• Category: Volunteer Midlothian

    Midlothian Volunteer Awards 2022 – Winners

    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.

    Congratulations to this year’s winners (full details here).

    Who contributes the most to volunteering in Scotland?

    We’ll be exploring ‘Who contributes the most to volunteering in Scotland?’ in a free seminar on 7 September 2021. 

    Matthew and Debbie, from Volunteer Scotland, will share findings from their research published in January 2021. Using data from the Scottish Household Survey related to volunteering frequency and intensity, their analysis challenges our understanding of volunteer engagement across different demographic groups including age, gender, deprivation, income, education and health.

    This seminar will be of interest to anyone working in volunteering policy and practice – particularly those looking to promote the development of grassroots volunteering activity in Scottish communities.

    Never Mind the Football – the Midlothian Volunteer Awards are Coming Home!

    It’s been a month since the 2021 Midlothian Volunteer Awards ceremony took place online, and we are pleased to say that we have now managed to get the trophies and certificates into the hands of all our wonderful award winners and nominees. Here are a few pics of the trophies being handed over. It was a pleasure to work with everyone involved in the awards and to meet the winners in person. We look forward to doing it all again in years to come.

    Well done and thanks again everyone – winners AND nominees!

    Members of Art Club’s ‘Amazing Brains Committee’ receiving their Covid-19 Community Award.

    Ellie and Holly from the Midlothian Breastfeeding Alliance accepting the MBA’s award for voluntary work related to Health and Wellbeing.

    Gina from the Penicuik Ambassadors, who won the ‘Volunteer Team of the Year’ award. Gina was able to come to the Glencorse Centre with her daughter to collect the award at the same time as the MBA.

    Ricky Lloyd from Dalkeith Rugby Club accepting his award for Active Volunteering. Chris Boyle also jointly won this award for his hard work alongside Ricky.

    We wonder who got to take the award home!

    A member of the team from Food Facts Friends receiving the organisation’s certificate of nomination for the Covid-19 Community Award. Heather Mortimore from Food Facts Friends won the ‘Outstanding New Volunteer Award’.

    We delivered the certificate and trophy on the same day that some of the other trophies were handed over in the Penicuik area. Unfortunately, Heather wasn’t there at the time of drop off, but we hope she liked it when she got it!

    Samantha Gough, winner of the Saltire Summit Award for her dedicated volunteering with the children and families charity, Bright Sparks.

    We think Bramble the teddy looks very happy snuggling up with Samantha.

    Joseph Burke, Midlothian’s ‘Volunteer of the Year’ 2021. Joseph won this award in recognition of the outstanding volunteer work he has done over the past 18 months on behalf of local mental health charity Health in Mind.

    Winners of the 2021 Midlothian Volunteer Awards announced

    Penicuik Ambassadors, Volunteering Team of the Year

    To celebrate Volunteer’s Week 2021, Volunteer Midlothian held an online awards ceremony on the 3rd June attended by around 150 people. The ceremony was very different to the one we’re used to at Newbattle Abbey College, nonetheless it was still filled with love and admiration for Midlothian’s volunteers.  Many congratulations to all our hard-working winners this year, and to all our nominees – you’re simply the best, and you are ALL worthy of recognition!  

    The winners of the 2021 awards are as follows: 

    • Outstanding New Volunteer: Heather Mortimore from Food Facts Friends 
    • Befriender/Mentor of the Year: The Connect Project Volunteers from Volunteer Midlothian 
    • Active Volunteering: Chris Boyle and Ricky Lloyd of Dalkeith Rugby Football Club 
    • Health and Wellbeing Award: The Midlothian Breastfeeding Alliance 
    • Dedicated Service: Colette Pye from Mayfield and District Breastfeeding Support Group 
    • Covid-19 Community Award: The Amazing Brains Committee at Art Club 
    • Volunteer Manager of the Year: Naomi Knights from the Connect Project at Volunteer Midlothian 
    • Saltire Summit Award: Kyle Anderson, Eva Hesketh-Laird, Louise Gillespie, Melissa Reidie, Samantha Gough 
    • Volunteer of the Year: Joseph Burke of Health in Mind 
    • Volunteering Team of the Year: Penicuik Ambassadors 

    You can read more about all our nominees and winners here.  

    Thank You to Our Sponsors!

