This week marks Volunteer Week, and no-one knows more about lending a hand than 81-year-old Stella Robertson.
The octogenarian celebrated 15 years of service with Homestart Kirkcaldy this week, and has urged anyone thinking of giving their time to a local group to do so.
Unfortuantely, due to a recent health scare, Stella has been forced to give up volunteering for the charity, based on South Fergus Place, and says it was with a heavy heart.
“I have loved every minute of my time here,” she said.
“I’m very sad to leave and there have been a few tears, but I had to make up my mind. It’s been the best 15 years I’ve ever had.”
When Stella first started volunteering with Homestart Kirkcaldy, she supported families needing support at home, and at one time, was seeing up to five families a week.
“The majority I worked with had a disabled child in the home, and I got very attached to my families.
“For some of the mums, they just need a to talk, so I’d go and have a cup of tea.
“For others, they needed a couple of hours of time with their friends.”
Stella, who has helped out in the creche in recent years, said she still keeps in touch with many of the people she has supported over the years, having worked with close to 100 families.
“I’ve done it so long the first bairn I worked with has now left school!” she laughed.
Stella said the work carried out by volunteers in the community cannot be underestimated.
“It is so important because you can see the difference from the first time you go out and see a family.
“They know that there is someone there for them and they look forward to you coming.If you love kids like I do, do it, because you’ll get so much out of it.”
Stella has plenty experience of kids - she has three children, six grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Eleanor Thomson, senior co-ordinator, said the team couldn’t quite believe Stella was leaving, adding: “We’re all very sad to see her go. She’s been a trustee on our board too, and had a big impact on everyone.”
Now properly retired, Stella said she has plenty to keep her busy, including walking mini Yorkie Benji and knitting.”
Home-Start Kirkcaldy offers support, friendship and practical help to parents with young children in Kirkcaldy, Kinghorn, Burntisland and Cardenden. They will soon be taking on a new intake of volunteers to support their local families, and they always welcome new people into the fold. If it’s something you would like to do or want more information, visit www. homestartkirkcaldy.org.uk