Red carpet rolled out for this year’s VOSCARS awards

Happy award winners with everyone who attended the Voscars Ceremony in the Ben Nevis Hotel. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F23 Voscar group 01
Happy award winners with everyone who attended the Voscars Ceremony in the Ben Nevis Hotel. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F23 Voscar group 01

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The red carpet was out in Fort William’s Ben Nevis Hotel in Fort William last week for this year’s VOSCARS.

Organised by Voluntary Action Locaher (VAL) the event rewards and celebrates unsung heroes for everything they do for communities.

A VAL spokeperson said: ‘Congratulations to all the winners and nominees and, as always, thanks to all of Lochaber’s volunteers for everything you do for our communities.’

VOSCAR categories and winners were:

Young Scot Volunteer of the Year – Sarah Macleod

Young Scot Volunteer of the Year, Sarah MacLeod (right). Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F23 Voscar Young Scot award
Young Scot Volunteer of the Year Sarah MacLeod, right. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos

This award is aimed at young people under 25 who give their time to contribute to the community and help others, perhaps in after school clubs, volunteering within their school or at a local charity shop. The winner in this category was Sarah Macleod who volunteers with Nimble Fingers.

Sarah started as a volunteer in November 2020 and quickly became an invaluable member of the team. She became competent in all aspects of the cafe and showed an aptitude for mentoring other volunteers.

Volunteer of the Year Over 25 Award – Jack McMurray

Volunteer of the Year Jack McMurray presented with his award by Inspector Isla Campbell. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F23 Voscar Volunteer of the Year award 02
Volunteer of the Year Jack McMurray is  presented with his award by Inspector Isla Campbell. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos

Volunteer of the Year Over 25 Years is for individuals who volunteer in their community. Jack’s volunteer journey started at the first Vintage Cafe event where he took orders from the customers and from that day Jack has grown in confidence and abilities.

He never misses a day at ‘work’ and as well as taking on other tasks at the cafe, he recently showed an interest in baking. Jack now bakes twice a week and has
taken orders for birthday cakes which have been a great success.

Board/Committee Member of the Year Award – Roddy Forbes

 Board/Committee member of the Year Award Roddy Forbes presented with his award by SFRS Station Commander, Colin Robb. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F23 Voscar Board_Committee award
Board/Committee member of the Year Award Roddy Forbes is presented with his award by SFRS Station Commander Colin Robb. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos

A board or committee member is someone who volunteers on a board or committee to help make decisions on behalf of the organisation. Roddy Forbes won this category. Roddy goes above and beyond as chairman of the board at Care Lochaber and a volunteer driver. Roddy has been a volunteer for the last 11 years with Care Lochaber.

Best Volunteer Supporting Organisation Award – Nimble Fingers

 Best Volunteer Supporting Organisation Award - Nimble Fingers. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F23 Voscar Best Supporting award
Best Volunteer Supporting Organisation Award – Nimble Fingers. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos

The Best Volunteer Supporting Organisation award is for a group or organisation which provides support and training for their volunteers. They are always welcoming and friendly.

Nimble Fingers support adults with additional support needs to gain experience working in a cafe. It also offers young people the chance to work in the cafe as part of their transition from child to adult services.

The staff use innovative ways to adapt their volunteering programme to suit individual needs. The Vintage Cafe, in particular, has allowed their volunteers to work
in a community setting which breaks down barriers and allows them to be an active citizen.

Organisation of the Year Award – Ewen’s Room

Organisation of the Year, Ewen's Room. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F23 Voscar Organisation of the Year
Organisation of the Year, Ewen’s Room. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos
NO F23 Voscar Organisation of the Year

The Organisation of the Year award recognises a group or organisation which makes Lochaber a better place to live in. Ewen’s Room is the organisation that really speaks to
the community.

The founders run the charity voluntarily to help people cope with mental health
challenges. Ewen’s Room responds to the needs of the community in planning events, programmes and projects, making the community a better place to live.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Mary Bruce

Lifetime Achievement Award went to Mary Bruce, pictured being presented with it by Dot Ferguson, The Highland Council Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F23 Voscar Lifetime Achievement award

This award recognises someone who, over several years, has devoted their time to volunteering. This is a person who always gives to the community and many such individuals also volunteer with more than one organisation or group.

Mary has been a volunteer and community activist most of her adult life. She served as a community councillor for Fort William for more than 20 years as chairperson and secretary.

Amongst the many projects Mary has been involved with are the TBag campaign to stop the downgrading of the Belford Hospital; saving the old high school from demolition – a building which now hosts the Highland Council and Job Centre – and the reinstatement of the town’s coat of arms. Mary is still an active volunteer with the Tuesday Club.

Voluntary Action Lochaber also awarded their ‘Val’s Pals’ volunteers certificates.

Certficate winners. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO-F23-Voscars-Certificates-
Certficate winners. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos
NO-F23-Voscars-Certificates-

 

CAPTION:

Award winners with everyone who attended the Voscars ceremony in the Ben Nevis Hotel. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos

NO F23 Voscar group 01

 

EXTRA PICS:

Young Scot Volunteer of the Year, Sarah MacLeod, right. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F23 Voscar Young Scot award

Volunteer of the Year Jack McMurray is presented with his award by Inspector Isla Campbell. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F23 Voscar Volunteer of the Year award 02

Board/Committee member of the Year Award Roddy Forbes receives his award from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service station commander Colin Robb. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F23 Voscar Board_Committee award

Best Volunteer Supporting Organisation Award – Nimble Fingers. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F23 Voscar Best Supporting award

Organisation of the Year, Ewen’s Room. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F23 Voscar Organisation of the Year

Mary Bruce receives her Lifetime Achievement Award from Dot Ferguson, The Highland Council Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F23 Voscar Lifetime Achievement award

Certficate winners. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO-F23-Voscars-Certificates-