• Category: Volunteer Midlothian

    Anam Cara – Empowering and Supporting Women

    Anam Cara is a charity run by women, for women, in East and Midlothian. They offer a programme of workshops aimed at empowering and supporting women to improve their wellbeing by learning how to develop better self-care and coping mechanisms. Anam Cara is motivated by its three core values of compassion, courage and connection, which run through all of the projects and activities that the organisation provides.

    Anam Cara helps women who are at risk of slipping through the net of other services that can help them, therefore missing out on the support they need. This can include women in unpaid caring roles, those with substance use issues or other health and wellbeing issues that they need additional support to deal with. Their approach is forward thinking and non-judgemental, with a focus on prevention, harm reduction and early intervention to support the mental health needs of women, particularly those from more vulnerable or deprived communities. As such, Anam Cara was well placed to receive a grant in Year 1 of the Midlothian Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund.

    The organisation successfully obtained £8,456 from the Fund to put towards salary and equipment costs for peer support activities with women, including monthly meet-ups and extended one-to-one support that had initially taken root during the first lockdown. In Autumn 2022, we checked in with Marion and Karyn from Anam Cara to see how their projects were developing.

    What goes on at Anam Cara?

    Every woman who comes to Anam Cara is invited to take a 4-week wellbeing course consisting of live workshops plus access to around 70 online short videos covering a wide range of topics. The videos were a more recent addition aimed at reducing barriers to participation due to information retention difficulties and poor attention span among some participants. They have proved very useful for practicing wellbeing skills in short bursts and have allowed participants much greater flexibility in their uptake of Anam Cara’s services.

    “The online wellbeing videos are like a medicine cabinet of information. They give you the chance to develop and revisit these skills and keep on top of your mental health.”

    Karyn, lead volunteer with Anam Cara and Midlothian Volunteer of the Year 2022.

    Women are also encouraged to repeat the course 1-2 years after initially completing it, because Anam Cara know how useful it is to receive support over a longer period, as life evolves and different challenges come to the fore. They understand that someone may come back to Anam Cara and learn something new, not only due to personal circumstances but because the course itself is constantly being reviewed and improved.

    The Sanctuary

    The community orientated focus of the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund links particularly well to Anam Cara’s core value of connection. The grant enabled Anam Cara to develop their Sanctuary drop-in service, where women needing a sense of connection and togetherness with other women have a safe and welcoming space to meet. The Sanctuary offers refresher workshops for women who have already completed Anam Cara’s main programme of workshops, allowing them another chance to practice the mindfulness and wellbeing techniques they learned initially. This is especially important as the programme relies on continued engagement in order to be most effective.

    Within the Sanctuary, there are a variety of activities on offer including aromatherapy, holistic healing work, dance classes and more. Each of these activities is centred around improving and preserving good mental health and aims to give women the social connection they need to develop a sense of belonging. Feedback from participants has shown that attending workshops helps women to feel less isolated and alone, whilst also encouraging them to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining when looking after their mental health. Women coming to workshops show positive differences in their outlook even from week one.

    Maria, the founder of Anam Cara, believes that this is a result of the organisation’s services being comparatively unique, in that they allow women to gather and support each other in ways that derive from a place of personal experience. There is a very low drop-out rate at Anam Cara, suggesting that its services are not only empowering and inspiring, but effective. Women are learning to reflect on their mental processes, how their minds work, and why they behave the ways they do. They are learning to respond to unhealthy behaviours with better choices, enabling them to move forward and make significant changes in their lives.

    “Anam Cara was my only open door. It has strengthened my wellbeing, opened mental pathways, and helped me to develop a safety net to support and protect me. Women here are learning to embrace life and learn tools for their future. It is so important for women to have an option like this that doesn’t just involve hospitals or medication but focusses on togetherness and wellbeing as well.”

    Karyn

    Future Plans

    Moving forward, Anam Cara would like to develop a service focussing specifically on women in later life. Maria had noticed that women in the 45+ age group were going through major life changes, often stepping into unpaid caring roles for elderly parents, whilst dealing with the stress of family life, menopause and sometimes finding themselves using alcohol or other substances to cope – sometimes also working into their 60s or even 70’s. Addressing this unique set of challenges alongside older women is a key future goal for Anam Cara.

    Anam Cara are also looking to expand their bank of volunteers to accommodate the increasing need for befriending calls, and to potentially offer the Sanctuary up to women to run themselves as an independent project for users of the service. It all sounds really priomising and we can’t wait to see how Anam Cara develops this work in future. It’s fantastic to see that alongside the other grants they receive, the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund has enabled continued development of this valuable local organisation for women in Midlothian.

