Volunteers with the Edinburgh branch of the Royal Voluntary Service were treated to a thank you tea this afternoon in the Gorgie Suite at Tynecastle Stadium.
The afternoon event included a ceremony when medals, clasps and badges were awarded to the most dedicated and long-serving volunteers.
The long-service awards, for people who had volunteered for 15 years or more, were presented on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, who first approved them in 1961.
The Royal Voluntary Service is a charity that works with the elderly, helping maintain an active lifestyle and reducing loneliness. The service is provided in large part by volunteers who help individuals make hospital appointments, go shopping or visit relatives.
Attending the event were active volunteers, beneficiaries of the charity and some officials from the RVS.
Several of the volunteers spoke of their positive experiences helping out. Ian Bulloch, who volunteers as a driver said: “A lot of people have families who are married or who live far away from them or are working, so the family can’t necessarily help all of the time.
“To organise this service, people can be referred from a doctor’s surgery, for example. I have been doing it for five years now, and I love it. Folk enjoy the opportunity to talk to somebody. You get their life story! I could write a book – maybe I will!”
Many of the volunteers say they find the experience worthwhile and personally beneficial. Nan Christie, from Lochend explained: “We pick up so many ladies at their homes and take them back to the library. They then choose their books and I make some tea and chocolate biscuits and we have a natter. They all seem to enjoy it perfectly fine. I do too. You get a lot of feedback. It’s not a one-way street. I live on my own so it helps me as well.”
Speaking on today’s event Nigel Green, who is RVS operations manager in Edinburgh, Lothian and Borders said: “We have a great event on here at Tynecastle today in Gorgie. All our volunteers have been invited. We’ve got some people who are getting long service awards. Some people have been volunteering for us for over 40 years and we are here to recognise that and to have a good day out. Everyone has been looking forward to it.”
The Royal Voluntary Service encourage anyone who wishes to volunteer to visit their website.