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Kinross-shire volunteer drivers win Age Scotland national award

2 October 2023

A rural volunteer and outreach group from Kinross-shire has won Age Scotland’s national award for Services to Older People.

The Kinross-shire Volunteer Group and Rural Outreach Scheme provide a lifeline service to older people, those with disabilities and vulnerable members of the community by helping them get out and about and giving them a greater feeling of independence.

Established 40 years ago, there are currently more than 360 clients registered with the service who live across Kinross-shire and Glenfarg.

The service provides volunteer drivers to take older people to hospital, podiatry and dental appointments as well as help with shopping, visits to the hairdresser or to attend groups and social activities that reduce loneliness and isolation and support health and wellbeing.

A reduction in public transport options across the area makes the door-to-door service all the more valuable to clients who don’t have family or friends nearby and would otherwise struggle to attend appointments or events that can be many miles from home.

Demand for the service is increasing year on year. Centralisation of NHS services has meant some older people having to travel greater distances that in the past, making them more reliant on the drivers to get them to their appointments.

The group, run by a management committee, has a team of 30 dedicated volunteer drivers who look after their clients with kindness and compassion.

Pauline Watson, secretary of the Kinross-shire Voluntary Group and Rural Outreach Scheme, said:

“Our group has worked quietly for over 40 years delivering a vital service for the residents of Kinross-shire, and while we knew we had the support and recognition of the community, it came as a very pleasant surprise to be recognised nationally for this award.

“It never ceases to amaze me how our volunteers continue to provide this first class service, even through difficult times like Covid and the cost of living crisis. This Age Scotland Award gives us the acknowledgement that we are delivering an important service and one which we know is making a difference.”

Stuart Purdy, chairman of Age Scotland’s board of trustees, said:

“I am delighted to present the Services to Older People award to the very impressive Kinross-shire Voluntary Group and Rural Outreach Scheme.

“It’s clear how important the voluntary group is to older people of Kinross-shire, providing a really important service that allows older people to attend appointments, get shopping and stay connected to friends and the community.  

“Many congratulations to the Kinross-shire Voluntary Group and Rural Outreach Scheme for all their hard work and the example they provide to us all, worthy winners of the Services for Older People award.”