• Category: Volunteer Midlothian

    Panda-monium at the Midlothian Volunteer Awards 2024!

    On Thursday 6 June, volunteers across Midlothian arrived at Newbattle Abbey College for our annual Midlothian Volunteer Awards. The night was a blast and we want to thank everyone who attended. It is a joy to celebrate the hardworking volunteers in Midlothian each year. We hope you all had as much fun as we did!


    Thank you to our wonderful photographer, Kris Soul Photography, for capturing the evening.

    Click the button below to see photos from the awards ceremony:


    You can see the winners and nominations from the night in our awards programme:

    Mascot Campaign

    In 2024, our mascot campaign is a little different. Each year we usually have a student placement who works with us to organise a competition and campaign with a brand new mascot. This year, we didn’t have a student placement but we couldn’t bear to have Volunteers’ Week without a mascot! We brought back mascots from previous years; Bramble the Bear, Pretzel the Panda, and Ringo the Rhino to keep the tradition going. Take a look at our campaign video down below.

    We hope these mascots will find someone to look after them next year!

    If you attended the ceremony, we’d love to gather your feedback, please fill in this short 3 question survey. Your feedback helps us continually improve for future events.

    A BIG thank you to our generous sponsors:

    EDF Energy

    Esk Valley Rotary Club

    Scottish Fire & Rescue Service

    Scottish Qualifications Authority

    Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership

    Midlothian Council

    Well Done You Ltd

    and of course, Newbattle Abbey College.

    We can’t wait to see you all again for next year’s ceremony!

    Scottish Government proposes charges for volunteers’ PVGs. 

    What’s Happening? 

    Disclosure Scotland has opened a proposal to introduce fees for volunteering. They plan to remove the current fee waiver and apply a  fee of £28 for volunteers to join the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme membership (this is a 60% reduction on the proposed standard fee of £70). If implemented, this will have a huge impact on volunteers and volunteer involving organisations. 

    Disclosure Scotland are also making changes to the Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020. As part of this, the PVG membership scheme will become a legal requirement for those in ‘Regulated Roles’, this could mean that even more people will need to be signed up to the PVG scheme, thus more people will be affected by the fee proposal. 

    Our Stance 

    • We believe volunteering should be free for everyone. Volunteers give their time and effort to help others and asking them to pay to do so is insulting.  
    • At a time when we are in a volunteer crisis and volunteer numbers are steadily falling, this only puts up more barriers to volunteering. Many organisations rely on volunteers to do important work, and adding fees will make it harder for them to recruit volunteers. 
    • The implementation of this fee goes against core values and meaning of volunteering. The Volunteer Charter from Volunteer Scotland mentions, “No one should be prevented from volunteering due to their income.”. 

    What You Can Do 

    Now is your chance to speak up. We are conducting our own survey to examine the impact  implementing fees for PVGs could have on volunteers and volunteer involving organisations: 

    ALSO, we strongly encourage you to submit your views to the VSDS online consultation. They will use this feedback to decide whether to go forward with these fee structures. Your responses are crucial. 

    Submit your views now before the consultation closes on Tuesday 28 May. 

    You do not need to answer every question, however we urge you to answer the ‘discount for volunteers’ section. The two questions are as follows: 

    Question 6 – Do you agree with the proposal to move to a fee discount structure for volunteers in QVOs? 

    [Yes / no / don’t know] 

    Question 7 – What information do you think we need to consider when proposing moving to a fee discount for volunteers in QVOs? 

    [Free text] 

    We think Question 6 is ambiguous and could be interpreted in different ways. We recommend you do not to answer this question, and instead write your full response under Question 7

    Spread the Word 

    Share this information with your colleagues, friends, and anyone else who might be interested. Together, we can make sure volunteering stays accessible for everyone. 

    To learn more about changes to the Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020, visit www.disclosure.gov.scot/changes

    Boogie & Arlene Want You… To Nominate For The Midlothian Volunteer Awards 2024!

