Volunteers are the ‘beating heart’ of our communities

Some of the winners at the annual CVS Falkirk awards ceremony with Provost Pat Reid and host Gordon Samson. Picture: Bill Miller Falkirk
Some of the winners at the annual CVS Falkirk awards ceremony with Provost Pat Reid and host Gordon Samson. Picture: Bill Miller Falkirk

The work of the district’s army of volunteers was recognised at a glittering ceremony for the annual CVS awards this week.

There were a massive 342 nominations in the 17th awards ceremony held at Polmont’s Macdonald Inchyra hotel on Monday evening to pay tribute to the individual volunteers and third sector organisations who help others and make our communities a batter place.

Grandmother Margaret Paton’s work with the Laurieston Old Folk’s Welfare Association, and 43 years of dedication to the community itself, saw her receive the Provost’s Lifetime Achievement Award and a Long Service Award.

Margaret said: “I’m so proud to have won this award and actually quite excited!”

Nathan Sinclair, who volunteers with Re-Union Canal Boats, was awarded Volunteer of the Year for the support he has offered to his fellow volunteers and the charity in the variety of roles he undertakes, as well as the wide range of practical skills he brings to those roles.

Nathan said he never expected to win the award. “Re-Union has done so much for me, this means a lot.”

The Rainbow Muslim Women’s Group, an organisation which provides social and educational opportunities for women and their children from ethnic minority backgrounds, was named Volunteer Engaging Organisation of the Year.

Volunteer Samina Ali said: “We’re extremely happy and proud of this achievement. We now feel motivated to do more and help all those in our community and we’d like to thank CVS Falkirk for allowing us to be recognised for our work.”

Volunteers of all ages attended, from schoolchildren to college students, to the veterans who have given their time to communities for 30 and 40 years.

The night was hosted by Gordon Samson with Provost Pat Reid presenting the awards. Guest speaker was last year’s young volunteer of the year Fraser Johnston.

The Provost said volunteering plays an often vital part in all areas of the community. “Without volunteers,” he said, “the heart of Falkirk doesn’t exist – and they keep it beating.”

Karen Herbert, CEO of CVS Falkirk, said: “It’s an honour to host the awards ceremony every year and see so many volunteers recognised for their contributions.”

“Our communities rely on volunteers, on their hard work and that they give up their free time to improve other people’s lives. It wouldn’t be right not to say thank you in some way.”