    If you’ve been keeping up with our recent news, you’ll be aware that every year in Midlothian we run a volunteer awards ceremony during Volunteers’ Week from the 1-7th June. The ceremony is an opportunity for us to say a huge thank you to all of Midlothian’s volunteers. However, we also need to say thanks to another important contributor – the people that help to make the awards possible in the first place. 

    We are grateful to have received sponsorship for seven of this year’s award categories from local organisations. Without the input of our sponsors, the Midlothian Volunteer Awards would be a much less exciting affair! As the circumstances do not permit us to offer our thanks in person, we want to show our appreciation digitally, to let others know that our sponsors really are amazing and very generous. 

    The award categories and sponsors are listed below.  

    Outstanding New volunteer – Scottish Fire and Rescue Service 

    Befriender or Mentor of the Year – Police Scotland 

    Active Volunteering Award – EDF  

    Health and Wellbeing Award – Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership 

    Dedicated Service to Volunteering – Esk Valley Rotary Club 

    Covid-19 Community Award – Midlothian Council 

    Volunteer Manager of the Year – Scottish Qualifications Authority 

    Volunteer Midlothian ‘Where’s the Bear?’ Competition Launches TODAY!

    Amber and the as-yet nameless bear!

    Volunteer Midlothian are running a ‘Name the Bear’ competition for primary schools in Midlothian starting TODAY, Monday 24th May. Our little furry friend is the mascot for the Midlothian Volunteer Awards, an annual ceremony that takes place during Volunteer’s Week at the beginning of June.

    The bear will be travelling around Midlothian over the next 11 days, visiting different beauty spots and places of interest, then popping up every day on Twitter using the hashtag #wheresthebear 

    Followers will be encouraged on Twitter and Facebook to guess the bear’s location. At the end of its journey on 3rd June, the bear will gain a new name voted for by participants at the Midlothian Volunteer Awards ceremony. The chosen name, based on entries from local primary school children, will win £100 for the school and will get to keep the bear!  

    The mascot competition is part of a campaign to increase awareness of Volunteers’ Week 2021 and to boost Volunteer Midlothian’s following on social media. We are keen for lots of people to join in and follow the bear on its travels. This is the first time Volunteer Midlothian have run a digital campaign, so YOUR help in making it a success is much needed! Please tell other local people about the bear, especially any families you may know whose children might want to have a go at naming the bear via the school they attend. All local primary school head teachers have been sent information about how to enter.

    For more information about how to take park contact Miriam at Volunteer Midlothian.

    Midlothian Volunteer Awards 2021: Nominees Announced

    We are now able to share the list of confirmed nominees for the 2021 Midlothian Volunteer Awards, which will take place during Volunteers’ Week from 1-7 June. It’s looking likely that we will run an event on the evening of Thursday 3rd June to announce the winners, so keep an eye out for further updates about this.

    The standard of nominations has been very high this year and we have also had a lot of interest in the awards. This reflects all the extra voluntary activity we’ve seen as part of the Covid-19 resilience response in local communities, but also the amazing work that has taken place across the third sector as a whole throughout the pandemic.

    All of the nominees are listed below. The full list of Saltire Summit nominees will be announced later on in April. Well done everyone – you are all fabulous!

    Outstanding New Volunteer  

    • Heather Mortimore (Food Facts Friends) 
    • Andrew Love (CAPS Collective Advocacy) 
    • Kathryn Gordon (Home Link Family Support) 
    • Katrina Drennan (Penicuik Ambassdors) 
    • Beth Fyfe Falconer (Volunteer Midlothian – Transform) 

    Befriender Mentor   

    • Joseph Burke (Health in Mind) 
    • Alzheimer Scotland Telephone Companions
    • Amanda Gillespie (Home Link Family Support)   
    • Connect Project Volunteers (Volunteer Midlothian) 
    • Colin Pow (Health in Mind) 

    Active Volunteering 

    • Rebecca Lewis (Riverfly on the Esk)
    • Holly Gibb (Breastfeeding Café) 
    • Mirabelle Maslin (Roslin and Bilston Community Council) 
    • Chris Boyle and Ricky Lloyd (Dalkeith Rugby) 
    • Dalkeith Guerrilla Gardeners 
    • Ageing Well (Midlothian Council)

    Health and Wellbeing  

    • Anam Cara Befriending Team
    • Art and Craft in Wellbeing Group (Health in Mind) 
    • Midlothian Breastfeeding Alliance
    • Green Prescribing Garden Buddies (Cyrenians)