    NOMINATIONS CLOSE NEXT WEEK for the 2024 Midlothian Volunteer Awards! 🎉

    The Midlothian Volunteer Awards take place each year, and are all about celebrating the amazing efforts of volunteers in Midlothian. This celebration is a part of Volunteers’ Week, where we appreciate people’s kindness across the whole of Scotland. It is a great opportunity to promote some of the fabulous volunteering projects that exist in Midlothian.

    Please ensure you read the FAQs here before you submit.

    A big thank you to Boogie & Arlene from Forth One for helping us get the message out!

    If you have any questions, email info@volunteermidlothian.org.uk

    Nominations Open for the 2024 Midlothian Volunteer Awards!

    Nominations are now open for the 2024 Midlothian Volunteer Awards! 

    The Midlothian Volunteer Awards take place each year, and are all about celebrating the amazing efforts of volunteers in Midlothian. This celebration is a part of a national initiative, where we appreciate people’s kindness across the whole of Scotland. It is a great opportunity to promote some of the fabulous volunteering projects that exist in Midlothian.

    Please ensure you read the FAQs here before you submit.

    Nominations will close on March 22nd, so submit them soon.

    If you have any questions, email info@volunteermidlothian.org.uk

    Leap into the New Year with our 2024 Volunteer Recruitment Fair!

    Volunteer Midlothian is thrilled to announce the return of their Volunteer Recruitment Fair! Following the success of last year’s event, 2024’s fair promises to be even more engaging and impactful. The event will take place on Thursday 29 February, from 10am to 2:30pm, at the St John’s and Kings Park Church in Dalkeith. It guarantees to be an unmissable opportunity for aspiring volunteers. 

    It’s not too late to make volunteering your New Year resolution 

    As this leap year grants us an extra day, Volunteer Midlothian urges everyone to harness this extra time to leap into action and consider the benefits of volunteering. 

    1. Personal Growth: Engaging in volunteering encourages you to step out of your comfort zone, fostering personal development, and have fun in the process! 
    1. Community Connection: Volunteering brings people together, nurturing a sense of belonging and unity within communities. It can help you create strong bonds and make friends from all walks of life. It is a great way to gain confidence and social skills by meeting new people. 
    1. Mental and Physical Well-being: Research consistently shows that volunteering can positively impact mental health by reducing stress and enhancing overall well-being. It also encourages an active lifestyle, benefiting your physical health too! 
    1. Professional Development: Volunteering is a prime source for gaining hands-on experience, honing existing skills, and broadening your professional network. It can significantly boost your CV or applications to further education. 
    1. Making a Meaningful Impact: The opportunity to contribute to causes you care about is one of the most compelling reasons to volunteer. It’s a chance to effect positive change and feel good about how you spend your time. 

    What opportunities are there? 

    Whether it’s mentoring, environmental work, or community outreach, there’s a place for everyone to make an impact. At the Volunteer Recruitment Fair, there will be a variety of organisations with information stalls displaying a range of volunteering opportunities. 

    Some participating organisations include Equal Futures, Forth Rivers Trust, VoiceAbility, NHS, Girlguiding Midlothian, and many more! 

    Join Us! 

    Whether you’re a seasoned volunteer looking for your next venture or an aspiring volunteer with no clue where to start, mark your calendar for Thursday 29 February, from 10am to 2:30pm. Spend your extra day of this leap year making positive change!  

    Take the leap, make a change, and kick start your volunteer journey this year. 

    Discovering the Kelpies with our Conversation Café

    At our beloved Conversation Café, the world comes alive through the magic of words. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning we gather together to discuss travels, explore geography, share cultural traditions, and immerse ourselves in local customs.

