Friday 17th June saw the prestigious annual Volunteer of the Year Awards, held jointly between Argyll Voluntary Action and Argyll & Bute Council at Kilmory Lochgilphead.
The event was busier than ever and, alongside the annual awards was a new category, the award for Community Activity presented with a cheque for £1,000 to the MS Centre in Lochgilphead in this the first year of the award.
Our speaker this year was Bill Brackenridge, chair of Argyll & Bute Community Health Partnership and appropriately so, as the partnership has just itself achieved Investing in Volunteers status. We were welcomed to the event by the new Lord Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute, Patrick Stewart and Mike Russell MSP took time out from a busy schedule to present awards for the Sports Association of the Year to Wee Toon Runners from Campbeltown and for the Shield Award to Organisation of the Year to Campbeltown Community Organic Garden.
The winner of the individual Volunteer of the Year and of the Sargus Memorial prize for volunteering was Dave Pearson, also of Campbeltown making it a red letter day for South Kintyre. Dave now holds the shiled and was presented with the £1,000 Sargus Travel prize.
The Community Award which was decided by the audience on the day gave an opportunity for the five finalists to present their work and their volunteering to those attending – celebrating the enormous impact volunteer involving organisations bring and the difference made to people’s lives.
Our young people recognised this year included the Young Volunteer of the Year, Jenna Spiers, for her determination to help children suffering cancer and the Sports Young Volunteer of the Year, Anthony Monaghan. Highly commended was Maddy Grant who volunteers with Route 81. Our highly commended Volunteer of the Year was Emma MacDougall who proves how valuable volunteering can be in overcoming personal difficulties. Sports Volunteer of the Year was Fi Corner of Inveraray.
We also took time out to acknowledge and be inspired by the volunteering activities of the young people across Argyll & Bute who have achieved Millenium Volunteering Awards; this year our young people achieved well over 5,000 hours of voluntary contribution and Kirsty Cairns received her Millenium Award today, on behalf of all those who had been involved over the year.
This event celebrates voluntary action and has demonstrated once again just how much work is carried out willingly and unpaid supporting our communities and individuals. Argyll Voluntary Action as the infrastructure organisation supporting volunteering and voluntary organisations was well represented by staff and volunteers. Their CEO, Glenn Heritage said ” In these difficult economic times it is even more important to be able to show how we work in pratnership with our colleagues, whether in Health or with Council and to take the opportunity to celebrate, recognise and applaud the efforts and the impact volunteering has – it really is the life blood of communities and as an organisaton we are proud and priveleged to be part of that.”.