Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action celebrates Volunteers’ Week

Lorna Sandison with Margaret Murison
Lorna Sandison with Margaret Murison

Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action (AVA) has celebrated the huge contribution volunteers make across Aberdeenshire communities.

Volunteers’ Week, held from June 1 to 7, aims to celebrate and say thank you to volunteers across the UK for their contributions.

Inverurie Day Centre volunteers

Inverurie Day Centre volunteers

In Aberdeenshire’s towns, villages and rural areas volunteers help to provide many important, often vital, services, facilities and opportunities for local people of all ages.

As the Third Sector Interface in Aberdeenshire, AVA provides support and guidance across the area to people who are interested in volunteering as well as organisations with volunteers.

AVA is a one-stop-shop for all things volunteering and its Development Officers work right across the length and breadth of Aberdeenshire.

Keith Anderson, AVA Head of Development said: “Helping volunteering to happen is a key part of our work and an area that we all enjoy. We are always amazed at people’s generosity with their time and that willingness to be there for others makes such a difference.”

During this year’s Volunteer Week AVA celebrated Margaret Murison for over 40 years of volunteering in Balmedie.

Margaret was honoured as an outstanding volunteer in May with a presentation by AVA at The Friendship Club within Eigie House in Balmedie, where Margaret volunteers.

Well-wishers, friends and family all wanted to be in on the surprise presentation for Margaret – but once word sneaked out the lounge was soon filled to capacity as everyone descended on Eigie House to see Margaret receive her award.

The event was organised by Rosie Nicol from Belhelvie Community Trust, who spoke about her dedication to some special projects in the district, including The Beach Wheelchairs and The Sand Bothy.

Margaret used to work in the bank for many years so generally gets asked to deal with many of the financial elements of the organisations she helps.

She is also an invaluable source of expertise on family history locally, enjoys her garden and volunteering with the Church which is very close to her heart.

AVA Development Officer, Lorna Sandison said: “I am delighted to be included in on-going and new projects in the Balmedie area as it is such a motivated and connected community where lessons can be learned as to how communities should indeed interact. Huge congratulations to Margaret who has contributed so much to the area – she is an inspiration to many”.

AVA also celebrated the volunteers providing vital support services at Inverurie Day Centre.

The centre is is available for older people, aged 65 or over and people with disabilities who enjoy social contact, but are less able to get out and about, or need support to manage day to day tasks.

The Day Centre has a fantastic team of eight dedicated volunteers who support Day Care Organisers Maggie McRitchie and Mo Ritchie to deliver activities for the service users throughout the day.

AVA Development Officer, Meriem Kayoueche-Reeve organised a volunteer celebration in the run-up to Volunteers’ Week to say big thank you to the fantastic volunteers at the Day Centre.

Of the eight volunteers at the Day Centre, three of them had been volunteering for over 20 years.

Meriem presented a celebration cake and awarded each of the volunteers a certificate recognising their valued contribution to the Day Centre and the health and wellbeing of the service users.

Meanwhile AVA also celebrated 250 National Trust volunteers at Crathes Castle.

The volunteers who help at a variety of National Trust locations in the North East including Crathes Castle, Drum Castle, Mar Lodge Estate, Craigievar Castle and Castle Fraser were invited to a ‘Thank You’ Tea Party celebration as part of this year’s Volunteers’ Week.

Aileen said: “Volunteers are invaluable to so many charities and community organisations in Aberdeenshire, what an honour it is to celebrate those who give their time to their communities.”