The Kirknewton Volunteering Award winners for 2012 are below, with some of the lovely comments from those who nominated them…
Volunteer of the Year
Gill Greaves – work with the Brownies/Rainbows
Gill has been running the Kirknewton Rainbow Unit for the last 6 years. Over this period the Rainbow unit has thrived with a range of activities undertaken each week. The unit is now the envy of other Rainbow units in west lothian. In addition, following the retirement of the leader of the Kirknewton Brownie unit at the end of last year, Gill has stepped in to run this unit also, until a new leader can be trained up. This duel role involved a great deal of commitment in addition to organising;planning; preparing for each unit ensuring that the activities are both meaningful, educational and practical for both age groups.
Gill had run the Rainbow Unit for nearly 7 years. She also stepped in to temporarily run the Brownies when there was a chance it would close. She puts in so much time and effort to make sure the girls have a great time each week. Gill also looks after the hall.
Kieran Porteous – work on the cycle/walking multipath
Kieran is in S4 at Balerno, but enthusiastic about getting his mates together to help build bike paths in Selm Muir. We could do with more like him
Kath Woodbridge and Heather Walkingshaw – for Brownies
Kath and heather have been valued members of this village and have been active in keeping the kirknewton brownie pack going for many years also ran playgroup for many years
Community Group of the Year
The work they do on a Friday after school and the kids love Kozy Cafe
Committee Member of the Year
Mike Nolan – for work on PSA
Mike has chaired the PSA for a number of years. Behind the scenes in a very quiet unassuming way he works tirelessly for the benefit of the pupils at Kirknewton Primary.
The PSA tirelessly raise money to benefit the pupils at Kirknewton. Last session they held a very successful ceilidh and spring fair – the children have benefitted from new resources eg flip cameras, water trays, and subsidised school excursions.
Community Event of the Year
It was felt this event captured comments made about Angharrad Storrie and Karen Davidson
The Jubilee Celebration Event in June in without a doubt one of the best support events Kirknewton has had in a long time. Angharad only had 3 months to organise the event and this was done brilliantly. The comments received during & after the event were second to none. Well done Angharad for a fantastic event to get the whole community talking and together!!
Angharad is an extremely dedicated, committed and active volunteer for Kirknewton Playgroup, in addition to having been the Secretary for Kirknewton Baby & Toddler Group in 2011/2012, and volunteering to help out at village events such as the Gala. The majority of her volunteering has centered around Kirknewton playgroup which she has been Secretary for during 2011/2012, and more recently she has become Chairperson and Acting Secretary (until the post can be filled). In these roles she has worked tirelessly to raise the profile of the Playgroup; host regular meetings in her home; help manage staff and ensure their welfare; attend Council and KCA meetings as Playgroup representative; carry out all non-financial administrative duties (such as parent helper rotas, monthly newsletters, meeting minutes, hosting the AGM etc); updating and upholding the applicable policies, guidelines & procedures; meeting with Care Commission/Inspectorate staff and facilitating suggested improvements; organising and running fundraising activities; and numerous other ad hoc jobs that have arisen in order to ensure the Playgroup remains open and running at it’s best. The Playgroup has been through a very difficult time over the last year and came close to closing for finiancial reasons. Angharad’s dedication and passion to keeping this service going for the local community has had a huge bearing on the fact the Playgroup is back on it’s feet and still welcoming local children into a safe, caring, friendly, nurturing environment. Additionally, Angharad is a genuinely warm, caring person and thoughtful person who doesn’t think twice about going out of her way or going the extra mile for a good cause and for this she deserves a special thank you. She is a genuine star!
