A celebration of volunteers and volunteering across Dumfries & Galloway at region’s fourth annual VOSCARS
Volunteers from across Dumfries & Galloway gathered at the Baptist Church Centre in Dumfries last night (June 7) for the fourth annual Dumfries and Galloway Third Sector Volunteer Awards – the VOSCARS.
The winners from the first ever district ‘heats’ in Wigtownshire, Stewartry, Nithsdale and Annandale & Eskdale, earlier in the week were in the running for 14 category awards and three overall titles.
This year, the event, hosted by Lee Medd, which rounded off Volunteers’ Week in the region, had a strong emphasis on young people, marking Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, with several new categories for 12 to 25-year-olds.
Guest speaker for the evening was Dumfries & Galloway Council Young People’s Champion, Councillor Adam Wilson, who said: “I believe that volunteers are the foundations of our community. Without volunteers, our communities would suffer.
“We cannot thank our volunteers enough for the remarkable work that takes place right across the region.”
Winner of the coveted title of 2018 Young Volunteer of the Year was teenager Kelly Johnstone, from Annan, a sports coach with Active Schools Annandale and Eskdale, who had earlier received the award for Participation in Culture and Sport.
Although she couldn’t be present to receive her award, Kelly sent her thanks, adding: “It has been amazing to see many young people attend the clubs at which I coach and the sense of accomplishment I have gained whenever another improvement has been made or a goal has been reached is immense.”
The Adult Volunteer of the Year was Dr Ann Wilson, from disability organisation DG Voice, winner of the Equalities Award.
Dr Wilson, a retired Castle Douglas GP, said she was “just amazed” to have been chosen for the awards, from among so many deserving nominees.
The overall award for Volunteer Involving Organisation of the Year went to Dumfries and Galloway LGBT Plus, earlier winners of the Health Wellbeing and Sport award.
Service Manager Johnathon Gallagher said: “What we achieve happens because of the amazing support we get from all our partner organisations and from the public.”
The category winners at the VOSCARS finals were:
Young Board Member – Angus McGibney, Stair Park Community Garden Centre (Wigtownshire)
Equalities Award – Dr Ann Wilson, DG Voice (Stewartry)
Children & Young People – Better Lives Partnership (Stewartry)
Participation in Culture and Sport – Kelly Johnstone, Active Schools Annandale & Eskdale (Annandale & Eskdale)
Community Group – West Wigtownshire Tai Chi (Wigtownshire)
Young Community Champion – Emily Davies, Young People’s Service (Nithsdale)
Culture and Heritage – Kirkcudbright Summer Festivities (Stewartry)
Enterprising and Innovation – Dalbeattie Community Initiative (Stewartry)
New Young Volunteer – Steven Keenan, Youth Services (Wigtownshire)
Board Member – Geoff Allison, Dalbeattie Men’s Shed (Stewartry)
New Volunteer – Leo Barrett, Dumfries and Galloway LGBT Plus (Nithsdale)
Health, Wellbeing and Sport – Dumfries and Galloway LGBT Plus (Nithsdale)
Community Resilience – Kirkmahoe Community Resilience Group (Nithsdale)
Community Spirit – Mike Briggs, Dumfries Y Gymnastics Club (Nithsdale)
About 200 nominations were received for this year’s VOSCARS and a panel of judges had the unenviable task of choosing category winners at the heats and finals as well as the recipients of the overall awards.
The event was opened by Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway Chief Executive Norma Austin Hart and a closing address was made by Vice Chairman of Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway Iain Boddy.
He said: “This evening we have celebrated people who are genuinely special and exceptional and give of their time and energies so selflessly.
“It is also great to see how much people enjoy volunteering – the fun, companionship and the boost volunteering gives to self-confidence and wellbeing.”
Visit the website www.thirdsectordumgal.org.uk for more information.