Staff at a Kirkcaldy-based service have been celebrating after one of their local volunteers scooped a prestigious national award.
Lorraine Lyall has been honoured for her work with children through Barnardo’s Scotland Child and Family Support Service’s volunteer befriending scheme.
She received the coveted Scottish Marsh Trust volunteer award which recognises the contribution made to Barnardo’s by their volunteers across all departments and throughout the organisation.
The volunteer, or group of volunteers, must have made a difference to the work of Barnardo’s by demonstrating an exceptional level of support and commitment.
Lorraine achieved this by providing intensive support to two young boys. She started off working with one of the youngsters who was struggling to adapt to life after being in care. They enjoyed trips together to local parks and community amenities and when his brother was also in need of a befriender, Lorraine was on hand to support them both.
She dealt with challenging behaviour but maintained a consistent approach to helping them. This was on top of Lorraine working full time as a support worker and dealing with her own family commitments.
She told The Press she looked into volunteering around two years ago after her own children had grown up and left home.
Initially she had thought about fostering and then she logged on to the Barnardo’s website and saw an advert for befriender volunteers.
“I phoned up and had an interview and then I got involved,” Lorraine said.
“I have helped a few families and started off giving support to a girl who was a twin. One of the befrienders left and I ended up helping both the twins. I was then allocated to helping a six month old baby, helping the mum with things like feeding and budgeting for a few months. I then started helping out with one of the boys before supporting them both.”
Lorraine has worked in the care sector for over 15 years and it was this experience she was able to call on when spending time with the youngsters. She was able to overcome many obstacles during a period of great upheaval in their lives including dealing with homelessness.
Lorraine has been able to secure a better standard of living for the siblings and a secure family home - going over and above her volunteering duties.
“I really enjoy volunteering and just being with the children seeing them happy and relaxed. The children’s social skills have improved as well as their confidence and self-esteem.”
She added: “I find it rewarding seeing that I am making a difference.”