Lily Cook will be added to the Hours Board and you can find out more about Lily's volunteering with Save the Childen on the awards page here.


Inspiring Volunteer of the Year - Honour Board

Please click on an awards year to view details on previous awardees!

2008 Joy Peat Volunteer for RNID and Samaritans

2009 Joan Alexander Citizen Advocate for ‘Partners In Advocacy’
   
2010 Liz Bisset Brownie and Girl Guide, past District Commissioner & Trustee with Girlguiding Edinburgh, Richmond's Hope & Richmond's Café Project
   
2011 Michele Lindsay Classroom Assistant at Access to Industry

2012 Barbara Johnstone Organiser for Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled
   
2013 Alison Drever Volunteer Adviser, Benefits Specialist for Citizen’s Advice Edinburgh Leith Bureau

2014 Betty Stevenson Convenor of Edinburgh Tenants Federation

2015 Malik Masood Chairperson for Scottish Asian Pakistan Foundation / Coordinator for Southside Elderly Club (pictured below with the Rt. Hon Donald Wilson beside the Honour Board)

2016 Shona Black Campaign and Information Assistant, Guide Dogs Scotland

2017 Lily Cook Sales Assistant Volunteer, Save the Children Shop, Dalry Road

 

2016 Shona Black Campaign and Information Assistant, Guide Dogs Scotland

Last year the Lord Provost's Volunteer of the Year was Shona Black, Campaign and Information Assistant, Guide Dogs Scotland.

You can find out why by watching this video:

Shona is a very enthusiastic guide dog owner and brings so much to her role as Engagement and Information Assistant. Shona is very knowledgeable on the workings of guide dogs and as a guide dog owner herself can give first hand experience of visual impairment and using both long cane and a dog.

Part of the role Shona volunteers for is talking to groups of people who have been newly registered as partially sighted or blind. Shona’s knowledge and understanding of having a visual impairment helps her to show and to share her compassion, understanding and knowledge and she is always eager to do this and offer her support.

Shona is a great ambassador for ensuring that people with a visual impairment are given the same opportunities as everyone else and Shona is tireless in campaigning for better conditions.

The Lord Provost with Shona Black

Celebrating Volunteers’ Week - Looking Back - You can view the list of awardees and download the programme for 2016 here.

2015 Malik Masood Chairperson for Scottish Asian Pakistan Foundation / Coordinator for Southside Elderly Club

Last year the Lord Provost's Volunteer of the Year was Malik Masood, Chairperson for Scottish Asian Pakistan Foundation / Coordinator for Southside Elderly Club.

You can find out why by watching this video:

As a founding member and chair of the Scottish Asian Pakistan Foundation and a former director of the Pakistan Society, Malik Masood is a champion for Edinburgh’s Asian community. In addition to this, he also dedicates his spare time to running the Southside Elderly Club, which aims to provide a safe, warm, friendly and welcoming environment to elderly people of Asian Origin.

As well as being among the community activists that founded it, one of great roles Malik Masood played as the Chair of the Foundation was an undertaking to raise awareness of forced marriages, and early on in its history the foundation had no premises or resources so Malik generously hosted meetings at his home.

The foundation grew from concerns that local members of the Pakistani Asian Community were facing exclusion in key areas such as health, housing, education and employment. Evidence from consultations and surveys as well as anecdotal experiences indicated that this community was suffering from high levels of ill health, poverty and unemployment, and the feeling was that situation was likely to become permanent for the next generation unless serious remedial action was taken to tackle the root causes. The foundation works with other organisations taking a multi-agency approach and achieving the broader aims of the community.

Malik also established the Southside Elderly Club to cater for the needs of elderly men and women of varying religious and cultural backgrounds living in South Edinburgh. The organisation’s aim is to remove isolation and loneliness whilst providing a high-quality service that actively promotes a better quality of life for everyone. Over the past 10 years, more than a thousand people have benefited from the facilities.

Malik Masood’s energy, enthusiasm and generally excellent character have endeared him to both his colleagues and to Edinburgh’s wider Asian and Muslim communities. Even after suffering a period of ill health, he remained dedicated and passionate about his work. Under his leadership, both of these organisation have gone from strength to strength, and Malik continues to devote his free time towards the common good of the community and building good community cohesion.

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Lord Provost with Malik Massod 2015 IVYA.jpg

Celebrating Volunteers’ Week - Looking Back - You can view the list of awardees and download the programme for 2015 here.

