Wiston Lodge Celebrates A Year Of Successful Volunteering

morag bethanyFormer volunteers share life-changing experiences at gathering. Aileen Campbell, MSP inspired by volunteers’ achievements.

peter joss
Wiston Lodge volunteer Joss McCluskey and former volunteer, Peter Butler

On Friday, November 28th, over 50 volunteers, staff and supporters attended Wiston Lodge’s first annual Celebration of Volunteering event. Wendy Johnstone, Volunteering Development Worker, explained: “Over the past year the charity has welcomed 88 volunteers, representing approximately 90,000 volunteering hours in total! It has achieved the Volunteering Friendly Award, has improved the quality of the volunteering experience and has significantly expanded its opportunities for local Clydesdale residents.” Wiston Lodge’s youth volunteering programme recruits young adults from local High Schools and those who have recently left to develop their skills. Of the 30+ participants, over 20 of these local volunteers have subsequently gone on to positive next steps at college, university, further volunteering and/or employment.

The event was both exhilarating and moving, with two former volunteers, Jaymie Morrison and Peter Butler, speaking of the role Wiston Lodge played in empowering them to move on positively from very challenging personal circumstances. They are both now in stable and fulfilling positions and credit much of their success to the support and development they received whilst volunteering at Wiston Lodge.

bill claire
Bill Allen with image of Claire Gold, a well loved volunteer who passed away in 2013

Bill Allen, a close family friend of Claire Gold, a former volunteer who sadly passed away last year, spoke eloquently on behalf of her family. It was recognized that the enthusiasm and motivation Claire brought to her role is still with the organisation today. Her friendship and compassion towards others is well remembered by all. Speaking after the event, Bill said: “It was a real pleasure to be part of an afternoon with so much laughter…Wiston Lodge has an amazing ethos and it was uplifting to hear how the volunteers had turned their lives around with the nurture they found there.”

aileenAileen Campbell, MSP and Minister for Children and Young People, talking to attendees about Wiston Lodge’s role in enacting key policy developments in youth and community work

Those present were delighted to welcome back Aileen Campbell, MSP and Minister for Children and Young People to Wiston Lodge for the event. Aileen spoke passionately about the links between the charitable work of the organisation and the government’s national policy developments relating to her ministerial responsibilities, including youth work and community learning and development.  “The Scottish Government’s aspiration is to make Scotland one of the best countries to grow up in and Wiston Lodge is obviously playing a crucial role in realising that vision.”

wendy stuartWiston Lodge’s Wendy Johnstone thanks Volunteer Action South Lanarkshire’s Stuart Reilly for helping complete our volunteering friendly award

Said Johnstone, “This has been a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our wonderful Wiston volunteers!  They give of their time, their energy, their skills and their enthusiasm. Our organisation is significantly richer for their involvement. We would like to thank all those who have supported and continue to support Wiston Lodge’s volunteering programme, including our funders: SSE’s Clyde Wind Farm and The Bank of Scotland Foundation, VASlan, Volunteer Scotland, the local high schools, volunteers’ family and friends and of course all the dedicated volunteers themselves.”