Shopper-Aide receives UK’s highest award for volunteers

Shopper-Aide director Susan Paterson.
Shopper-Aide director Susan Paterson.

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Kintyre charity Shopper-Aide has been honoured with the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The social enterprise is one of just 18 organisations in Scotland to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service which recognises outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their communities.

Founded in 2011, Shopper-Aide now has a large group of volunteers based in Campbeltown but working throughout Kintyre and Gigha providing support and services to people aged over 60.

Volunteers are involved in many aspects of the organisation including: shopping; helping in the home; social activities, including ‘phone buddies’ developed in the last year to keep people connected; driving and keeping Shopper-Aide’s vehicles clean; sorting books and jigsaws; helping with crafts; visiting clients; administration; painting of premises; and as board members.

Susan Paterson, Shopper-Aide director, said: ‘This is a huge honour for us and the many volunteers who have helped us over the last 10 years, and particularly for the 64 who have worked throughout the last year helping with the increased number of clients through the Covid crisis.

‘I am delighted Shopper-Aide’s work to provide services for older people has been recognised and would like to thank the volunteers and staff they support as well. I am sure our clients would join with me in doing so.’

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on June 2, the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.

Representatives of Shopper-Aide are expected to receive the award crystal and certificate from Jane MacLeod, Lord-Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute, on behalf of the Queen, later this summer.

Dependent on restrictions in place at the time, two of the charity’s volunteers will also attend a garden party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh in July 2022, along with other recipients of this year’s award.

Mrs MacLeod said: ‘I am delighted that Kintyre-based Shopper-Aide has been recognised in its 10th year of service to the community.

‘Shopper-Aide is a lifeline for older people throughout Kintyre, not only because of practical assistance with shopping and at home, but because of the vital social contact its volunteers bring to people who may otherwise be isolated and alone.

‘For almost 15 months we have come to realise the importance of social interaction. Everyone at Shopper-Aide should be very proud of what they have achieved and their Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is very richly deserved indeed.’

Depute Lieutenant for Kintyre Jim Martin added: ‘I know of many people in Kintyre who say they simply couldn’t do without Shopper-Aide; particularly given the challenges of the last year.

‘They often say that the volunteers deserve a medal – and now they have received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

‘This is a fantastic way to celebrate their first decade in service to the community.

‘Thank you to everyone involved for making such a difference to the lives of local people.’