    This week, on the 2nd of October, a spirited group of learners embarked on an adventure to The Kelpies and Falkirk Wheel. The Kelpies beckoned us with their mythical charm, pulling us away from our usual gathering spot at The Salon. We also had a chance to take a closer look at the magnificent piece of engineering at the Falkirk Wheel, whilst sipping tea and keeping the conversation going.

    What awaited us was a day of pure delight, where laughter became our common language.

    On the journey, we introduced ‘travel bingo’ to keep the conversation flowing and played ‘spot the beetle’. Was it the elusive Volkswagen Beetle or a creature of the insect world?

    The best part is that the adventure doesn’t end here. Our learners are already planning another exciting day trip in the coming year. Let’s see where our conversations take us next…

    A special thanks to our generous funders, UK Shared Prosperity Fund, for covering all expenses. And, of course to Lothian Community Transport Service (LCTS) for ensuring our safe and comfortable travel.

    Drop in from 10am-11.30am on a Tuesday or Thursday at the Conversation Café to be a part of our journeys of discovery, connection and laughter.

    See more of our adventures on our social media pages: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

    Transforming Young People’s lives – Funding Boost  

    We are delighted to announce further development of our Transform project for young volunteers, thanks to funding awarded from Tyne & Esk Rural Communities Development Fund. 

    This funding will enable continuation of our successful Intergenerational Activity sessions at Heinsberg House in Penicuik, the introduction of a new session at Cowan Court, and further support for our Garden volunteers at Dalkeith Community Garden until February 2024. 

    Transform is a fully supported and supervised volunteering project for young people 15-24 years old, where our Youth Support Coordinators help young people gain confidence, skills, experience and a reference through volunteering as part of a small group. 

    The Intergenerational Activity sessions involve young volunteers delivering a range of games and social activities for older people living in Sheltered Housing.  The sessions breakdown intergenerational misconceptions, reduce loneliness and social isolation, and strengthen respect and community cohesion. 

    Within our Community garden in Dalkeith Country park young volunteers learn practical skills and develop experience as well as a sense of belonging and team spirit, all whilst creating a peaceful, attractive greenspace for the wider community.

    By developing this range of both hard and soft skills, the project prepares young people for positive progression in their lives.

    This funding allows us to engage more young people in volunteering, supporting them to develop skills and experience whilst having a positive impact on their local communities overall.

    To find out more or to get involved as a volunteer, contact our Operations & Development Manager Karen Downie – karen@volunteermidlothian.org.uk, or visit our Transform page.

    Funded by Scottish Ministers in conjunction with the Tyne & Esk Local Action Group

    Midlothian Volunteer Awards 2023: Winners Announced

    We are very excited to announce the winners of the 2023 Midlothian Volunteer Awards ceremony, which took place last night at Newbattle Abbey College. These incredible individuals have gone above and beyond to make a difference in their communities and to their organisations, and we are thrilled to recognise their contributions and dedication. From mentoring young people, supporting parents and providing soups for vulnerable people, and making a difference through physical activity, they represent the very best about volunteering.

    Their inspiring stories remind us that we all have the power to create a positive change, no matter how big or small it may be.

    By sharing their stories and celebrating their contributions and accomplishments, Midlothian’s volunteers inspire others to get involved and make a difference to their own communities….and their own lives. They are shining examples of what it means to be a volunteer. We hope that their passion and commitment will continue to inspire others for years to come.


    This year’s winners are:

    Equality and Diversity Award – Les Reynolds, Mayfield Community Club Tea Dance

    Service to the Community Award – Davy Naismith, The Glencorse Centre

    Befriender/Mentor of the Year Award – Alister Ballantyne, Health in Mind

    Active Volunteering and Climate Change Award – Ageing Well Volunteers, Midlothian Council

    Health & Wellbeing Award – Soup2Go – Young Volunteers, Midlothian Council Communities, Lifelong Learning and Employability

    Dedicated Service Award – Louise D’Arcy-Greig, Army Cadet Force

    Outstanding New Volunteer – I.M.P.A.C.T, Improving Midlothian Parents And Caregivers Time