    MAEDT Really Makes It

    MAEDT is a community development trust dedicated to creating opportunities and improving outcomes for the local community of Mayfield and Easthouses. A key value of the Trust is to work towards alleviating poverty. With that goal in mind, MAEDT runs a wide range of different projects that share one key thing in common: the creation of long-term solutions for local people.

    MAEDT has been running since 2007 and new projects are continuously being introduced, including the Community Food Pantry which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. As well as the pantry, MAEDT runs and hosts projects including a school uniform bank, debt and energy clinics, drop-in sessions with the local Citizens Advice Bureau, employability support, a men’s mental health group, a kinship carers group and a ‘wheelbeing’ hub for bicycle repairs and socialising. Central to these groups and projects is MAEDT’s pavilion, community garden and café, where a hub of different activities take place on a daily basis, come rain or shine.

    MAEDT’s Pantry and Pavilion

    Over the last 2 years, MAEDT saw how the pandemic increased unemployment and food bank referrals in the Mayfield and Easthouses area. Wanting to focus on reducing food poverty and improving people’s access to healthy food, MAEDT introduced a community food pantry. ‘The Pantry’ is a shop where food items are marked as either 1 or 2 credits each, and shoppers can buy 10 credits for £3.50. In addition to the credits, members are offered free fresh fruit and vegetables, sanitary products and bakery items.

    To shop at the Pantry, individuals must become members. This free requirement helps to create a sense of equality among staff and users, so that people can be open about what they need and when they need it. The get-to-know-you membership model has helped people to feel comfortable in sharing personal stories about their mental health, challenges within their home life and stressors they are experiencing. It has become a hub where trust between local people can grow.

    The Pantry helps to remove the stigma associated with accessing free and discounted food, providing resources that are much needed in a dignified and empowering way. Rather than feeling shame about not being able to afford food or cook from scratch with it, members are encouraged to broaden their cooking knowledge, introduce new flavours and be imaginative with healthy ingredients. Additionally, buying more affordable food from The Pantry means that members can put money towards other essentials such as energy bills, making this a service that helps in more ways than one.

    The outside space at MAEDT’s ‘Pavilion’ hub underpins a lot of their work. Gardening activities act as vehicles for volunteering, community payback and rehabilitation. Using the garden in these ways is a non-stigmatising option for people belonging to vulnerable groups and can help them to better manage their own wellbeing. Moreover, the garden offers a safe space for people to improve their mental health by making connections with others, their community, and with nature. Local women Sharon Hill, who is also the manager at MAEDT, explained to us that individuals volunteering together at the Pavilion learn to bring out skills in one another, for example using maths to plot out a garden project, or conversation skills to engage with other volunteers who may find socialising difficult.

    All of our volunteers offer something unique; a skill, knowledge or vulnerability that can help bring out something in another person.

    Sharon Hill, MAEDT Manager.

    How was the Fund used?

    Part of the grant that MAEDT received from the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund was used to pay for MAEDT’s Enterprise Development Worker, so that the Pavillion could open more often. The funding also paid for a structure in the garden called a Polycrub, as well as a pergola, making the expansion of gardening projects for volunteers possible.

    What next?

    MAEDT is always looking to the future and thinking about what the community in Mayfield and Easthouses will need next. Aside from the impending cost of living crisis and responding to what looks set to be a difficult winter, ideas for upcoming projects include a sensory park, an electronic rickshaw, and collaboration with partner organisations to embed the pantry model in other areas. For other places in Midlothian to set up their own pantry initiative, a large, centralised project would need to be organised to ensure that food is being dispersed equally. Sharon’s idea would be to use MEADT’s Pavilion as the central location for donations, and to use it as a network hub for distribution.

    Reaching this point has taken several years of hard work from MAEDT volunteers and those who work for the organisation in a paid capacity, but it certainly seems as though all the hard work has been worth it. We applaud the team for their worthwhile efforts, and we look forward to supporting the Trust with its ongoing development in the years ahead.

    Bonnyrigg Rose Community Football Club: Championing Football and Mental Health

    Bonnyrigg Rose Community FC (CFC) is a football club that is gaining recognition for its work championing mental health and wellbeing in Midlothian. As such, it was one of four local charities to receive a larger grant from the Midlothian Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund in 2022. A total of £36,884 was awarded via Midlothian Third Sector Interface to enable the ongoing development of services for local people, including peer support groups, mental health training courses and refurbishments to the club’s community hub building.

