Thousands of Edinburgh citizens who have given up their time to volunteer and support their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic have been honoured by Lord Provost Frank Ross.
This was after it was announced they are all Inspiring Volunteer Award-winners 2020.
Edinburgh’s Inspiring Volunteer Awards, now in its fourteenth year, reflects the huge range of organisations and individuals who give their time freely to work with the city’s vibrant charity and non-profit sectors.
Volunteers within community projects received award certificates earlier in the year but until now the winner of Volunteer of the Year had yet to be announced.
It was decided that this year a different approach was needed and, in recognition of those many thousands of citizens who have assisted others during the coronavirus crisis, that 'the Citizens of Edinburgh' should receive the Volunteer of the Year award.
The updated Roll of Honour plaque naming the Citizens of Edinburgh as the joint winners was unveiled during a special virtual meeting between the Lord Provost, Deputy Lord Provost Joan Griffiths and Paul Wilson, Chief Officer of Volunteer Edinburgh as they paid tribute to the volunteering efforts in 2020.
Edinburgh routinely benefits from around 30% of our residents giving up their time to assist their fellow citizens. During the pandemic, the commitment from volunteers remained and interest in volunteering in the Capital has grown by more than 200%.
Lord Provost Frank Ross said:
Edinburgh has always had a thriving voluntary and community sector with thousands of volunteers helping people throughout the city and giving their valuable skills and time to worthy causes every year. In my role as Volunteer Champion I have the privilege of meeting many who go out of their way to help others and I’ve been truly humbled this year by how brilliantly our city has come together to respond to the pandemic. Every single person giving their time, skills and commitment to help others is a vital part of Edinburgh’s resilience and a symbol of how we’ll move forward.
Choosing my Inspiring Volunteer of the Year is always a virtually impossible task and for 2020, in such difficult times, with so many more people giving their time for others, the Deputy Lord Provost and I, with the assistance of Paul, agreed that we needed to take a different approach. That’s why we’re awarding the Citizens of Edinburgh our Inspiring Volunteers of the Year, to recognise and thank the many thousands of citizens who have gone the extra mile help others during the coronavirus crisis. My sincerest thanks to you all for the help, time, care and consideration which has been so freely given, you have truly done Edinburgh proud.
Deputy Lord Provost Joan Griffiths said:
In recognition of how many people have helped others, be they family, friends, neighbours or strangers, countless people have benefitted from this assistance, and I was honoured to unveil the Lord Provost’s Inspiring Volunteer of the Year 2020 entry for the Citizens of Edinburgh.
“The entire city is united in our gratitude to the legions of volunteers who have, and who I hope will continue to, help looking after our most vulnerable citizens throughout this pandemic and going forward as we return to normality.
Paul Wilson, Chief Officer of Volunteer Edinburgh
Edinburgh has always been a city of volunteers with many thousands of people giving their time, energy and commitment every single day. However, this year it has been inspiring to see how many people wanted to support their communities. Whether that was informally by being a good neighbour, joining one of the brilliant mutual aid groups that sprung up during lockdown or volunteering more formally, I am confident that the city could not have gotten through the past 10 months without them all. I can’t think of a more fitting Inspiring Volunteer of the Year 2020, than the people of our city who made and continue to make such a huge difference.
The Inspiring Volunteer Awards plaque in the City Chambers is part of the city’s civic heritage, which will be seen by the public for many years to come.