    Dedicated Service  

    • Jim Paterson (Food Facts Friends) 
    • Connect Online (Volunteer Midlothian) 
    • David Thornton (Health in Mind) 
    • Colette Pye (Mayfield and District Breastfeeding Support Group) 
    • Maggie Palmer (Home Link Family Support)  
    • Jim Ralston (1st Loanhead Boys Brigade Company) 
    • Penicuik Community Development Trust


    • Vernon Miles (Community Activist – Environmental Clean Up) 
    • Grant Stanley (‘Our Stars Family’ on Facebook ) 
    • Amazing Brains Committee at Art Club 
    • Food Facts Friends 
    • Gorebridge Resilience Partnership  
    • Penicuik Ambassadors 

    Volunteer Manager  

    • Mark Wells (Food Facts Friends) 
    • Michael Huddleston (Alzheimer Scotland) 
    • Monika Dyczko (Health in Mind) 
    • Naomi Knights (Volunteer Midlothian) 
    • Shondra Riley (Made in Midlothian) 

    Saltire Summit Award

    • Kyle Anderson
    • Eva Hesketh-Laird
    • Louise Gillespie
    • Melissa Reidie 
    • Samantha Gough

    Volunteers’ Week Awards 2021: New Award Categories Video

    We’ve put together a second video following on from the one we released last week about the Midlothian Volunteer Awards. This latest video offering tells you more about the categories that volunteers can be nominated for and who the award sponsors are.

    Both individual volunteers and teams can be nominated for all of the categories except the Saltire Summit and the two ‘Of the Year’ Awards, which are instead judged from all the nominations put together. This means that every nominee has two chances to win an award – so all the more reason to nominate!

    You can watch our other video and read our Awards FAQ’s on our Volunteer’s Week Awards web page.

    We hope you like it and that those of us who prefer to ‘watch’ rather than ‘read’ also find it helpful. Please share widely so that as many people as possible know about the awards and can get thinking about who deserves to be nominated. Thanks!

    Check out our new Volunteer Awards Video Guide!

    We have put together a video guide to accompany the FAQ’s information for the Volunteers’ Week Awards. We hope that this will be a useful accompaniment to the written information on the website.

    We will also be releasing a second video next week explaining more about the categories for nomination. You can also go to the Volunteers’ Week page on our website to view the video and get more information.

    We hope you find it helpful. If so, please share widely with others who may be thinking of nominating. Thanks!

    Volunteer Group Facilitators needed for the Connect project

    Older people in a Zoom group. Image from Creative Commons.

    Do you have an area of interest or expertise you could share with others online? Volunteer Midlothian is recruiting Online Group Facilitators to run small online group sessions with people aged 50+ who may be feeling lonely and isolated during the pandemic.

    You will pick an area of interest or expertise that you would like to share with others and develop it into a series of six sessions. You will be matched with up to five people aged 50+ who share this interest and who want to meet others.

    Your topic could be arts and crafts, ‘knit and natter’, football memories, teaching languages or a musical instrument, creative writing, quizzes, painting or sketching. You may simply want to run a conversation group based around certain themes of participants’ choice, for example ‘music in the 50s’, ‘crime book club’ or ‘seasonal gardening tips’.

    We know there are potential volunteers out there who would be perfect for this role. We are also expecting quite a lot of interest in this project, as it offers the chance to develop valuable skills in group leadership and facilitation. If that person is you then get in touch with our Connect project worker and find out more today!!

    Midlothian Volunteer Awards 2021: Nominations are NOW OPEN!

    We are super excited to announce that the nominations for this year’s Volunteers’ Week Awards are now open! The 2021 awards are shaping up to be extra special because they will celebrate volunteering activity from both before and during the pandemic. 

    Categories for nomination include: Outstanding New Volunteer, Befriender/Mentor of the Year, Active Volunteering, Health and Wellbeing, Dedicated Service to Volunteering, Volunteer Manager of the Year and the Saltire Summit Award.

    The winners of the 2019 awards, which were held at Newbattle Abbey College.

    A brand-new category has also been introduced for 2021 to acknowledge community-led volunteering that occurred in response to Covid-19. This category will be open to nominations from members of the public in Midlothian who want to recognise local volunteers that have made an outstanding effort in their communities over the last 12 months. We can’t wait to see the nominations flying in! They are open for a three-week period until the end of March, so spread the word through your networks and get thinking as to who you might want to put forward for an award. 

    More information about how to nominate and the link to the nominations form can be found on our Volunteers’ Week FAQ’s page. We will also be releasing a video guide to the awards later on in the week, so look out for that, particularly if you prefer to listen rather than read.

