A celebration of our volunteers

From left to right: DGHP Chairman David McMillan, from Stranraer; Rena Gardiner, from Moffat; Lesley Baird, Chief Executive of TPAS Scotland; Ronald Ritchie, from Lochmaben; Doreen Cowan, from the Lochans; Harry McGrath, student from Auchencairn who created a DGHP volunteer film; Pat McTaggart, of Kirkcudbright; Zoe Forster, DGHP Chief Executive and Roman DePaulitte, of Dumfries.
From left to right: DGHP Chairman David McMillan, from Stranraer; Rena Gardiner, from Moffat; Lesley Baird, Chief Executive of TPAS Scotland; Ronald Ritchie, from Lochmaben; Doreen Cowan, from the Lochans; Harry McGrath, student from Auchencairn who created a DGHP volunteer film; Pat McTaggart, of Kirkcudbright; Zoe Forster, DGHP Chief Executive and Roman DePaulitte, of Dumfries.

Dumfries and Galloway’s housing partnership held a special event recently to celebrate the volunteers who are involved with the organisation.

The volunteer event was held earlier this month in Dumfries, with around 140 people attending.

Volunteers on the day included DGHP tenants, members of the company’s District Management Committees (DMC), the independent Federation of Tenants and Residents Association, local Tenants and Residents Associations, local furniture groups, local community groups and other individuals who have supported the organisation. Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) Scotland Chief Executive Lesley Baird, and Colin Cassie, also attended.

DGHP was recently awarded gold accreditation from TPAS for tenant participation work with tenants and customers.

Lesley Baird, of TPAS Scotland, said: “It is great that DGHP said ‘thank you’ to all the volunteers and that they recognise the positive impact this has on DGHP services. So many organisations often forget to say thank you.”

DGHP Chairman, David McMillan, said: “The day was about taking the time out to say ‘thank you’ to each and every one of the volunteers who have played a part in supporting DGHP through volunteering. We have people who are part of committees and groups as well as individuals who have helped out as part of a project, or a one-off event.

“The event was about celebrating the valuable input all of our volunteers have into DGHP.”

Chief Executive of DGHP, Zoe Forster, added: “Without the volunteers who give their time so generously DGHP wouldn’t be where it is today. Quite simply, we owe them a debt of gratitude, we can’t ever repay them.”

The day was a huge success and also saw the launch of DGHP’s mental health awareness campaign, aimed at tackling the stigma around mental illness. Speakers from Support in Mind Scotland (SIMS) congratulated DGHP on the campaign and talked about their own experiences of living with mental illness.

Emma Scott, manager, said: “It is great to see that DGHP is doing this and it will make a difference in improving people’s lives. The more organisations that do this, the more that stigma is challenged and social isolation is reduced – all this goes a long way to improving mental and physical health.”

A special film capturing the story behind DGHP’s volunteers and some words from the organisation on how they are valued was played.

The film was produced in partnership with a student from Dumfries and Galloway College, Harry McGrath.

“Harry went above and beyond to produce this film, which was a complete surprise to the volunteers. They all believed they were being filmed as part of work for Harry’s course, but the surprise was actually on them. The video is an excellent piece of work and we hope it will encourage others to get involved in the future,” added Zoe.

Harry, who lives in Auchencairn, worked on the project as part of his college work and partly in his own time and DGHP can now use the film to encourage new volunteers.