2014 Betty Stevenson Convenor of Edinburgh Tenants Federation

The Lord Provost's Volunteer of the Year was Betty Stevenson, Convenor of the Edinburgh Tenants Federation.

You can find out why by watching this video:

“As Convenor of ETF Betty, attends meetings throughout the year campaigning and defending the rights of tenants. Through her work with ETF she persuaded the Council that supporting tenants with mental ill health was an important issue and set up the Mental Health Awareness Group - the group has helped over 200 Council staff to be trained in Safe Talk suicide awareness by Choose Life. She is fully aware of the housing issues that affect the city’s tenants and works hard to improve these - expressing tenants’ views directly with the City of Edinburgh Council and influencing policies by organising informal events for tenants to have a say.

Betty has great courage and is never afraid to disagree with anyone if she thinks they are not rising up to the expectations of protecting the most vulnerable. She invests an unbelievable amount of time and effort to 'fight the good fight'.

Betty is an amazing person, constantly inspiring the team with her energy and dedication. She is the captain steering the Edinburgh Tenants Federation ship and she does this work with unbelievable determination, passion and perseverance”.

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2013 Alison Drever Volunteer Adviser, Benefits Specialist for Citizen’s Advice Edinburgh Leith Bureau

In 2013 Alison Drever, a Volunteer Adviser, Benefits Specialist and Case Checker for Citizen’s Advice Edinburgh Leith Bureau was selected by Edinburgh’s Lord Provost and Volunteering Ambassador Donald Wilson as “Inspiring Volunteer of the Year 2013”

Watch this short film about why Alison won the award:

“Alison’s commitment and contribution to Leith CAB and our clients has been exemplary over the last 16 years, not only has Alison been a valued adviser with a particular expertise in benefits, but she has also been our Tribunal representative for our clients in benefits Tribunals. Alison is very organised and methodical, and her skills and knowledge are invaluable to both clients and fellow advisers who frequently consult her on the more complex aspects of benefits, as well our trainee advisers as Alison is also one of our more experienced mentors and helps to train new volunteers in the skills of advising, and she always goes the extra mile to resolve her client’s problems”.

“Alison has been an adviser at Leith CAB since she embarked on her Adviser Training Program, which she completed in May 1997, becoming a fully-fledged volunteer adviser at the bureau. Alison’s commitment and contribution to Leith CAB and our clients has been exemplary over the last 16 years, not only has Alison been a valued adviser with particular expertise in benefits, but she has also been our Tribunal representative for clients in benefits Tribunals.

Alison is very organised and methodical, and her skills and knowledge are invaluable to both clients and fellow advisers who frequently consult her on the more complex aspects of the benefits system. Our trainee advisers also regularly consult Alison as one of our most experienced mentors and she helps train new volunteers in the skills of advising.

Alison has a wealth of experience in Tribunal work - having been an Income Support appeals officer for the DWP before her retirement. She uses this experience to represent clients in both ESA and DLA tribunals when they feel they have been incorrectly assessed. Alison has an excellent success rate in Tribunals, partly owing to the diligent preparation of her submissions prior to the Tribunal, but also because of her ability to accurately assess which clients have a strong enough case to take to Tribunal in the first place.

In addition to her commitment to helping as many clients as possible Alison further contributes to the smooth operation of Leith CAB by ensuring that the advice given is accurate and appropriate.

At Citizens Advice Edinburgh we are looking to increase the role of volunteers in our quality of advice assurance processes and Alison sets an excellent example of how this can be done. Alison’s many roles mean that she volunteers up to three days a week at the Leith CAB either working with clients, preparing Tribunal submissions or case checking, always going the extra mile to resolve their problems and helping them regain control of their lives and finances. Over the years this adds up to an extraordinary contribution to our work”.

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2012 Barbara Johnstone Organiser for Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled

In 2012 Barbara Johnstone, Organiser for Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled was named ‘Inspiring Volunteer of the Year 2012’.

You can see why she deserved this award by watching this short film:

“Barbara Johnstone initially became involved in Riding for the Disabled (RDA) at Gogarburn Hospital, Edinburgh in 1981 where her severely and profoundly disabled daughter attended the special care unit as a day patient. The experience at Gogarburn gave Barbara the idea to develop a brand new RDA group for the children of Barnardos Childrens Home in Balerno 25 years ago.

