Volunteer Centre Western Isles encourages groups to ‘Give a Gift, Light up a Life’ this Christmas - Volunteer Centre Western Isles

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Volunteer Centre Western Isles encourages groups to ‘Give a Gift, Light up a Life’ this Christmas

Volunteer Centre Western Isles encourages groups to ‘Give a Gift, Light up a Life’ this Christmas

Volunteer Centre Western Isles have launched a step by step guide for community groups, third sector organisations and churches to run their own ‘Give a Gift, Light up a Life’ project, and spread a little kindness this Christmas.

Launched this week by Charlie Nicolson in Lewis and Alasdair Allan, MSP in Uist, the ‘Give a Gift, Light Up a Life’ campaign aims to encourage volunteering to bring a smile to those who may be isolated in our communities. Groups and organisations are being encouraged to organise their own local campaigns in their local areas.

The step by step guide supports groups to get involved by planning their own small acts of kindness projects to improve links between people within communities. Download a copy here VCWI give a gift online landscape

Suzanne Macaulay, Volunteer Centre Western Isles Manager said: “There are many people, particularly older people, within our communities who do not see anyone over the festive period or receive cards or a gift.  This can be a very difficult time of year for those who feel isolated or lonely and a small gift and/ or card with a message donated to this appeal could make a huge difference, so they know that others in our community are thinking of them. This campaign encourages community volunteering to help make a difference this winter.”

This is the third year of the campaign, which is expanding every year in partnership with a growing number of agencies. Sue Long, NHS Western Isles, commented: “The mPower team have worked with Volunteer Centre Western Isles since 2019 to deliver the ‘Give a Gift, Light a Life’ Campaign which links well to our mPower Community Navigators, who support those aged 18 or over, living with long term conditions, to live safely, independently and well at home as they are often socially isolated and living in our rural communities. The generosity of the public has been amazing and the appreciation of the recipients heartfelt; for some individuals it has been the only Christmas gift they have received, for others the fact that people had been kind enough to donate a gift has touched them deeply.”

Last year, even in the midst of the pandemic, donations and deliveries continued with a main drop off point in Stornoway and the North Lochs Community Association (NLCA) and Pairc Community Council volunteers donating widely to people in their area, alongside Barvas school staff, Alzheimer’s Scotland and other community groups across the islands taking part. Staff at the Harris Distillery decided that instead of running their Secret Santa, they would buy and donate gifts to the campaign. Last year also saw the campaign being extended across the Western Isles, with drop off points in Uist and Barra.  Any gifts which were not distributed by the NHS Community Navigators were given to the Western Isles Hospital chaplaincy to gift to those they supported over Christmas.

Charlie Nicolson commented “This campaign shows the massive difference small acts of kindness in our communities can make to people. With people still feeling isolated, particularly due to COVID, making contact with people who might be isolated in our community is more important than ever.”

If your group or organisation would like to get involved in ‘Give a Gift, Light up a Life’ this Christmas, you can download the guide from www.volunteercentrewi.org or contact info@volunteercentrewi.org  01851700366 to request a printed copy of the guide.

If you would like to donate gifts or handwritten cards, there will be drop off points from November with more added over the next month:

  • Western Isles Library (old café) in Stornoway
  • Volunteer Centre Western Isles Offices:
  • 95 Cromwell Street, Stornoway
  • Old Primary School, Tarbert, Harris
  • 41 Airport Road, Balivanich, Uist
  • Am Bothan, Northbay, Isle of Barra
  • Uist – UCVO Thrift shop, MacGillivrays, Bayhead Shop, Co-op branches in Daliburgh, Creagorry and Sollas



Sue Long, NHS Western Isles, with Suzanne Macaulay, Volunteer Centre Manager and Charlie Nicolson launching the campaign in Lewis

Alasdair Allan, MSP launching the campaign in Uist with Vicki Manchester, Volunteer Centre Development Worker