During the first half of 2011, unfortunately the finances of Kirknewton Playgroup left them in a situation where it seemed the Playgroup would have to close due to lack of funds. Karen Davidson offered to step in as the Playgroup’s new Treasurer at this point and spent an unthinkable number of hours sifting through the financial situation she had inherited. Through a combination of sheer determination, her knowledge of financial matters, and unflinching committment to the cause she has managed to sort things out over the last year to the point where the Playgroup is now back on an even keel and fully functional. Her knowledge and understanding of the legal requirements and issues surrounding the quite complex financial matters she has to deal with, and the unenviable position of deficit and chaos which she had to start from have been invaluable. Despite a situation which at times seemed utterly hopeless, she has persevered and without her grit and determination the Playgroup would simply not have survived, let alone started to flourish again. In addition to her role as Treasurer, Karen has selflessly taken on additional duites which further underline her committment and passion for the Playgroup. These include attending complicated local Council meetings to discuss the future of West Lothian’s Playgroups (which are moving towards a new central Management Model), undertaking risk assessments, completing action plans, managing staff, carrying out appraisals, and ensuring their welfare, helping organise and participating in essential ongoing fundraising activities, applying for grants, ensuring policies, guidelines and procedures are up to date and upheld, and many other Playgroup-related jobs that present themselves which would not immediately fall under her role as Treasurer. Despite being thrown in at the deep end, she has proven herself to be thorough, dependable, honest, reliable, organised and highly competent. The Playgroup owe her an enormous debt of gratitude and are incredibly fortunate she volunteered to step in when she did with the skills she has. Despite now having no children attending Playgroup as they have moved on to Pre-School Nursery, her passion for the Playgroup has thankfully meant she hasncommitted to (and been re-elected to) continue in the role of Treasurer as no-one else is prepared or available at present to take over this somewhat daunting and complex task. Without Karen this well-loved service would not have survived to serve the local community. I believe she deserves a special thank you for this.
Business of the Year
Lifeline to village and always happy to help out at community events
Potter Around is a creative and inclusive enterprise that caters for all age groups from birth. I believe it has put Kirknewton on the ‘Map’ of Scotland. Staff & Volunterrs are very warm & welcoming & offer a wide variety of Arts & Crafts & provide an excellent Resource to the immediate & wider community where individuals can develop their skills & discover hidden talents. Staff & volunteers are very patient supportive & mindful and go the extra mile in raisng a smile!
Arts Volunteer of the Year
Ross Blair – for work on Art Shelter in Park
For the dedication shown in following the process through in successfully restoring the Kirknewton Park Shelter and encouraging the ongoing arts project inside the shelter.
Ross’s artistic contribution to the village is clear for all to see and enjoy. Most recently his vision, talent and committment have seen the previous eyesore of a park shelter be transformed into a work of art for all to enjoy. His foresight in involving local young people to contribute ideas and artwork themselves to the shelter was such a great idea, both in terms of engaging these youngsters, and hopefully encouraging them to take pride in the finished product, especially as they are the age group most likely to frequently use the park shelter. In addition, the mural Ross completed last year on the side of Kirknewton Primary School Nursery has brightened up the day for countless parents and children passing through the playground. It also provides a lovely conversation piece for those of us bringing pre-school children to and from Nursery each day. My children love it (as I’m sure many others do) and enjoy identifying the local landmarks, animals and characters depicted. Again, I understand Ross used ideas and suggestions from local children to design his mural, making it even more relevant and engaging to them. A fantastic local talent and a great artistic asset to the village.
Rod Cameron – for hockey at the Primary School
Carol Swanson – for hockey at the Primary School
Both have provided after school hockey for upper school pupils for many years, developing skills, abilities and team work – one of the few school in West Lothian with this provision.
The Allotment Association
Committee worked hard to secure a site and negotiate entry.Has fully engaged with wider community becoming involved in gala, spring fair and running its own events-Apple day
The Fundraisers of the Year
The Gala is one of the longer running events though that (despite the rain doing it’s best to thwart) never fails to give the village a fantastic day out to look forward to. Also, the hardworking and dedicated Gala Committee work tirelessly to improve the event year on year. This year there was an even wider range of activities for all ages with pony rides, a miniature steam train, bouncy castles and inflatable fun for all ages, entertainers, face painting, a fire engine, fancy dress competitions, races, 5-a-side- football tournament, tug of war, music, dancing, the WRI tea tent and various food options . I think it is testament to how well-loved this event is that villagers are happy to come and enjoy and support it regardless of what the weather throws at us on the day! The Gala Committee do a fantastic job putting this event on for the village and deserve recognition for this as it is an annual event appreciated and enjoyed by the majority of the community. Huge well done!
Active Citizen Award
Ailsa Meldum – for work on developing the play park
We received £171.60 towards the ‘I Love kirknewton’ Fundraising Challenge from donations – thanks. Thanks also to EFRG for their support, Charles Wellwood & the Stables for the location, Mark Scott for the photography, Ambience for the table cloths, Isla Hall for the flowers, Karen at Potter Around for the awards, Ross Blair & Media Control for the AV equipment, Hedgerow for the fresh bread, Festival Stores for additional wine, Pinkertons for the crockery & glasses, those who gave out awards including Angela Constance & Carl John, those who helped on the night and at the end, Anne Pinkerton and Stewart McKenna for preparing a wonderful supper and for all those who could make it and made it an enjoyable night. Go Team Kirknewton!