She has excelled in the development of Ravelrig RDA, facilitating the growth of the group from a muddy field and a family pony, plus a borrowed pony to the current facility.

We now have 10 ponies, pristine equine facilities, and riding sessions are offered to approximately 110 different riders per week, supported by over 70 volunteers. During this time Barbara has continued to provide dedicated support to her own family and she has ensured that the service also benefits the families and carers of the riders. She knows more than most what an hour of relaxation, respite and friendly chat in tranquil surroundings means to the families and carers of disabled people. Her excellence lies in her selfless dedication to the day to day running of the facility that she built from scratch, the assessment and instruction of riders, the support to their families, recruitment of volunteers, maintenance of the facilities, the care of the ponies in all weathers, gardener and the relentless fundraising activities.

Barbara’s voluntary contribution to the RDA charity has impacted on many lives – from the disabled riders who have gained confidence & skills. The parents who have had so much pleasure from watching their disabled child develop and achieve so much.

Barbara has encouraged local youngsters from within the community to volunteer and they have learned a lot about acceptance of disability. The local community can see at close hand Barbara’s dedication and spirit and they respect her enormously. During a particularly bad winter, a barn roof collapsed and an appeal for help was broadcast on the local radio station. Many of the local community turned out to offer whatever help they could. Barbara is always conscious to express her thanks for the assistance given. Barbara’s belief in equality rubs off on everyone who comes into contact with her.

Barbara Johnstone needs to be recognised for initiating the group using only 2 trusted ponies to provide a service to a few local disabled children in the care of Barnardos. Through her commitment, belief and passion that disabled lives could be enriched by the therapeutic value of riding, the group has grown enormously. We now have over 100 riders, 10 ponies and presently 70 dedicated volunteers.

In the last 25 years, Barbara Johnstone has: Co-ordinated in excess of 40,000 riding sessions; Provided riding lessons and associated experiences to over 1,000 individual riders; Recruited and supported approximately 2,000 volunteers; Facilitated fundraising and income generating activities which have secured an income of approx. £1,100,000; Cared for and trained 38 horses and ponies as a volunteer, Barbara has easily committed in excess of 45,000 hours of her time to her beloved Ravelrig RDA.

Barbara has encouraged many local youngsters from within the community to volunteer and they have learned a lot about acceptance of disability. She is now leading the group forward in its biggest project by far - she is at the forefront of raising funds (in the region of £1million) to enable an indoor arena to be built. Barbara Johnstone’s commitment to Ravelrig RDA has ensured that many groups of people have better chances in life. Disabled people are able to try out new physical and mental activities which are impossible and unachievable in their everyday lives. She has encouraged volunteers to develop new skills and experiences by undertaking tasks which would not normally be available to them, and she has encouraged them down new life paths and into suitable”

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2011 Michele Lindsay Classroom Assistant at Access to Industry

In 2011 Michele Lindsay, a Classroom Assistant at Access to Industry was named ‘Inspiring Volunteer of the Year 2011’.

You can see why she deserved this award by watching this short film:

“The Passport Project works with looked after young people in a one to one and group setting to complete necessary qualifications. Generally we find that the majority of our students struggle in a group setting which necessitates constant support from the tutor and classroom assistant. In my opinion Michele excels in this capacity. She is genuinely passionate about helping the young people develop and sees through their challenging behaviour to seek out individual talent and potential. Michele easily tailors her approach to individual students whilst being stringent about following Passport’s set systems and procedures. What is also impressive is her ability to multitask and work effectively whilst retaining a sense of humour under pressure. Undoubtedly her previous experience as a literacy and numeracy worker stood her in good stead for this post.

In addition, her background working with young people is clearly demonstrated by her firm but caring manner towards them and their reciprocal respect and trust in her.

Michele initially volunteered with us one morning a week but this soon increased to three days when her skills and dedication became apparent to us in her work with our young people. Michele has never turned down an opportunity to volunteer for us despite juggling two school children (one pre-school) and a university degree. As well as our Looked After Young People programme, Michele also volunteers on our Brighter Futures project which engages students from local SEBD (Social Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties) schools. After a demanding start, Michele quickly proposed ways to redesign our proposed programme to better meet the needs of the group; again demonstrating her ability to plan innovatively and effectively. Despite encountering some very challenging behaviour from this group Michele, has remained unfazed and powers through with unfailing optimism, enthusiasm and a genuine respect for the young people.