    Volunteering Team of the Year Award – The Rosewell Volunteering Team and The Rosewell Gardening Club, Rosewell Development Trust

    Volunteer of the Year – Ruth Simpson, Ageing Well

    Our Saltire Summit Award winners for 2023 are:

    Kristen Dent, Aleesha Doherty, Louise Gillespie, Beth Keay, Shaun Wood, Chloe Barron, Ben McIntosh, George Brodie, Abbie O’Malley

    Volunteer Voices: A Meeting with Burns Scott

    Burns, Julianne and his wife Helen.

    This year’s theme for Volunteer’s Week is to Celebrate and Inspire, so with that in mind we visited Penicuik to interview one of Midlothian’s most dedicated volunteers. With over seventy years of experience under his belt, BURNS SCOTT is a source of inspiration to current and future volunteers in Midlothian and beyond. Here we share the highlights of his story as told to Julianne, our student on placement from Napier University. We hope that Burns’ achievements will encourage others to volunteer in their own communities too.  

    Burns Scott’s volunteering journey began after World War II, when he initially volunteered for the Royal Navy in 1946. During his time in the navy, he realised that his desire to volunteer had grown into a long-term commitment. Burns expressed to Julianne that his motivation to continue volunteering stemmed from a desire to give back to his community. This motivation drove him to take on various voluntary roles throughout his working life, and even into his retirement.

    A varied, rich and rewarding volunteer journey

    Over the years Burns came to recognise that volunteering was ultimately worth it, despite the time it took being involved in so many different voluntary roles. He has accumulated an impressive number of awards in recognition of the difference he has made. When asked about his most memorable experience, he told us how enjoyable his involvement in the annual Penicuik Hill Race had been. The event brought people together from all over Midlothian and beyond, using sport to foster community spirit and promote health and well-being. 

    The hill race also helped to raise the profile of the Penicuik area, boosting the local economy, and bringing more people into the county too. On one occasion, at the culmination of the event, Burns received a crystal bowl from all the athletes and marshals that had taken part. When his time on the Penicuik Gala Committee came to an end, he was presented with a card that had been handwritten and signed by all the competitors that year. Burns told us that he was extremely touched by the gesture and that it was one of his proudest moments, because people had publicly recognised the contribution he had made.

    Connecting with others

    Burns showing Julianne his signed card from all the hill racers.

    Volunteering encourages us to meet and connect with people from all sorts of backgrounds, and to make new friends. When asked who had made the most significant impact on his volunteering journey, Burns Scott mentioned Charlie Gordon. They were on the Penicuik Gala Committee together and according to his wife Helen, Burns and Charlie ‘would read each other’s minds’. Charlie was somebody that Burns felt he could look up to. Because of their mutual interest in giving back to their community, they inspired each other to continue volunteering. Often, it is the positive energy occurring between groups of volunteers that can lead to the biggest and most impactful gains.

    Keeping up the good work

    When asked what advice he would give to someone considering volunteering, Burns was quick to answer. ‘Put your heart and soul into it and give 100% of your effort.’ Burns and Helen emphasised that it is important for people to do something they like and not to give up, despite the challenges that can occur. Burns also observed that once people are volunteering and get stuck into a project, the ‘vibe’ rubs off on them. They become more motivated because other people around them feel the same. This in turn can result in a group of volunteers working hard together make positive changes happen for each other, and for others in their community as well.  

    Every volunteer in Midlothian deserves to be recognised for the effort they’ve made to give something back. In the run up to Volunteers’ Week 2023 and the Midlothian Volunteer Awards ceremony on the evening of June 1st, we hope that Burns Scott inspires new and future volunteers as much as he has inspired us at Volunteer Midlothian.

    This story was authored by Julianne Nixon.

