A volunteer from Camphill School Aberdeen, a charity that provides day and residential support to children and young people with learning disabilities and complex additional support needs, has been recognised in Scottish Charity Awards celebrating the best of the voluntary sector.

Retired university lecturer Garry Duthie, who has volunteered at Camphill School Aberdeen for more than five years, often seven days a week, has been nominated in the Volunteer of the Year Category in The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations SCVO's Scottish Charity Awards, created to celebrate the very best of Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector.

CSA continues to work on its £10million capital campaign, Building Futures Transforming Lives, in direct response to the crisis in care and will provide meaningful opportunities for an additional 54 young people with complex additional support needs.

Phase 1 of the campaign will build an 11 bedroom state-of-the-art residential house with an independent living wing which will be used as accommodation for highly complex young people who are unable to always fully participate in “home” life, or as a training flat for young people who may be able to live more independently as they transition to adulthood.

The second project of the first phase will transform the former Murtle book shop into a sustainable social enterprise and community hub, Murtle Market, creating a ‘zero waste’ organic farm shop, refillery and heritage hub to promote the charity’s impressive 90 decade history and showcase the range of different crafts made by the young people it supports.

The school offers a range of therapies for its students including alpaca therapy, and Garry has played an instrumental role in transforming and developing the sessions with the animals.

Daily walks are often the highlight of many young people’s week and a highly coveted activity, resulting in double shifts for Garry. His commitment, especially to the alpacas and the therapy sessions brings meaning, purpose and enjoyment to everyone within the organisation.

Currently the charity supports more than 100 young people who often struggle in mainstream education and other care settings, but thrive at the charity. Regardless of their abilities, the children and young people grow in confidence, independence and fulfil their potential – often achieving outcomes their families never thought possible.

Alex Busch, Executive Director of Camphill School Aberdeen, said: “We want to give a big shout out about how much Garry means to us. Much like the Alpacas, Garry appears calm, patient and peaceful and that works so well with the young people. He has been able to adapt the therapeutic sessions with the alpacas to encompass everyone regardless of their needs”

“His ability to observe and remember the likes and dislikes of each young person creates a truly person-centred experience, often working with those that are non-verbal. Garry is truly humble, inspirational and an incredibly dedicated volunteer whose efforts we wish to celebrate.”

Now in its 17th year, The Scottish Charity Awards celebrate the very best of Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector, highlighting the incredible organisations, inspiring people and innovative projects that have made an immeasurable difference to the communities they support over the past year.

Voting is open to members of the public until Wednesday May 24. Visit Scottish Charity Awards - SCVO for more information.

Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony taking place on Friday, June 23 at the Sheraton Hotel, Edinburgh.

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