• Tag: 2021

    Anam Cara Befriending Volunteers

    Nominated by: Anam Cara

    The Anam Cara team provided a befriending service to female participants from Anam Cara who were experiencing stress, anxiety and isolation during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. This particularly dedicated team of volunteers, many of whom have their own lived experience of mental health issues, provided telephone support and signposting services to over 30 women as part of the initiative. All those who were supported gave outstanding feedback about the service that they had received and the positive impact of volunteer input on their mental wellbeing. 

    Ageing Well Volunteers

    Nominated by: Ageing Well (Midlothian Council)

    During the pandemic the Ageing Well volunteers continued to offer outdoor activities whilst also telephoning round their regular groups to ensure everyone was coping during lockdown. They contacted over 600 Ageing Well participants, offering them advice and help as needed. They also did one-to-one walks when group activities were off and regularly called participants who were living on their own. Several participants acknowledged the dedication of these volunteers in feedback questionnaires and found their calls uplifting.

    Dalkeith Guerrilla Gardeners

    Nominated by: Dalkeith and District Community Council

    Dalkeith Guerrilla Gardeners look after neglected public spaces in and around Dalkeith by weeding, planting and maintaining them. All year round, they plant native species, construct bee-friendly beds, and ensure shrubbery and bushes can be enjoyed by the public. In doing so they have really made a difference to the landscape of Dalkeith. They encourage residents of all ages and gardening abilities to meet on a weekly basis. All they ask is that people bring along gloves and a weeding tool, if they have them, and lots of enthusiasm!

    Andrew Love

    Nominated by: CAPS Collective Advocacy

    Andrew volunteers with CAPS Collective Advocacy, using his own lived experience of mental health issues to teach others about why mental health is such an important topic. He shares his experience to broaden understandings of what it is like to live with a mental health condition and works tirelessly to campaign against stigma. What’s more, he has been involved in shaping the redesign and delivery of mental health services at both a local and national level. Andrew is an amazing person who also gives his time to the Thistle Foundation as a peer volunteer, organising and facilitating online wellbeing sessions.

    Mirabelle Maslin

    Nominated by: Roslin and Bilston Community Council

    Mirabelle has been an active community councillor in Roslin & Bilston for some 6 years. She also represents Roslin and Bilston as one of 16 councils at the Federation of Community Councils in Midlothian. In addition to being a brilliant community councillor, Mirabelle litter picks every week in the Roslin Glen Road near Powdermill. This area regrettably suffers from excessive litter and Mirabelle has become a well-known figure, regularly doing her best to clear the debris and even unblock drains.

    Holly Gibb

    Nominated by: Breastfeeding Network UK

    Holly Gibb is a trained breastfeeding peer supporter and walk leader. She founded the Breastfeeding Café in Auchendinny in 2014, creating a place for breastfeeding women to come together for support on their breastfeeding journey. When the pandemic prevented face-to-face breastfeeding support groups, Holly quickly made plans for support to instead be provided virtually. She also trained up as a Paths for All Walk Leader and was heavily involved in the creation of the Walk, Talk and Feed group, which has been a valuable source of support for women in Midlothian during lockdown.

    Rebecca Lewis

    Nominated by: Newbattle Abbey Community Woodland Ranger Service

    The Riverfly on the Esk Project involves sampling the South Esk river and looking at aquatic invertebrates to monitor water quality. Rebecca is involved with carrying out monthly surveys but also coordinates the other volunteer surveyors across three survey sites. She is looking to expand this scheme to include new sites along the North and South Esk rivers, and has also qualified as a volunteer trainer so she could share her expertise with other local surveyors. She is very enthusiastic – such a dedicated volunteer! She really drives the project forward.

    Colin Pow

    Nominated by: Health in Mind

    Colin provides one to one telephone support on a weekly basis for two people with mental health and addiction issues. He also attends a variety of Zoom groups and offers peer support to everyone who attends. Colin has gone out of his way to be welcoming and encouraging to people who are new to the groups. He has made a tremendous difference to the lives of the people he supports, especially those he engages with on a one-to-one basis.

    Amanda Gillespie

    Nominated by: Home Link Family Support

    Amanda is a volunteer befriender with Home Link Family Support (HLFS) who has supported two families this year. The one she has supported the longest has complex and changing needs but she has responded to this very flexibly. Amanda has had to adapt her support throughout this year of Covid lockdowns – she has visited and conducted socially distanced walks (when allowed), offered weekly phone contact and responded effectively to provide support in a very ‘family centred’ way. We applaud her for her excellent work with HLFS.

    Alzheimer Scotland Volunteer Telephone Companions

    Nominated by: Alzheimer Scotland

    Alzheimer Scotland Volunteer Telephone Companions make phone and video calls to people living with dementia and their carers in Midlothian. Each volunteer calls between 1-6 people on a weekly basis, helping to reduce social isolation and providing a meaningful, stimulating relationship. The volunteers have been a consistent point of contact, connection and care that has improved people’s mood, stimulated their mind, and safeguarded their general wellbeing throughout the pandemic so far.

    Beth Fyfe Falconer

    Nominated by: Volunteer Midlothian – Transform

    Connect Online provides digital support to older people, helping them navigate technology, maintain independence, keep in touch and feel part of things. Transform is a project for young volunteers with the aim of increasing their confidence and enhancing their employability prospects. During lockdown, Volunteer Midlothian brought these two projects together to achieve a more intergenerational focus. Soon afterwards Beth came forward as a digital champion. She attends groups every week to share her research and give guidance to the Connect Online project about new and emerging technologies. Beth has proven herself to be an outstanding and very committed young volunteer over the past 12 months.

    Katrina Drennan

    Nominated by: Penicuik Ambassadors

    Katrina is one of the volunteers who got involved with the Penicuik Ambassadors at the beginning of the pandemic as a shopper, befriender and prescription collector. She also co-leads for Penicuik Community Mask Makers, who make and deliver free fabric masks, and has supported the Penicuik Community Events Team in distributing Santa letters to local children. She’s had an amazing impact over the past 12 months and has proven herself to be a highly valued member of the local community in Penicuik.

    Kathryn Gordon

    Nominated by: Home Link Family Support

    Kate is one of Home Link Family Support’s (HLFS) team of volunteer befrienders. She is currently supporting an HLFS client to improve their spoken English skills via weekly bespoke Zoom lessons. Kate’s careful preparation and partnership with the client have been outstanding, leading to improved confidence and employability for the person concerned.