    Volunteer Midlothian’s Rhino Mascot Visits Mauricewood Primary School

    Our Napier university student Julianne visited Mauricewood Primary School last week with Volunteer Midlothian’s Volunteering Development Worker, Magda, to tell pupils about Volunteers’ Week 2023. The pair delivered a special presentation, with all of the children at Mauricewood listening carefully to what was said and asking lots of very thoughtful questions.

    Julianne doing the presentation at Mauricewood primary.

    Julianne and Magda took time during their visit to share positive messages with the children about the importance of volunteering. They also introduced our rhino mascot to the pupils, with a short imaginary story about why the mascot has no name and why its mission is to help us celebrate volunteers who make a difference in Midlothian.

    The pupils were encouraged to consider what volunteers do within their communities and the benefits that this can bring. Julianne went on to explain the rules for our ongoing ‘Name the Mascot’ competition, which runs from 15th May – 1st June 2023. Children living in Midlothian are allowed to name the rhino, then on the 1st of June the winning entry will be chosen by guests at our annual Midlothian Volunteer Awards ceremony. The winning child will receive a certificate, a rhino toy of their own, and £100 for their school or after school club to spend on new resources.

    The pupils of Mauricewood Primary School came up with some great ideas for the rhino during our visit. Names such as ‘Noah’, ‘Hamish’ and ‘Isla’ were among the many suggestions made. We are looking forward to finding out what other entries will be submitted by pupils from other schools and afterschool clubs in Midlothian.

    Good luck Mauricewood, as well as all the other schools and children taking part!

    Midlothian Volunteers’ Week 2023 Mascot Rhino Competition

    What’s my name?

    Please send us your suggested name for our mascot rhino. The winner will receive £100, their own cuddly toy rhino and a winner’s certificate. The deadline for applications is Thursday 1st June 2023 at 12 p.m.

    Good luck!

    Competition guidelines:

    • Any child who attends primary school or after school club in Midlothian can enter.
    • Primary school teachers or club leaders can also enter on behalf of their whole class or after school group, provided the children have chosen the name.
    • There should be only one entry per child or class.
    • If there is a whole class or club entry, individual children from that class can still apply once each.
    • The winner will be announced via Twitter on the evening of 1st June 2023.
    • The school will be contacted in the week beginning Monday 5th June to arrange delivery of the prizes.
    • Midlothian Advertiser may also be invited to cover the story in local media.

    Enter the Competition

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    Midlothian Volunteer Awards 2023

    The Midlothian Volunteer Awards are all about celebrating the amazing efforts of volunteers in Midlothian.

    The awards take place every year during Volunteers’ Week (from the 1-7th June) and are a great opportunity to promote some of the fabulous volunteering projects that exist in Midlothian.

    Over on our awards webpage, find out more about the categories for 2023 and how you can help recognise the amazing efforts of volunteers in Midlothian.

    Midlothian Third Sector faces devastating cuts

    Midlothian council are facing a projected budget gap for 2023/24 is £14.481 million rising to a projected £26.575 million by 2027/28. The current proposal of budget cuts includes; the removal of staffing at libraries and secondary school libraries, end of funding grants to community transport and dial-a-ride service by Handicabs Lothian and Lothian Community Transport, and a 100% cut to large and small grants funding for the third sector. The loss of third sector services will have a devastating impact on communities and particularly on the vulnerable, elderly and youngest residents. This also occurs at a time of the cost-of-living crisis where many people are facing poverty with increasing food and energy bills.

    The Midlothian TSI and its third sector partners are launching a campaign to #CareDontCut to prevent cuts and start an open dialogue with Midlothian councillors and the decision making process. The councillors will meet on the 31st January at 11am (watch here) to discuss the proposed cuts and then there will be community engagement until the 21st February where they will make their final decision. If you are interested in lobbying your local MP and MSP then please find a link to the open letter signed by us and third sector partners which you can also sign and send out.

    Get in touch with natalie.thomson@mvacvs.org.uk to get involved or more information.

