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Sutherland groups' work recognised

By Staff Reporter

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Two Sutherland community groups were among the big winners at this year’s Highland Third Sector Awards.

The flagship awards ceremony celebrates the efforts of volunteers, community groups and voluntary organisations in the Highlands.

Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust (KoSDT) received the Reducing Vulnerability in the Community Award.

And Lairg Learning Centre was presented with the Community Initiative of the Year 2019 Award.

They were two of 13 winners in categories ranging from Youth Volunteer of the Year to Third Sector Organisation of the Year.

The ceremony was held recently at Strathpeffer Pavilion, and was attended by around 120 guests.

Presenting the awards was Kirsty Ewen, who is a Sport Scotland Ambassador and winner of last year’s BBC Scotland’s Get Inspired unsung hero award.

KoSDT manager David Watson said the award meant a great deal to the group.

“Outwith our local area we are mostly known for out capital developments such as Falls of Shin and the Business Barn in Ardgay,” he said.

“”However, the Trust is perhaps less well know for delivering local social projects such as the Community Food Stop and Keep Active Together which focus not just on healthy eating and fitness but also on inclusion and combating loneliness of individuals within our community.

“We are very proud of these projects that serve our community. So we were delighted to accept this award on behalf of all the people who have worked on or volunteered for these projects over the years.

Lairg Learning Centre won its award for the work it has undertaken to raiseclimate awareness, with funding from the Climage Challenge Fund. The centrehas worked with more than 2000 members of local communities and estimates it has saved more than 40 tonnes of CO2 emissions to date.

Centre manager Jane Dixon said: “I am so proud of my amazing team for all their hard work and it’s lovely to get recognition for our work .”

Mhairi Wylie, chief officer, Highland Third Sector, said: “Volunteers and voluntary organisations play an invaluable role in every community in the Highlands and we want to recognise the tremendous work they do while giving them the thanks they so richly deserve.”

Befrienders Highland was also named the third sector organisation of the year for its committmentto supporting and raising awareness of people with mental ill health issues.

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