Week-long celebration of volunteering as four Moray groups get Queen’s Award

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Volunteering week (1-7 June) is being celebrated by groups of all sizes in Moray. For some the celebrations are even more special than usual this year, as the work of four Moray groups has been recognised with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The deserving winners of the Queen’s Award 2018, which is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK, include:

  • Fochabers Heritage, for actively preserving the historical legacy of the village and surrounding area;
  • Moray HandyPerson Services, for providing practical assistance to vulnerable people in Moray, helping keep them safe and independent in their own homes;
  • Morayvia, for preserving Moray’s rich aviation heritage and promoting science and technology by creating a significant visitor attraction; and
  • Step by Step in Moray, for supporting families who feel isolated to develop the confidence and skills to give their children the best start in life.

And an unusual harmony pervaded proceedings in the Scottish Parliament yesterday, as politicians united in celebration of the contribution volunteers make to our communities.

The debate was opened by Angela Constance MSP, who is the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, who said: “Volunteering brings enormous benefits not only to beneficiaries but to communities and volunteers themselves. Among other things, volunteering increases social and civic participation, empowers communities and reduces loneliness and isolation. It can also improve mental and physical health, support the development of job and life skills and foster a greater sense of belonging. Volunteering is key to our achieving our ambition of creating a fairer and more prosperous country, with equality of opportunity for all—a country where everyone has the chance to participate and to make a difference.”

Politicians of all parties shared their favourite quotes in support of volunteering, from Martin Luther King’s “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” to Winston Churchill’s “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”

However, insideMORAY’s favourite quote is from an unknown source: “Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.”

We would like to congratulate Fochabers Heritage, Moray HandyPerson Service, Morayvia, and Step by Step for their achievement, and to thank all those who take an active part in the life of their community, whether they do so formally or informally. And we would encourage everyone to vote every day for a better Moray!