One local volunteer at the Health and Wellness Centre in Motherwell got a pleasant surprise when an MSP popped in to present her with an award for service to the centre. Saffron Croly recently completed 50 hours of volunteering through the Saltire Awards initiative and Graham Simpson MSP was on hand to present the young volunteer with a certificate to mark her achievement. The award is part of a national programme for recognising and rewarding young people aged 12-25 who give time to volunteering.
Mr Simpson also heard from director of the charity, Ayeshah Khan about how volunteers like Saffron are key to the charity's aim: offering access to health to improve the emotional and physical health and well-being of individuals and communities in North Lanarkshire.
The MSP said “I was invited along to hear and see the great work being done by the staff and volunteers at the Health and Wellness Centre on Brandon Street South. The visit came about because of an award by the Big Lottery Fund, which helped fund the setup of the centre. Prior to the visit, I was asked if I could present Saffron with her certificate for doing 50 hours of volunteering, which I was delighted to do.
“Talking to Saffron and hearing first-hand about how the centre has helped her gain confidence to be able to help others is a testament to the great work being done by Ayeshah and the rest of the dedicated staff. Ayeshah also explained anyone wishing to be considered for the role of a volunteer must be unemployed and also find themselves marginalised and disadvantaged in some way: having a learning and/or physical disability; long term health condition or experiencing mental health issues.
“The aim is to deliver a planned programme of activities that will lead to a better quality of life for marginalised individuals by offering guidance in confidence building, self-esteem, stress management and communication skills. Volunteers learn a host of other skills including Swedish massage, reiki, tai chi and yoga, which they can then use to help others or to help find employment.
“I spoke to one volunteer who is now a full-time employee. She explained what the Health and Wellness Centre means to her - that before coming to the Health and Wellness Centre she was shy and struggling but now she feels more outgoing and confident. What a great endorsement for the work that Ayeshah and her team are doing to help the local North Lanarkshire community.”
Ayeshah said “It was great that Graham could come along and present Saffron with her certificate and also find out about how all of the volunteers have developed during their time with the charity. Their hard work, passion and commitment is truly appreciated and the charity would be unable to function if it was not for them. I would also like to thank the Big Lottery Fund for their assistance over the years as their support and guidance has been invaluable in helping the charity establish itself in the local community."