First of all, please let me apologise for taking so long to write another blog post – I’ve been doing a lot of work for my charity.
Now most people assume that I get paid for this work but the harsh reality is, I do not.
I bought the Barony St. John buildings for my charity in December 2014 so we could provide a base for ourselves and offer courses and training from the premises. It took all of 2015 and part of 2016 to get this dream to become a reality but now we run one-to-one sessions with victims of violence, group sessions with vulnerable people including courses for the blind and visually impaired, LGBTI groups, BME groups, etc. and on top of all this, the hall is rented out to various other groups to hold their events and activities in – so we have Muay Thai, Tai Chi, Yoga, Circuit training, dance classes and kids Krav Maga classes.
But to be this busy someone has to take the bookings, clean the hall and the toilets, take the rental money, bank the money, stock the fridge, stock the tea/coffee, etc. etc. – and that person is me (as well as instructing in a lot of the classes).
It was therefore a great surprise to hear that a few of the people I work with had put my name forward for The Ayrshire Community Trust (TACT)’s Volunteer Awards – and I was lucky enough to be nominated for three awards last week and to win one.
Usually, award ceremonies are won on votes so if I ran a club with fifty kids coming along and they all voted for me, I’d win. That’s why I don’t give much credence to them – they are popularity awards!
But these Volunteer Awards are assessed by a panel of judges who then decide on the winners – a far fairer and therefore far more prestigious award to be nominated for.
The panel consisted of Mark Gallagher (Lead Officer with North Ayrshire Alcohol & Drug Partnership), David MacRitchie (Senior Manager with Criminal Justice Services and Chief Social Work Officer), Geoff Coleman (Public Support Manager with NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s Mental Health Services), Marlene McMillan (Lead Pubic Health Practitioner with NHS Ayrshire & Arran), Rhona Arthur (Senior Manager with North Ayrshire Council’s Economy & Communities), Janet Strang (Chairperson of Cunninghamme Housing Association) Superintendent Tim Ross (Police Scotland) and Provost Ian Clarkson (North Ayrshire Council).
As you can see, this is a quality panel of judges so what followed was a great honour for me;
This is me picking up my nomination for the Health & Social Care Volunteer Award from Geoff Coleman –
I was also lucky enough to be nominated for the Long Standing Volunteer Award which I received from Marlene McMillan –
And this is me getting my nomination for the Tremendous Trustee Volunteer Award from Janet Strang –
Although I wasn’t announced as the overall winner in the other categories, i did win the Tremendous Trustee Volunteer Award which was presented to me by Provost Ian Clarkson.
Like I said previously, I consider this a great honour as it comes from such a high calibre of judges – all I can say is “Thank you”.
As you can see, a great night was had by all and I was lucky enough to have two of the registered blind people I work with, Norma and Gillian, present as well as my parents.