    Good luck! If you’ve any questions, get in touch by emailing info@volunteermidlothian.org.uk

    Midlothian Volunteers’ Week Awards – Nominations Open NEXT WEEK!

    Volunteer Midlothian is thrilled to announce that the nominations for this year’s Volunteers’ Week Awards will be opening next Monday after an unplanned hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 awards are shaping up to be extra special because they will celebrate volunteering activity from both before and during the pandemic. 

    Categories for nomination will include: Outstanding New Volunteer, Befriender/Mentor of the Year, Active Volunteering, Health and Wellbeing, Dedicated Service to Volunteering, Volunteer Manager of the Year and the Saltire Summit Award.

    A brand-new category has also been introduced for 2021 to acknowledge the community-led volunteering that has occurred in response to Covid-19. This category will be open to nominations from members of the public who want to recognise and reward local volunteers that have ‘gone the extra mile’ over the last 12 months. We can’t wait to see the nominations flying in! They are open for a three-week period until the end of March, so spread the word and get your thinking caps on as to who you might want to put forward for an award. 

    More info about the awards can be found on our Volunteers’ Week FAQ’s page. The link for the nominations form will be activated on Monday 8th June at 12 p.m. We will also be releasing a video guide to the awards next week, so look out for that as well.


    Volunteer Midlothian receives funding boost from Befriending Networks

    We are really pleased to share the news that Volunteer Midlothian recently received some funding from Befriending Networks to help boost the number of volunteers who take part in our various befriending projects.

    Volunteer Midlothian has several befriending projects: ‘Transform’, an intergenerational befriending project, ‘Connect’, which aims to reduce social isolation among members of the older population in Midlothian and also ‘Connect Online’, which matches a learner with a volunteer who can support them with digital skills.  

    Befriending Networks logo

    As well as recruiting new volunteers, the funding will also be used to pilot new volunteer opportunities, with a new focus on the creation of online groups to be facilitated by volunteers with particular interests and expertise. This could include for example a music group or a craft group. Volunteers will receive training in group facilitation and online safeguarding, as well as the use of digital technology, widening their skills and knowledge around how to support and include people by using different methods of engagement. The online groups will be open to people in Midlothian who would benefit from having more social connectivity. At the moment all activity is online, though in future we hope some of the groups may be able to happen ‘face to face’.

    Keep an eye out for further updates when the project is fully underway – we’ll be looking for more volunteers and clients, so get in touch with Naomi if you are interested in finding out more. Also, a very big thank you to Befriending Networks for helping to make these new developments possible.

    Connect with Burns in 2021!

    Rabbie Burns – Scotland’s National Bard

    Three very talented volunteers from Volunteer Midlothian made our online Burns celebration this week an especially enjoyable evening for all involved. They joined staff and volunteers from our Connect and Connect Online projects to celebrate Scotland’s favourite national poet and share some of their own thoughts on being Scottish.

    Raj created an homage to Scotland in the form of his videos ‘Our Adopted Land’ and ‘Rabbie Burns – My Take on the Bard’, which are also available on You Tube.  We played some snippets of both, before having fun describing our favourite Scottish words (such as ‘scunnered’) and favourite Scottish places. Midlothian of course got a few mentions. A short quiz on Burns and Scotland followed, so we all learned something new. Anyone know what ‘Partan Bree’ is? 

    Mary treated us to a passionate recital of Tam O’ Shanter with edited highlights. “Weel done Cutty Sark!” Bruce then entertained us with Scottish and Burns songs including ‘Caledonia’ and of course ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to close the event. 

    Many thanks to our brilliant volunteers who contributed and attended. If you’re interested in getting involved with the Connect project, or Connect Online, contact Naomi Knights, our befriending co-ordinator.

    Videos: Scotland and Burns

    Saltire criteria update

    You may recall that at the start of the pandemic Saltire allowed young people to claim informal volunteering hours until August 2021. This arrangement still applies until the end of March 2021. Up to 100 hours of informal volunteering can be accredited.

    If you know a young person who has been doing any informal volunteering (e.g. walking a neighbour’s dog whilst they are shielding, or food shopping for an elderly person) please encourage them to add these hours to their Saltire account or go to the Saltire Awards website to register and claim the hours for certification.

    Saltire Awards are great to have on a CV when looking for employment and are also an excellent way for young people to demonstrate their contribution and help others!