by Lindsay Adam, former AVA Development Officer
“Does it matter if I get out of bed or go to work today?”...we all wonder that sometimes when in philosophical mode. Well the answer is YES. I discovered this when a lovely thank-you note and gift card came through my door from a happy customer. In fact, all I did for this organisation was a standard part of my role as a Development Officer with Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action, upgrading a charity to a SCIO ( Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation). However, the customer’s work is personal, if not crucial to them and often close to their heart.
Joyce Emslie is Secretary to what was Harlaw Centre Association (now Day Activities Support Association SCIO). The Association is a long established, well run charity that supports service users with significant learning difficulties in Inverurie and surrounding areas in Aberdeenshire. The Harlaw Centre is a dilapidated building due for closure, having previously been supported by Aberdeenshire Council. The Association provides therapeutic activities, trips and equipment that enhances the work and funding offered by the Council to the Harlaw Centre. There are roughly 50 service users, one of whom is Joyce’s daughter, Karen whom I met in her own home. I was privileged to meet the Association’s management committee which comprises mainly parents of the service users, giving freely of their time and doing a great job of fundraising. This is on top of managing their general life responsibilities and caring for a disabled child or adult that will never be fully independent.
No one likes change, but it is even harder to deal with as a vulnerable person. The service users of this centre now need to adapt to using multiple locations, which is a huge variation from their previous routine and safe surroundings.
In comparison to all of this my own life is really quite straightforward. To receive this small gift I did very little that I would term “above and beyond”. I did do some manual typing from hand written notes, visit Joyce in her own home and was fortunate to meet her daughter Karen. Her thank-you card referred to my “kindness”, which really touched me.
Receiving the gift made me really think about the impact of what we all do in our roles in the Third Sector. A seemingly small piece of work in this case impacted on the lives of 50 service users and their parents and relatives. It was a job done off the “to do” list for the management committee and keeps OSCR happy. Sorted…now I’m just off to get myself some flowers and chocolates, then sow some more acorns...