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Time is running out to submit nominations for this year’s Argyll volunteer awards.
Nominations of deserving people and groups close at the end of this month in recognition of those who have supported the area’s communities.
Takki Sulaiman, chief executive of Argyll and Bute Third Sector Interface (TSI), says it is no exaggeration to say that volunteers have long been the life blood of communities and this has never been more true than during the pandemic.
TSI is partnering with LiveArgyll and sportscotland to host this year’s awards and there will be a virtual award ceremony planned later in June.
‘As we hopefully come through the other side it is worth pausing to reflect on the amazing volunteer-led work over the past year that has helped so many people at their time of need,’ said Mr Sulaiman.
During the pandemic and lockdown so many people stepped forward to help deliver food, medicine, walk dogs, pick up deliveries and provide valuable socially distant
In that time, more than 1,000 volunteers across Argyll and Bute made themselves available by adding their names to a portal developed by Argyll and Bute TSI with the support of Argyll and Bute Council.
That was backed by many unrecorded acts of support, humanity and kindness carried out by charities, community groups and informal networks.
‘It has shown us that whilst public services can and must deliver vital core services – and they should be properly funded – we can only build resilient and sustainable communities if we all lend a hand.
‘At the same time volunteering must not be seen as a cheap way to cover gaps in public services caused by austerity – it has to add something different or value added and that is often related to a personal touch,’ said Mr Sulaiman.
Stories have included the seasonal workers stranded in Kintyre with no recourse to
public funds helped by volunteers shopping for those unable to leave their homes.
Before the pandemic, according to figures from Volunteer Scotland, 25 per cent of people in Argyll and Bute volunteered formally through an organisation or a group and in 2018-19 they provided 2.7 million hours of help worth over £35m to the local economy.
‘Argyll and Bute TSI is working hard to see how this volunteering model can be extended and supported so that we avoid volunteer fatigue. Our awards are just one small way of saying thank you,’ said Mr Sulaiman.
Argyll and Bute Befrienders, Kintyre Community Resilience Group, Mid Argyll Transport Volunteers, Oban’s Hope Kitchen, a support phoneline at The Rockfield Centre were just some of the initiatives which got involved as well as groups on Islay and on Tiree.
To make a nomination, go online and fill out a form at www.argylltsi.org.uk.