• Category: Nominee

    Jim Hiddleston

    Nominated by: Wellbeing Essentials

    Jim Hiddleston is a long-standing and well-known volunteer in the Roslyn area, however his recent involvement with the new social enterprise ‘Wellbeing Essentials’ has included some incredible work during the latter stages of the Covid pandemic. As part of this project Jim helped to drive forward eight different new start-up initiatives throughout 2021 including the Roslin Rustie Walk, Roslin’s Loving Local Now and Rosslyn Community Bowling Club. Jim’s contributions have made a big impact in Roslin and he is a very valued member of the local community.

    Ageing Well volunteer Team

    The Aging Well Volunteer Team have done a tremendous job this year supporting people over the age of 50 – many with long term health conditions – to lead a more active lifestyle. Throughout Midlothian the volunteers offer 45 activities each week including health walks, new age curling, dance and other sports. The peer support they provide is key to the success of Ageing Well. All 58 volunteers act as valuable role models to encourage others to take better care of their own health and wellbeing. Volunteers are very loyal to the project and one has been with the project from the very beginning, for 22 years! With over 4000 hours given to the project in the past year alone, Ageing Well volunteers are a dedicated, enthusiastic group of very special people.

    Nominated by: Ageing Well Midlothian

    Lynn Pillans

    Nominated by: Rosewell Development Trust

    Lynn Pillans is a gardening volunteer who supports various projects at The Steading and in the surrounding areas of Rosewell. Lynn welcomes new gardening volunteers and is always thinking of ways the experience can be enjoyable and inclusive for all. As a former landscape gardener, she happily passes on her knowledge to others. Lynn was instrumental in developing a sensory garden for the community with raised beds and scented/tactile planting. Other volunteers are always excited to see what ideas she comes up with. Her latest additions to The Steading include a living wall, a living picture and a very creative planting arrangement incorporating a step ladder.

    Justyna Rachowska

    Nominated by: Health In Mind, Peer Connecting Black and Minority Ethnic Communities, East and Midlothian

    Justyna Rachowska joined Peer Connecting Black and Minority Ethnic Service (Health In Mind) in 2018. She not only provided companionship and emotional support, but engaged people in their local communities, helping them to increase their confidence and find their feet. Justyna has a great understanding of cultural and language barriers. She is adaptable, passionate, motivated, helpful, empathetic, and proactive. She always has a positive attitude and is there ready to provide support in different ways. Over the years she has helped many Health in Mind clients integrate with local communities so that they can make friends and feel accepted. Her input has made a huge difference to others.

    Agnieszka Czarnecka

    Nominated by: Health In Mind, Peer Connecting Back and Minority Ethnic

    Agnieszka Czarnecka joined Peer Connecting, Black and Minority Ethnic (Health In Mind) in 2019. Since then, she has supported several different people with protected characteristics, offering emotional support, signposting them to other services and helping them to connect with others in their local community. During the pandemic she provided telephone support to people who were isolated and in need, giving her time very generously to ensure that nobody was left behind. Agnieszka is a very caring and empathetic person. Her input has helped people to feel welcome in Midlothian and she is a very valued member of the team at Health in Mind.

    Anna Maxwell

    Nominated by: Home Link Family Support

    Anna is one the youngest Volunteers at Home Link Family support.  She began her training with us in May 2021, and was placed with her first family just 6 months later, to focus her support on the emotional wellbeing of a mother who cares for her two children with additional needs, whilst having her own health challenges. Anna has been supporting this mother on a weekly basis by phone or face-to-face meetings ever since.  These occasions provide an opportunity for this mother to share her thoughts and feelings, about the various challenges and experiences she has had during the previous seven days.  She has supported this Mum impeccably, and listened and responded to Mum’s concerns, health issues, returning to work worries, and anything else that Mum has wanted to discuss with her.  Anna has responded to her emotional needs and encouraged her to keep going when things are tough.

    Yvonne Carruthers

    Nominated by: Meal Makers (Food Train Scotland)

    Yvonne Carruthers is a Meal Makers volunteer cook. Her role is to cook an extra portion of her home-made meal and share that with her diner, an older person in her local community. This means access to better nutrition and helps to prevent malnutrition for the recipient. In doing so, Yvonne also provides companionship, friendship, and a means to assess the need for any additional support. Yvonne and her dog Lily have been paired with Moira since September 2017, originally cooking for Moira’s husband Bill as well, until his death, sadly, in 2019. During the pandemic Yvonne also supported a second diner for four months, as well as making check-in calls to 15 diners to help prevent loneliness and isolation. The general expected time spent with a diner is 30 minutes, but Yvonne often spends a lot more than this, giving Moira her undivided attention.