Michele has since asked the SEBD school if she can volunteer with them as a classroom assistant. Surely, another example of her powerful dedicated to work with young people with deprived backgrounds. Since August 2010 Michele has proven to herself to be sincere, reliable (she has never taken a day off) and a fantastically optimistic and motivating team player. I have no doubt that her contribution will affect real change in the lives of her future students.

Michele often has great, well developed ideas for lessons for the students which again showcase her aptitude for creativity and customising meaningful activities for our client group. Michele recently instigated the production of a student newsletter and worked hard to find examples and resources. As a result the students were extremely engaged and enjoyed taking ownership of the task. Michele is always interested in new ways to engage the young people and offers to lead on "warm up" activities with the group. Michele often updates her skills and knowledge with new ideas from TES. Her warm, compassionate nature immediately puts new students at ease and undoubtedly an important contributing factor to our retention and progression success”.

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2010 Liz Bisset Brownie and Girl Guide, past District Commissioner & Trustee with Girlguiding Edinburgh, Richmond's Hope & Richmond's Café Project

“Liz Bisset is the kind of person around whom communities revolve. She has led a life dedicated to her community, including 50 years leading the 82nd Brownies pack in Richmond Craigmillar Church, several years as direct commissioner for Craigmillar and Duddingston area, 11 years volunteering with the Richmond Café Project and Richmond’s Hope, a project for bereaved children, for both of which she is a trustee. She has also run the Craigmillar Food Co-operative, turning up every Thursday morning to sell fresh fruit and vegetables to the community.

Through Liz’s dedication to the Brownies for over 50 years, we are left with a well-run brownie pack, and literally generations of women and girls in Craigmilar whose lives have been touched by her dedication, commitment and enthusiasm whilst they were brownies themselves.

Craigmillar is an area which has had many difficulties for a long period of time but Liz has never wavered in her commitment to the young people of the area and has striven to give them the opportunities afforded by Guiding both at home and abroad. Thousands of girls and young women have benefitted from her constant presence as a Leader, week in, week out, year in, year out, and in a society where constancy is in short supply, Liz provided stability and reassurance to her Brownies and Guides. She has encouraged them to look beyond their, often limited, horizons and strive to "do their best" at all times.

Liz has also worked closely with the various projects around Richmond Craigmillar Church which has worked to offer a place of hope, safety and sanctuary to many troubled young people. She has been able to offer advice and stability, and a sense of permanence to the lives of the youngsters, many of whom have been bereaved or who are suffering from the lack of care in other aspects of their lives. Liz retired in December on her 65th birthday and is a shining example of what can be achieved in a challenging environment and so richly deserves this award”.

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2009 Joan Alexander Citizen Advocate for ‘Partners In Advocacy’

“Joan has been volunteering with ‘Partners In Advocacy’ since 1998. Joan became Graham’s advocate while working with him in a residential unit. She was aware that his life was in danger of falling apart due to the deterioration within his family, at school and his then Residential Unit. He had no Social Worker and Joan felt that no one was there to speak up for Graham and to make sure the focus remained on what was best for Graham’s long-term future.

Joan has been the one constant person in Graham’s life and has been there during some very difficult and traumatic times over the last 10 years. She has helped Graham’s confidence to grow allowing him at any given opportunity to speak up for himself, she has helped him to make sure staff are aware of his needs, wants and wishes and supporting him even when things have not turned out quite how Graham had wanted them to be. Joan has helped Graham socially as well, and has made sure that Graham participates in many things not just in the community but in all aspects of her family life. Joan and Graham attended one of “Partners In Advocacy” training sessions to explain their partnership to other new volunteers. Joan and Graham put a lot of time and effort into this presentation to get it right, then once they had finished they went off to the local pub before Graham was due to return home.

Joan continues to see Graham once a month and sometimes more often depending on what is happening in his life. Joan attends all of Graham’s reviews/meetings. As Joan knows Graham so well she prepared a life story presentation for when the staff at Graham’s home changed so much. This gave the new staff a better understanding of Graham, his strength and his weakness, and an overview of some of the difficulties he had overcome in his life. Had Joan not continued to be in Graham’s life then this valuable information would have been lost”.

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2008 Joy Peat Volunteer for RNID and Samaritans

Joy was the first Volunteer to be presented with his award in recognition of her pioneering work towards extending the services and volunteering programme of the Samaritans to those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

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With thanks to volunteer Richard Morgan for shooting and editing the films on this page.