    Dear Councillors,

    We are writing to you as representatives of the third sector in Midlothian who are deeply concerned by the impact of the proposed cuts which will affect our most vulnerable, youngest, and oldest residents of Midlothian, and cause significant job losses to the third sector and a reduction of services.

    We recognise the difficult task you have in making cuts that no-one wants to see happen, and we are aware that many of Midlothian’s current difficulties arise from a lack of recognition of our status as the fastest growing local authority. However, we feel that it is important that councillors are aware of the impact of the saving proposals.

    Many of the proposals in the paper will have a negative impact on the funding of third sector organisations. Our organisations were not well-funded to begin with, and have been badly impacted by the combined effect of Covid, Brexit, inflation and the recent rise in utility prices. Further cuts to their budgets could lead to the closure of key, long-established organisations.

    Much of the work funded through the Grants Programme is preventative, and its removal will lead to increased costs for the Council and other community planning partners, for example, through a rise in isolation leading to increased calls on GPs and other health services, children being less able to cope at school, or an increase in anti-social behaviour.

    There are a number of proposed actions in the paper that suggest that the community could get more involved, yet at the same time the budget that could have supported this has been cut. Most volunteers only volunteer for a few hours a week, meaning that every full-time post that is lost would need ten to twelve volunteers to replace it. There are costs attached to coordinating this number of volunteers.

    Many older and disabled people are unable to get to third sector activities without the support of our community transport providers. If these cuts are made, the lives of our most vulnerable citizens will be hugely restricted.

    In light of the comments above, we call on council members to undertake the following actions:

    · Reconsider the 100% cuts proposed to the Third Sector Grants programme. We are in the process of compiling how many people this cut would affect; with 40% of the response received so far organisations are reporting that over 7000 vulnerable clients would be impacted.

    · Recognise that children and young people’s organisations will be particularly badly affected by the accumulation of cuts to both the Grants programme and commissioning budgets.

    · Institute transitional arrangements for commissioned services so that they do not stop abruptly on the 1st April. This would allow third sector employers to undertake the redundancy process as set out by law, and in line with the Scottish Government’s Fair Work criteria. It would also allow time for discussions about how clients continue to receive support.

    · Once the paper has been approved, undertake meaningful engagement that goes beyond just a survey, to ensure that the needs of people who struggle to complete surveys is also met, for example people with learning difficulties, people with mental health issues and people with literacy issues.

    We include two key quotes from our most recent third sector forum which highlight the difficulties they face:

    “If community places and libraries are closed or not staffed adequately as safe places then vulnerable people and disabled people become more isolated, isolated means more physical illness, physical illness means more hospital appointments or mental illness leading to increased rates of suicide.” Graham Thomson, Co-chair, Forward Mid

    “With a cumulative cuts to our service and the potential of losing our service level agreement, we are facing the potential of at least 40% cuts, which would mean the loss of 2 family learning centers with 18 staff and potentially therapeutic services which has a direct impact of children and families. This could mean redundancies of between 18 – 60 staff as early as Mar ’23.” Cheryl Brown, CEO, Midlothian Sure Start

    Yours sincerely,

    Lesley Kelly, Chief Executive, Midlothian Voluntary Action and Volunteer Midlothian

    Alasdair Mathers, Penicuik Alliance, Penicuik Youth Band and Penicuik Silver Band