    Midlothian Community Hospital Garden Volunteer Team

    Nominated by: Cyrenians

    Midlothian Hospital Garden Volunteer Team has been active for the past 10 years and has helped to create a beautiful space for people, wildlife and the environment whilst actively tackling climate change in the process. The team is a mix of people with different backgrounds which has developed into positive relationships based around nurturing others, patience, and self-belief. Over the years the team has evolved to a steady 25-30 active volunteers at any given time, with over 200 people playing their part since the project began. Within the team, it is lovely to see relationships grow naturally, just like our plants and vegetables in the hospital garden.

    Neil Watson

    Nominated by: Mayfield/Lawfield/Tynewater ASC

    Neil Watson has been volunteering for around 9 years as a play worker with Mayfield, Lawfield and Tynewater After School Club. Neil has an amazing rapport with the children, who all adore him, and is a great support to the staff and club. He has dedicated hundreds of hours of his own time to help out each week, assisting during the holidays and attending holiday club trips. Neil has been very generous with his time and other resources to help keep the organisation running smoothly. He is a valued member of the team at the club and the children are always pleased to see him on a Friday afternoon.

    Josie Pople

    Nominated by: Health in Mind – Midlothian Services Manager

    Josie Pople is a volunteer peer group facilitator delivering online creative art spaces using Zoom. She also co-facilitates a creative arts and wellbeing group alongside Heath in Mind’s arts, greenspace, and active development worker. Josie has volunteered in several roles for 4 years with the organisation. Her volunteering has included co-facilitating community groups at various community venues in Midlothian. She has not been afraid to challenge where she feels groups and activities are not as effective as they could be. Josie is always thoughtful and encouraging, and has provided consistent support to other volunteers and staff members. Josie is an outstanding asset with her continued insight and positive influence.

    Shona Hart

    Nominated by: Breastfeeding Cafe, Auchendinny

    Shona Hart began volunteering at Breastfeeding’s Cafe in May 2021, a few weeks following the birth of her own baby. Shona has given a huge amount of her time to support mothers to establish breastfeeding and overcome significant challenges. She has helped more than 60 families in the past 10 months, giving several hours a month of her time during her precious maternity leave. She is warm and welcoming, offers non-judgmental support and has encouraged other new mothers to become members of the project as she demonstrates the value of community support in the promotion of health and well-being. She is so deserving of an award for her valuable input.

    Sarah Davidson

    Nominated by: Cyrerians Midlothian Community Garden

    Sarah Davidson is a volunteer at the Midlothian Community Garden. She gives her time as a Garden Buddy providing support to people who have been referred to the project because they are isolated or marginalised. Garden buddy pairs work on a range of different activities that can vary in levels of physicality and complexity. Sarah’s input with her ‘buddy’ resulted in that person developing improved confidence, self-worth, and new gardening skills/knowledge, which are all great achievements. Sarah shows calmness, patience and understanding when supporting others. She is described as a ‘lovely selfless soul’ who deserves recognition for her commitment to volunteering.

    Hazel Murray

    Nominated by: NHS Lothian

    Hazel Murray has had two volunteering roles with NHS Lothian. In both roles, Hazel has made a significant weekly commitment to support vulnerable individuals and carers who are at risk of isolation. Initially she worked within the Fancy a Blether befriending project. She then helped to launch Carer Relief Companions, which helps to relieve carer stress by giving the opportunity for time away from caring responsibilities. Hazel has attended peer support and learning sessions with other  volunteers to share her experience. She also contributed to the development of NHS Lothian’s new volunteering strategy. She is always keen to raise awareness of projects and to help with recruiting new volunteers. She is a fantastic volunteer! 

    Louise Gough

    Nominated by: Friends of Saltersgate School

    Throughout lockdown Louise and her family collected surplus food from multiple locations and arranged delivery of food packages to Bright Sparks families in the local area. Although Louise had intended to step back from her role in recent months, she continues to volunteer and organise activities for members and their families. Louise facilitated Zoom support groups during lockdown, as well as organising a range of different activities for both the children and the carers involved in Bright Sparks. The team wouldn’t want to be without her and the Bright Sparks families feel the same. She is always looking for new opportunities to support families and is a very dedicated volunteer.

    Food Facts Friends, Penicuik – Mark Wells and his team

    Nominated by: Beeslack Community High School

    The Food Facts Friends team’s focus is to provide support for people experiencing food poverty. Without these volunteers the work of the organisation could not continue. Before The Pantry opens, this busy team of volunteers prepare the rota for the day, receive deliveries and stack shelves, checking dates, labels and weighing bags/boxes. They also complete paperwork, fill fridges and freezers with donated food and prepare food parcels – sometimes till 10pm at night. The volunteers have great empathy for the people that attend. They have faced many challenges since the project opened, but have continued to work together to develop their skills and support hundreds of families during the Covid recovery period.