We are delighted to confirm the winners of Falkirk’s 2021 Volunteer Awards, who were announced at last night’s digital ceremony. (The ceremony is available to watch via YouTube at any time.)
Everyone nominated deserves an award, after doing incredible things in the last year and beyond to help make lives better and easier for people and communities across Falkirk, and we would like to thank them for everything they have done.
Our 2021 winners are:
- Volunteer of the Year: Lynne Boslem, Tamfourhill Community Hub
- Young Volunteer of the Year: Caitlyn Ross, Forth Valley Girlguiding (Carron Division)
- Innovative Volunteer Award: the Code Red group at Denny High School
- COVID Volunteer Award: Lesley Smith, Royal Voluntary Service (Forth Valley)
- Panel’s Choice: Laura Stewart, Forth Valley Sensory Centre
Congratulations everyone! (Please see below for quotes and pictures from all the winners.)
We would also like to extend our thanks to the local businesses who sponsored the awards and our winners’ prizes: Sanam Tandoori, Mango in Longcroft, The Cotton House, Gambero Rosso, and The Corbie Inn.
Special thanks also go to our independent panel, who made the incredibly difficult decision of choosing this year’s winners from all the outstanding nominations: Cecil Meiklejohn, leader of Falkirk Council, Donald Johnston of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, and Margaret Coutts BEM, a volunteer with Falkirk and Central Scotland Samaritans.
Volunteer of the Year: Lynne Boslem, Tamfourhill Community Hub
“Thanks to those who decided to put my name in, and keep it a secret. Thank you for the award, but I would like to say I don’t do it all by myself – I have lots of help, from Shona, Laraine, Anne, Louise, Gary, Scott – there’s lots of people that help us. It’s appreciated, but so are all of them.”
The Volunteer of the Year award (sponsored by The Cotton House) celebrates the volunteers who have gone over and above to help people and their communities. They have been enthusiastic, dependable, and made a real difference and lasting impression to the people who nominated them. One of Lynne’s nominators said: “Without Lynne, nothing would be possible in this area. She runs and organise everything from the food larder to funding to vitamins for the community.”
(Image caption: Lynne with her award, standing with Scott in his gold shirt.)
Young Volunteer of the Year: Caitlyn Ross, Forth Valley Girlguiding (Carron Division)
“I would like to say thank you to the people who nominated me, because I wasn’t expecting it, and to everyone who lets me volunteer with them – Girlguiding Carron Division, Forth Valley Disability Sport, Falkirk Community Trust, Active Stirling, Clackmannanshire Council, Braveheart, Scottish Athletics, the Arion Swimming Club, Scottish Disability Sport and Forth Valley Flyers.
“Most importantly, to all my wee Brownies out there – keep it up! I know it’s been a year of lockdown, but I’ll be back soon.”
(Image caption: Caitlyn with her award, standing with Scott in his gold shirt.)
The amazing young people nominated for this award (sponsored by The Corbie Inn) have shown outstanding commitment and enthusiasm in their volunteering, for the benefit of our local communities. And they have continued to do this during a year of immense upheaval, transition and restrictions. Caitlyn was described by one of her nominators as “always happy to help out wherever she can and help others achieve to the best of their ability. She is a happy, cheerful and friendly person who is welcoming to all,” including when she used her British Sign Language (BSL) skills to help a D/deaf Brownie be more involved.
Innovative Volunteer Award: the Code Red group at Denny High School
“We’ve made a big difference with Code Red, we think. Throughout this whole year, we’ve been challenging the stigma around periods and period poverty. We just want to thank Ms Dickson and the rest of the staff, for helping us build our confidence and talk about such an important subject.”(Image captions: Code Red with their award, standing first with Scott in his gold shirt (left picture), and with their teacher Ms Dickson on their left and Scott on their right (right picture).)
Volunteers nominated for this award (sponsored by Sanam Tandoori) are those who have been creative and innovative in adapting during the pandemic to continue helping their communities, in the face of numerous challenges. During lockdown, the new student-led Code Red group ensured that pupils had access to period products and information by utilising their strong digital skills to develop an order service.
COVID Volunteer Award: Lesley Smith, Royal Voluntary Service (Forth Valley)
“Obviously I’d like to thank the Royal Voluntary Service, because without their help, I’d never have been allowed to do this. They’ve been an absolute pleasure to work with – especially Martin Kenny, my manager, and Laura Eales, who’s been a great support. Thank you so much, I so appreciate this.”
This award (sponsored by Gambero Rosso) celebrates people whose volunteering acted as a lifeline to others in our Falkirk communities who were impacted by COVID-19. Lesley was described as “the first person you think of for any task”, with her dedication and connection to the people she supports highlighted – including the time she helped one pick apples from his tree and made jam to distribute to other RVS clients.
(Image caption: Lesley with her award, standing with Scott in his gold shirt.)
Panel’s Choice: Laura Stewart, Forth Valley Sensory Centre
“Thanks to Caroline, Linsey, Martin and Jacquie who work here at the Centre, to the Talk and Sign group and everybody involved with that. Without everyone here at the Centre, I wouldn’t be here, and they do a fabulous job too. So if anyone wants to get involved, either as a volunteer or as a Centre user, speak to them – whatever you want to do, it’s a fabulous place to be.”
The Panel’s Choice is awarded to an individual the judging panel felt shone out across multiple categories, and is sponsored by Mango. Laura set up and maintained a group for Centre users to practice sign language during lockdown, and also provided a BSL translation of her thank you quote, available in the awards ceremony video at 6mins 27s.
(Image caption: Laura and Scott posing with her award.)