A FATHER and daughter from Alloa have urged more Wee County residents to volunteer for charities after seeing the positive effects it had on their lives.

Douglas Cameron was last year named Volunteer of the Year at the Hospice UK Awards after first signing up to volunteer at Rachel House Children’s Hospice with his daughter Lucy in 2016.

The pair give up their Sunday mornings to help children in the care of CHAS and their siblings in residence at the hospice, supporting them to participate in arts, crafts and leisure activities.

This week is Volunteers Week and Douglas is urging more people to get out and about to charities, explaining the profound benefits it had on him and daughter.

He said: “I am a very proud advocate of CHAS and it is very humbling to represent all the good that so many people do. Volunteering gives me a tremendous sense of worth, CHAS staff add to that by always making me feel valued.”

“In 2016, my teenage daughter Lucy was still at school and had ambitions of being a paediatrician. I knew that CHAS would be an ideal means of encouraging those ambitions, so we signed up together to volunteer two years ago. My initial experience of CHAS was and mainly still is Sunday mornings at Rachel House fixing the technology and getting involved in activities. It's actually the most fun and relaxing thing I do in a week, it's generally a joy.”

Douglas continued: “Lucy is off to study medicine at university now, in part thanks to her experience at Rachel House. In a nutshell, volunteering is good for you. It doesn't take much to find a bit of time, particularly if you have a skill or hobby that you enjoy anyway.

“There are so many ways to contribute, offer up your time for crafts, driving, gardening, things you might do fairly thanklessly in your day job or at home in daily life, could contribute a lot of value to a charitable cause. You might be surprised at how little you have to move out of your comfort zone to make a difference and get a lot back.”

Morven MacLean, head of volunteering for CHAS, said: “Traditionally, volunteering has been seen as an activity for those who are not working, who have lots of free time. Times have changed and at CHAS we’re committed to ensuring that everyone can get involved, no matter how little time they have to give.

“Douglas and Lucy are perfect examples of how volunteering can be flexible and fit with busy lives. Douglas works full time and Lucy studies at university. Volunteering isn’t an add-on to their week but the way they choose to spend time together. They’ve found a way to combine family time with making an impact on others.”

To get involved in CHAS as a volunteer, whether as a fundraising champion, represent the charity as an ambassador in the community or pitch a new idea, go to www.chas.org.uk/volunteer.