The Barra Volunteer Awards were held in Castlebay Hall on Friday 6th of June 2014. The awards are held to celebrate the wonderful work carried out by volunteers in our community, and many of the volunteers nominated for an award this year gathered together to reflect on the very positive impact volunteering makes on Barra and Vatersay.
40 people attended that awards ceremony including Cllr. Donald Manford and MP Angus Brendan MacNeil. The first awards to be presented were Organisation of the Year and a WAVE Award (Western Isles Award for Volunteering Excellence). Both awards were presented to Sarah MacLean of Bùth Bharraigh community shop by Katie MacNeil representing the Barrathon (winner of Organisation of the Year 2012). The presentation of these awards reflects two complimentary areas of volunteering; organisations who meet the WAVE standards have put volunteers at the core of their organisation and have created a supportive environment where volunteers can make the most of their volunteering.
The Young Volunteer of the Year was awarded to a sixth year pupil from Castlebay Community School. Grace MacArthur has been helping people in her community for several years. Grace gave a presentation to the group on the many ways she has been volunteering. Grace already has a 500 hour Saltire Award, and now is young volunteer of the year for 2014. Grace received her award from Community Education Worker Katie Denehy.
This year there were a large number of nominations for Volunteer of the year. Among those nominated were regular volunteer who give hours of their time each week to a particular cause, as well as volunteers who always turn out to lend a hand whenever they are asked. The nominees were; Angie Foster, Ann Stewart, Christine Campbell, Donny MacNeil, Jeanne Christie, Linda MacKinnon, Pam Hall, Les Hall and Patricia Blacker. Each received a gift bay which was sponsored by the Co-operative. Everyone who was nominated has made a massive contribution to our community, and they all can consider themselves a winner. The award for Volunteer of the Year went to someone who has been integral to the success of many organisations on Barra. Angie Foster has been closely involved with; Buth Bharraigh, Garadh a Bhagh a Tuath, Barra and Vatersay Community ltd, Barra and Vatersay Environmental services and Cobhair Bharraigh. She really is an inspiration. Donald Manford presented Angie with her award.
Following the presentation of awards everyone had a chance to talk about their experiences while enjoying tea and sandwiches and a cup cake. The positivity surrounding volunteering expressed by those present was inspirational. Thank you to everyone who took part in the awards, either by nominating someone they appreciate or by coming along to help celebrate volunteering.