Founding member of LEAP recognised
A founding member of one of South Lanarkshire’s most treasured organisations was the 2017 recipient of VASLan’s Long Service Award.
Held last week, the VASLan awards recognise those who go above and beyond for their community by volunteering for local charities and community groups.
Isabella Banks goes above and beyond for the older people of Rutherglen and Cambuslang as a founding member of the Lightburn Elderly Association Project (LEAP).
Originally from Halfway, she approached the then Strathclyde District Council in 1992 in a bid to win support for a project that aimed to fill the void in services and activities for older people.
She was successful and went on, with her LEAP colleagues and volunteers, to offer days out for older people, writing classes, keep fit classes and a walking group.
Today, 25 years later, it has introduced the Hands On Project, R:evolve and befriending service. Together these initiatives ensure maintenance is carried out on older people’s homes and that those who feel isolated receive companionship and friendship.
And older people themselves have passed on their skills and knowledge to young people through the R:evolve Project. It sees older generations teach people how to sew and upcycle their clothing.
Explaining the first ever meeting of LEAP took place in the car of an adult education worker from the council, Isabella said: “I’m extremely proud of everything the project has put on and the ever growing communities it reaches.
“It is due to the hard working and innovative staff and volunteers that this has happened, they really are fantastic.
“I was very pleased to receive the award. I was quite proud of the fact that LEAP had been recognised in that way.”
VASLan chairman Ian Barcroft said Isabella snapped up the long serving volunteer award for her pivotal role in improving the quality of life for older people. He said: “This afternoon was about highlighting how much South Lanarkshire needs and appreciates its volunteers.
“Their hard work makes a huge impact on so many lives and conveys the positive impact volunteering can have on a person’s life including improving their health and wellbeing, making friends and the selfworth they gain through helping others.”
Isabelle was one of five people and organisations that received an award at the VASLan Awards held at Hamilton Park Racecourse.
A judging panel, made up of representatives from Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership chose the winners.
Honoured Isabella received the long service award