Community volunteers recognised

Winners have been chosen and prizes handed out at the celebration of the Grampian Volunteer Transport Awards.

The awards began back in 2014 and recognise the work carried out by volunteers across the North East. Categories included Volunteer Driver, Volunteer Escort and Community Contribution of the year for an organisation.

John Clegg was voted Volunteer Driver of the year. John has been volunteering with Fraserburgh Visually Impaired Support Group for over 21 years providing an essential service for local people. He was described in his nomination as “that ‘one in a million’ special person”. The group offers social and emotional support to people with serious sight loss; the members really value the support offered by the group and many describe it as a 'lifeline'. The nomination went on to say “John is always positive, courteous and caring. He has an impeccable manner with members, other volunteers and staff alike and everyone trusts him and feels safe with him”.

Volunteer Escort of the Year was awarded to Janice Laing who has been volunteering her time as a passenger assistant twice a week for over four years with Banffshire Partnership Limited. Janice was nominated because “she is extremely friendly and helpful. She goes the extra mile and has even gone shopping for clients when they have been unfit to make the journey themselves.”

Anita Milne accepted the Community Contribution of the Year award on behalf of the Moray Transport Forum. That nomination said “Anita works tirelessly all year long promoting rural transport as issue. She was instrumental in getting a grant of £5000 to set up a Saturday bus service to three rural villages. She deserves the award for the services she gives freely and for the major improvement in community transport that Moray Transport Forum has achieved”.

Andrew Stewart, Health and Transport Action Plan Programme Manager said “Many vulnerable people rely on volunteer transport services to help them access health and social care. The recent awards have highlighted the significant efforts of those already providing voluntary community transport. All the Health and Action Transport Plan (HTAP) partners supporting the awards are pleased to create a platform for celebrating this important sector”.

Each winner was awarded a £200 high street voucher donated by sponsors First Aberdeen and Stagecoach North East.

The awards are supported by:

• Aberdeen City Council

• Aberdeenshire Council

• Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations

• Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action

• Community Transport Association Scotland

• First Aberdeen

• Moray Council

• Nestrans

• NHS Grampian

• Scottish Ambulance Service

• Stagecoach North Scotland

• tsiMoray

The awards support the Grampian-wide Health and Transport Action Plan.