    The way the BRCFC’s staff and trustees see it, football and mental health are deeply inter-connected. It wasn’t always this way however, because prior to 2019 the club’s main concern had been to ensure that its ageing astro-pitch was replaced. Community programmes were seen as being important, but up until that point they had been viewed as more of a side project to football related activities.

    A pivotal moment came when the club held a special one-off community event in the summer of 2019, with the input of Midlothian Council’s Communities and Lifelong Learning team. At the event local people were asked about what their town needed and what they wanted from the club, by completing a survey tool known as the ‘Place Standard’. The responses gathered highlighted that Bonnyrigg lacked groups and activities for older people, as well as needing more targeted opportunities for young people. It also became clear that the club had the potential to play a role in championing grassroots mental health initiatives. This meant moving beyond a focus on sport alone, embedding themes such as wellbeing and connectedness more deeply throughout the club’s community programmes.

    Trish Sime (Development Manager) and Jim Wilson (General Manager).

    Since 2019 the club has worked with organisations such as Health in Mind to expand the delivery of initiatives including ‘Midlothian Men Matter’. BRCFC’s premises also provides space for several groups which help to reduce loneliness and isolation among local people. Given the high rates of suicide among young men in Scotland and the club’s ability to reach this target group through football and sport, an key date in the calendar for Bonnyrigg Rose is Suicide Prevention Week, which takes place every year in September. To raise awareness of this issue, the club has hosted free Mental Health First Aid training for anyone in Midlothian with an interest in attending. Group based coaching work with younger men who are struggling to cope has also been a feature of the club’s provision over the past 18 months, alongside school-based wellbeing programmes, yoga, free counselling and peer support activities.

    We caught up with Trish Sime (Development Manager) and Jim Wilson (General Manager), a few months after they received the club’s grant from the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund, to find out what has been achieved so far. Trish and Jim explained that the Fund has given them more freedom to continue linking football and mental health together by giving them additional resources – including core staffing hours – to focus in on progressing their plans for more community-based provision. Knowing that physical space is a particularly important resource and in short supply, the club got to work quickly in using their capital grant to replace old windows in the community hub building, making it a warmer and more welcoming facility. By investing in physical spaces where people can connect with each other more, the club is paving the way for further investments in community mental health and wellbeing.

    Having charted the huge efforts made by BRCFC to support mental health and wellbeing in Midlothian, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) found that the impact of community participation in the club was worth an amazing £3.95 million. This commendable achievement is underpinned by UEFA’s commitment to support the club and its activities in the longer term, helping to build an even stronger foundation for the involvement of the community in helping to decide on future priorities (not just those that related to football)

    Speaking about the connection between sport, community and mental health, Trish Sime told us:

    “Sport brings people together. Through teamwork and a positive attitude, relationships are fostered, and trust is created. People rely on their teammates, friends, and peers to help them through challenges – both on the field and off. Using the power of football and sport in general to talk openly about mental health and to break the stigma is positive, and it’s the right thing to do.”

    Trish Sime

    We couldn’t say it better than that, and we’re keen to see what comes next for the club because the future for BRCFC looks bright. You can follow BRCFC on Twitter or check out the main BRFC club website for more info about what they are up to.

    Midlothian Third Sector Interface Communications Internship

    £9.50 per hour in line with the national living wage.
    21 hours / 3 days per week. Hours can be worked flexibly provided two days are spent in the Dalkeith office each week.

    This post will allow the successful applicant to develop their professional skills in communications.

    It would particularly suit a graduate who is considering a career in communications, marketing and/or the third sector. As part of the role, training and guidance will be given about the third sector in Scotland and how Midlothian Third Sector Interface (TSI) works. The post holder will also be encouraged to attend courses from Midlothian Voluntary Action’s annual training programme, plus other opportunities from local and national providers such as Business Gateway, Just Enterprise and SCVO.

    The internship will be a chance to learn and understand more about the local third sector in Scotland, including how charities are run and governed, volunteering and social enterprise. There will be the chance to work on events, provision of training, social media, website development, Google analytics, design/infographics and copywriting.

    Candidates can only view the vacancy once they have been accepted into the GCAS Talent pool. Job Reference GCAS492.

    Closing date 5pm on 29 November 2022.

    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

    Covid-19  

    • 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