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'You Will Make a Difference'

'You Will Make a Difference'

Thursday June 6

During Volunteers' Week, Christian Aid celebrates three of its Scottish volunteers

As part of Volunteers’ Week 2024. from June 3-9, Christian Aid is joining other organisations to celebrate 40 years of the movement, share stories of its volunteers and inspire people to sign up for a role.

Approaching its own anniversary, the charity was set up in 1945 to give aid to refugees in Europe after World War Two. It works alongside local partners, providing urgent, practical help in times of crisis and beyond to vulnerable communities worldwide, while highlighting suffering, tackling injustice and championing people’s rights.

Campbell McGregor and Gordon Webster, from Renfrew North Parish Church, have clocked up more than 100 years between them, of volunteering for the organisation.

Campbell, is an organiser with the Renfrew and Inchinnan Christian Aid Group, which was founded in 1973.

He said: “We’ve organised countless house-to-house collections, sponsored walks, concerts, praise nights, and coffee mornings. I’m retiring this year after 51 years of service, but I will still be a regular fixture at weekly church coffee mornings, the proceeds of which often go to Christian Aid.

“I’d recommend anyone to try volunteering - it has been a very rewarding experience and I’ve met many new friends through this role, over the years.”

Edinburgh volunteer, Patricia Brignall said she joined her local Church of Scotland almost 30 years ago when she and her family moved to their home in Colinton and became involved with Christian Aid almost immediately.

“That September there was a plea from the pulpit for people to do a Christian Aid street collection,” she said. “I offered. My parents, in Ireland, were enthusiastic supporters of Christian Aid and Oxfam and often involved the family.

“The next thing I knew I was being invited to join the Christian Aid Committee. The chairperson at the time was a force to be reckoned with, and it was with trepidation that some years later I allowed myself to be persuaded to follow in her not-inconsiderable footsteps.

“Our main events were the sprng sale at the start of Christian Aid Week, a ceilidh, our annual quiz night, carol singing and, of course Christian Aid Week itself. Some of our regular events have disappeared, although the quiz night remains popular.

“If you’re thinking you’d like to be a volunteer, but you're not sure it's for you, I’d say give it a go! You can choose how you volunteer, you’ll make new friends, and you will make a difference!"

Charlie Meiklejohn, Community Engagement and Fundraising Manager, said supporters are the backbone of Christian Aid's mission to end poverty. She added: “Without the unwavering dedication and commitment of people like Campbell, Gordon and Patricia, we simply couldn't make the impact we do.

“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank them and all our amazing supporters. And we invite everyone to join us in this fight against poverty and stand with us as we make a difference.

“We have all kinds of roles from fundraising to helping at festivals and we’d be delighted to have more people sign up and be a part of something truly inspiring.”

If you’d like to find out more about the variety of volunteer roles with Christian Aid, visit the website and email with queries.