It was 'Surprise" time for Martin Smith on Wednesday morning when staff and volunteers representing the Islands Book Trust met with Bellann O' Brien of the Volunteer Centre Western Isles upstairs at the Woodlands Centre in Stornoway.

Cloaked in secrecy - with an EVENTS photographer present nearby but, until the last moment, totally preoccupied with reading his mobile phone display – the event was set up to present Martin Smith with the Clisham Award. 

The Clisham Award has been developed by the Volunteer Centre Western Isles to recognise outstanding commitment to volunteering. An organisation, like the Islands Book Trust,  can request a Clisham Award for any of their volunteers who have made a long term or high input commitment. And it was well-known that Martin would have been reluctant to appear had he been aware that fuss would be made.

Martin was nominated for working tirelessly for more than a decade to promote and further the work of the Islands Book Trust.  "As a charitable organisation without the dedication of those like Martin it just wouldn’t be possible to carry out all the work we do," the group says.

Alayne Barton, the IBT publications officer, went on: “Martin deserves the award because he has volunteered with IBT for more than a decade, driving around restocking books and putting up posters at his own expense. 

"He was still working at his day-job for a good amount of that time too so all the IBT work was done after-hours, as it were. 

"He is always cheerful and willing to help with anything the trust needs done – and anything you ask him to do he does quickly!  He is really the star of the show – but such a quiet understated little star no-one notices that it’s actually Martin that keeps the show on the road! “

Recovering from the surprise, Martin thanked everyone for their thoughts…and took part in the photo line-up!

 The Islands Book Trust Line-up…Mairi MacKenzie, Marketing Officer; Rhoda Macdonald, Administrator; Alayne Barton, Publications Officer; Martin Smith, volunteer; John Groom, volunteer; Donnie Morrison, co-opted IBT member/volunteer

The Volunteer Centre Western Isles works with local agencies, organisations and individuals to encourage, promote and support volunteering in your local area. 

They provide expertise in volunteer management along with support and recognition of volunteering within the local community, to potential volunteers, existing volunteers and organisations that involve volunteers. Training or one-to-one support can be provided around issues relating to good practice on volunteer management. They can also support your group or organisation to develop volunteering opportunities and find volunteers.

If you are interested in volunteering, they can help you look for volunteering opportunities in your local  area. You can find out what you're interested in doing, and we will try to match you with a suitable volunteering role, which could be anything from being an adult volunteer supporting the Police Youth Volunteering Scheme to helping at a music or arts session for people with dementia once a month. If you want to volunteer then we are here to help.  We make it easy for you to find volunteering!

We have a range of awards which recognise volunteering throughout all ages. Volunteer Centre staff can provide support with awards, please come and see us or contact one of our branches throughout the Western Isles for further information.

  • The Callanish award is for under 12’s for participation in volunteering, either individually or within small groups or teams, such as schools or youth groups. This a very flexible award to encourage an understanding of volunteering and recognise it at a young age.
  • The Saltire Award is for age 12–25 volunteers to record the skills, experience  and learning gained through successful volunteering opportunities. They are in line with the Curriculum for Excellence, they are quick and easy to administer. It is flexible and can be  awarded at various levels from one off challenges up to 500 hours. Young people simply register with Volunteer Centre staff and receive further information.
  • The Kisimul Award recognises adult volunteering age 26 and over within the community. It is a way for organisations to show their appreciation of their volunteers or for recognition of support given to one-off volunteering events.
  • The Clisham Award recognises the outstanding achievement made by exceptional volunteers. This can be for long term commitment over many years or for going the extra mile and achieving something truly special!

Please contact our Volunteer Centre Development Workers for further information or drop in and  see us at one of our branches throughout the islands!
( Bellann O’Brien, 95 Cromwell Street, Stornoway, 01851 700366   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  ; Kate Langley, The Old Primary School, Tarbert, 01859 502636  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Alternatively, please contact Suzanne Macaulay or Kirsty Macdonald, Joint Managers, on 01851 700366; visit the website; or find us on Facebook.