Charity awards finalists help elderly


14th August 2019 by Yasmin Hackett 0 Comments

Two charity chiefs who met in an awards ceremony joined forces to bring a smile to elderly residents in Prestonpans.

Fiona Mitchell, manager of Harlawhill Day Centre, and Louise Russell, chief executive of Give a Dog a Bone, met at this year’s Scottish Charity Awards, held by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO).

Both organisations were shortlisted in the Celebrating communities category for their amazing work in their local areas, with Give a Dog a Bone taking away the trophy on the night.

While at the ceremony the two charity bosses got chatting and realised their organisations has a shared ethos – to tackle social isolation and loneliness.

Fiona said: “At Harlawhill we see the person, not the illness. My job is to make sure that our members are looked after with love and tender care – to make sure their day is as uplifting as possible and to build up trusting relationships.  At the Awards we were on the table next to Give a Dog a Bone and realised we were in the same category! Louise and I really bonded and I realised the dogs would make great visitors at the Centre.

"It’s often nice to give back so we’re going to do something special to raise some money for them too.”

Louise added: “We support the over 60s to afford a rescue pet companion and reduce social isolation and loneliness through animal companionship. When I met Fiona at the Awards I thought ‘they really deserve to meet our companionship dogs!’ so we arranged to come along for a visit. I think the Centre members have enjoyed it; it was really lovely to hear that of the 20 people there all but two had had dogs in their life.

"Dogs are a great ice breaker as they bring back memories and remind people of happy times with family, so I think it was quite a special thing to do.”