translate this page >
volunteering news

Paul Edwards and his Guide Dog Roscoe

Lauren Roden of National Galleries of Scotland nominated their volunteer Paul Edwards and his guide dog Roscoe for an Inspiring Volunteer Award.

“It may be cliché to say that volunteers are inspiring but watching Paul work and seeing his photographs motivates me to keep connecting people with volunteer opportunities that do a world of good. I never get tired of telling people about Paul and watching their eyes get wider when I say our Volunteer Photographer, who creates beautiful images that we use to help promote volunteering, is registered blind.

As a Volunteer Manager, I am grateful that organisations like Volunteer Edinburgh host Inspiring Volunteer Awards. Sharing these stories hopefully means people across the community can also be inspired by people from all walks of life contributing to society in endlessly creative ways through volunteering. Enormous thanks and well done to Paul and all the volunteers honoured with awards!”

Special Recognition Award for Arts, Culture and Heritage Volunteering

Paul (pictured above) was awarded a Special Recognition Award for Arts, Culture and Heritage Volunteering at our 2018 awards ceremony for his amazing contribution as a Volunteer Photographer at the galleries.

Huge congratulations again Paul on a very well deserved award in recognition of your time, energy and commitment to our wonderful city from all of us here at Volunteer Edinburgh.

He was so chuffed he wrote his thoughts down and this is what he had to say:

“During the last few years I’ve felt I’m joyfully getting back to how I like to be. It feels like I’m really busy again (although still drive myself on to do more).

Undoubtably, the photography I do for the National Galleries of Scotland is my biggest source of pride and thought but, learning a new life with my guide dog Roscoe (since 17 April 2017) has not only transformed my life but given me a whole new aspect of activity. It is exhausting though!!

I feel a bit embarrassed that I didn’t really take in what Lauren Roden said to me about putting my name forward for a volunteering award. It had therefore overwhelmed me when Lauren told me I’d be awarded it!

I’ve never received an award before. I was totally shell shocked. As with all my photography work over the years I realise it has an important use. That said however it has never felt like work as much as something I love doing. To be thanked and furthermore nominated for an award left me speechless (not at all like me!). My best friend Mike (plus Roscoe) and I attended the Edinburgh City Chambers for the ceremony. I was impressed with the marble floor, wood panelling and wonderful ceiling. I still couldn’t believe this was happening.

There were several speeches but one aspect stood out. An award has been named after a very special person, Ian McInnes, who sadly died but worked very hard in spite of his health to improve equality and accessibility in volunteering. I met this man many years ago when he helped me with advice whilst working at Citizens Advice Edinburgh. He was an inspiration to me then and I’ve gladly become mindful of him again. I wonder how many people have benefited from his legacy?

My turn came and Roscoe and I got up and I was awarded a beautifully framed certificate by Frank Ross, Rt. Hon. Lord Provost of The City of Edinburgh. We had our picture taken in front of a Volunteer Edinburgh banner and in true spirit Roscoe made everyone laugh as his wagging tail tapped on the banner!

It was a very special night. My certificate hangs on a wall where I can see it every morning. Something I will always treasure.

Thank you Lauren not just for the nomination but for what has become a wonderful part of my life with the National Galleries of Scotland.”

Edinburgh’s Inspiring Volunteer Awards reflect the exceptional range of organisations and individuals working in the city’s vibrant charity and non-profit sectors. Well done to all recipients of an award this year. You can find out more about these awards and our new Ian McInnes Award on our web page here.