Volunteer Drivers across Grampian recognised for their vital service

Lucy Johnston 2018, News

Award Winners: Julie Muir , Alan Shaw and Winnie Cowie

Transport volunteers across the North-east have been recognised for their outstanding service, commitment and contribution at the Grampian Volunteer Transport Awards.

The awards, which were first established in 2014, highlight the vital support that community transport provides to those who are elderly, isolated or perhaps have mobility or health issues, who may otherwise face difficulty travelling to key services.

The ceremony, which took place today (Friday, 9 November) at the Town House in Aberdeen, saw winners recognised under the categories ‘Volunteer Driver of the Year’, ‘Volunteer Escort of the Year’ and ‘Organisation of the Year’.

Many vulnerable people across the region rely on volunteer transport services; whether it’s to attend health or social care appointments or even to allow them to do a grocery shop or go to social activities. The awards were created to help thank and showcase the fantastic efforts of the volunteers who offer their free time back to their communities.

Volunteer Driver of the Year was awarded to Alan Shaw of the Speyside Community Car Share Scheme. Alan, of Rothes, has been a volunteer driver for 10 years. Those who he supports praise his great company and attentiveness and say they would be totally isolated and lost without Alan and the other drivers in the scheme.

Winnie Cowie from New Deer was recognised as Volunteer Escort of the Year for her work with Dial-a-Community-Bus.  As a volunteer passenger assistant for over 10 years, Winnie’s friendly manner and positive outlook make her popular with those she supports through the shopping service provided by the community bus.

The Organisation of the Year award went to CLAN Cancer Support Elgin, who, amongst other services, provide transport for patients and carers to life saving treatments in Elgin, Aberdeen and Inverness. Local Services Coordinator Julie Muir and her team of six drivers have supported dozens of people diagnosed with cancer, with the drivers recognised for giving up their time as well as their ability to listen and offer kind words of support and advice.

Each winner was awarded a £200 prize donated by sponsors First Aberdeen and Stagecoach North Scotland.

The awards are supported by a variety of Health & Transport Action Plan (HTAP) partner organisations across public, third and commercial sectors in Grampian.

Andrew Stewart, HTAP Programme Manager said, “These drivers and organisations make a huge impact on people’s lives; they can be a lifeline by allowing them to overcome travel barriers and access key services and amenities in their community. Much more than just transport, these volunteers provide not only their time but also support and friendship, helping to alleviate anxiety.

“Our judges this year were overwhelmed reading the stories of so many volunteers. They felt all the nominations were highly deserving of recognition and reflected an amazing contribution to our communities. I know that all the HTAP partners who support the awards are honoured to be celebrating this important sector.”