    Brian Christie, Pathhead & District Community Association

    Dave Evans, Chief Executive, MYPAS

    Emma Diffley, Chair, Tynewater Parent Council

    Eric Johnstone, Graham Thomson and Marlene Gill, Forward Mid

    Ian Purves and Janice Burns, Midlothian Foodbank

    Jan-Bert van den Berg, Director, Artlink

    Jill Bunyan, Development Worker, MFIN

    Jim Hiddlestone, Chair, Roslin Village Group

    Julie Podet, Manager, Dalkeith Citizens Advice Bureau

    Linda Cuthbert, Service Manager, Play Therapy Base

    Lucy Holyrood, Senior Recovery Services Manager, Cyrenians

    Dr Neil Heydon-Dumbleton, Pathhead Men’s Café & Community Councillor

    Pat Bowie, Chairperson, Newtongrange Development Trust

    Paula Swanston, Manager, Home Link Family Support

    Play Midlothian

    Robert Scott, Manager, Rosewell Development Trust

    Scott MacFarlane, Chief Executive Officer, Penicuik YMCA

    Sharon Hill, Manager, Mayfield and Easthouses Development Trust

    Yvonne Hay, Committee Member, Beeslack Allstars

    Pop into our 2023 Volunteer Recruitment Fair

    Volunteer Midlothian is hosting a Volunteer Recruitment Fair on Thursday 9th February from 10.30 -16.30 in St John’s and Kings Park Church in Dalkeith (opposite the Morrison’s retail store).

    Local and national volunteer involving organisations will be there promoting their volunteering opportunities including Rec Cross, Sure Start, NHS, Alzheimer Scotland, Penicuik Storehouse, Gorebridge Beacon, Scouts and more.

    The event is an ideal opportunity to meet organisations and find out more about what volunteering has to offer. There will be a warm welcome at the door by Volunteer Midlothian. Free tea, coffee and cake, fresh soup and bread with an area to sit, take time and browse information for visiting adults. For children we have an arts and crafts table.

    Midlothian Provost is due to visit and chat to stall holders in her capacity as ‘Midlothian Volunteer Champion’.

    There are many reasons why we promote volunteering, it’s a great way to meet new people, get involved, get busy, learn new skills, pass on experience, help improve your own and others’ mental and physical health, help the environment, boost your CV and more.

    At times when we do so much online, promoting volunteering with an in-person recruitment event is a great way to connect with people and to build relationships between organisations and potential volunteers on the spot.

    This is the first recruitment fair since the pandemic but it is intended to resume as an annual event from now on. It is held in February to inspire people to get involved as part of their New Year Resolutions.

    If you are thinking about volunteering but not quite sure where to begin, then this event is perfect for you! Come along and find out how you can develop your skills and make a difference in your local area. For more information call 0131 660 1216.

    Launching into 2023 with two new projects

    Volunteer Midlothian are excited to launch into 2023 with the delivery of two eight-week projects thanks to funding from Tyne & Esk Rural Communities Development Fund.

    Both short projects will focus on involving volunteers to bring people together, reduce social isolation and improve the health and wellbeing of all involved.

    In Penicuik, the first project will see Transform Activity Sessions restart and further develop in Heinsberg House Sheltered Housing, where young volunteers (14-24 years old) will be supported to deliver social activities for the older people living there. The sessions were delivered prior to Christmas and had the dual benefit of young volunteers gaining confidence and self-esteem, as well as developing new skills and experience to help pave the way for positive future progression. The older people regained the confidence to make use of their communal lounge following Covid restrictions, enhancing their social contact with others within the Sheltered Housing, as well as the young people from their local community.

    Our second project, new for the Pathhead area, will engage our Connect Online volunteers with I.T. skills in its delivery. The volunteers will help share their knowledge and support older people to use technology effectively. This group project aims to provide a lasting legacy enabling older participants to confidently access services such as GPs, shopping and price comparison sites online; and will also allow them to engage with community activism, for example, by linking into the Midlothian Older People’s Assembly.

    With January being a particularly difficult month for many, Volunteer Midlothian are delighted to start the year by offering these exciting projects, highlighting the value volunteering can bring to both the volunteer, and those impacted by the services volunteers provide. We can’t wait to further develop the fun, social connections, empowerment and sense of belonging the projects aim to provide. For further information, to become a volunteer or to join as a participant contact Karen.

    Funded by Scottish Ministers in conjunction with East Lothian Council, as the Lead Partner for the Local Action Group.