Race Night in Meldrum

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Grampian Opportunities has become the latest Aberdeenshire charitable organisation to receive a Volunteer Friendly Award at an event held at the St Mary’s Church Centre, Inverurie on Wednesday September 4.

Grampian Opportunities (GO) supports disabled people and people with mental health problems to have choice and control in their lives. GO supports its members to increase their confidence and skill levels by providing supported opportunities in admin/office work, marketing, advertising, finance, events organisation, journalism, IT, driving and much more.

GO also runs its own mentoring service –New Explorations Mentoring Service. This gives members the opportunity to explore issues and the chance to talk through experiences and problems with a trained mentor, who will support them to reach a decision with which they are happy and confident about. GO has a number of other projects including Voices for Change (VfC) which is a peer-led project designed to give disabled people a voice and the chance to give their opinions on the services they receive.

The Volunteer Friendly Award is a simple, user friendly quality standard based on the Investing in Volunteers criteria and was devised by Volunteer Centre Dundee as a way to recognise and reward groups who are good at involving and supporting their volunteers.

Leanne Smith, a volunteer with Grampian Opportunities (supported by Linda Singer, GO Development Worker) was given the task of putting together a portfolio of evidence which was then assessed by Volunteer Centre Aberdeenshire (VCA).

VCA’s Development Officer for Garioch & Formartine, Edith MacDonald said: “This Award is the perfect way for organisations to show their volunteers and the wider community that they recognise the importance volunteers make to their organisation. GO has become the 7th organisation in Aberdeenshire to achieve the award and I wish to congratulate them on their achievement. They are now part of a small but very select group”.

Linda Singer, GO Development Worker said: “We are delighted to have achieved the Volunteer Friendly Award, and all at GO wish to acknowledge the work done by Leanne in preparing the portfolio of evidence.

“Ensuring our volunteers are supported and appreciated is of paramount importance to us, and we are thrilled to have received an award in recognition of this.”

Many essential services in Scotland’s communities are enhanced by volunteers.

Volunteering also has a significant social value as it is increasingly being used to give excluded individuals the chance to build their confidence and skills through helping others.