Many thanks to AVA members who came along to Inverurie Town Hall on 23rd November 2016 for the AVA Conference. It was great to see you all there and we hope the programme was informative, useful and that you all took something positive away from the day. It's worth having a look at the Twitter hashtag #AVA2016 to see some of the online engagement from the day - thanks to everyone who contributed in that way. AVA very much appreciate all involvement during the conference, especially those who ran stalls in the hall and contributed to workshops - these are the activities that make the conference so valuable. And we hope that you enjoyed the keynote speaker this year - Lesley Riddoch has a wealth of experience and knowledge of community projects so we knew that she would be a worthy contributor. Feedback from the day told us that you found Lesley's speech very inspiring and thought-provoking so we are very pleased that she agreed to come along. All of the feedback that you gave us during the day will now be collated and taken to the 2017 AVA Conference organising committee - so we look forward to building on this event next year.
And finally, we were also delighted to present the first ever AVA Membership awards at the conference. They gave us the opportunity to recognise, acknowledge and celebrate the contributions and achievements of AVA Members. The winners are:
Community Impact Winner - MODO – Circus With Purpose
Modo were nominated by Councillor Anne Allan on behalf of the Buchan Community Safety Group. The group have been active in North Aberdeenshire since 2012 and have worked with hundreds of young people, teaching them circus skills such as juggling, stilt-walking and fire performing, and giving them an opportunity to showcase their skills in parades, galas and extravaganzas. Through their innovative way of working and their passion for improving young people’s lives, Modo have helped to build their confidence and self-esteem and are recognized for their very positive impact on both the lives of young people in the area and the communities in which they live.
Organisational Endeavour Winner – Rainbow Rogues
Rainbow Rogues were nominated by Sally Sheehan, a Trustee for the group. The group is for families from the Formartine area who have young children with a disability or additional support need, and provides a supportive play environment for children and siblings as well as supporting family carers. They have worked with over 60 families over the years and, through the provision of information, individual and peer support, have helped families feel less isolated, more empowered and have a more positive view of their child’s future. This award celebrates the group’s uniqueness and their desire to provide a new model for Aberdeenshire, not only for getting it right for every child, but for every family.
Individual Contribution Winner – David Hekelaar
David was nominated by Fiona Smith on behalf of Tarves Development Trust and Tarves Community Council for his tireless work across many community and voluntary organisations across Aberdeen and the ‘Shire, as well as sitting on the Community Planning Partnership and the Integrated Joint Board for Health and Social Care in Aberdeenshire. The panel felt that his commitment to improving local facilities, services and the environment over a number of years, and the vital contribution he makes to the Tarves community and beyond, should be recognized and acknowledged.
Individual Contribution Winner – Bridget Jones
Bridget was nominated by Fiona Weir of Cornerstone for her commitment to Cornerstone over the last 14 years. From the weekly walking group that she facilitates to her adult literacy tutoring, Bridget’s cheery personality and infectious energy always encourages the groups she is working with to learn new skills and achieve their goals, whilst bringing an element of fun to the activities and encouraging new friendships and a healthy approach to exercise.
Special Achievement Award Winner – Neil Mackie
Neil was nominated by Fiona Alderson, Service Manager at Networks of Wellbeing based in Huntly. Neil has been associated with the group since 1996, and for the last 10 years has been a supported volunteer, most recently working on the Bike Shack Project. Despite physical pain and some difficulties as a result of an accident many years ago, Neil has been instrumental to the success of the project which has refurbished over 200 bikes this year alone, and his patience, kindness and generosity with his time to new volunteers, has helped others to feel more comfortable with living in the community and created a welcoming environment for customers and volunteers alike.
Well done to all award winners!