Teenage volunteer wins award from Prime Minister

Maddie with mother at community award ceremony

Maddie (Pictured with mother Rachel): 'So humbled' by award.

Maddie Hayes has been a befriending volunteer for three years at the Leonard Cheshire care service in Inverness.

17th October 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

A teenager from Inverness has received a prestigious award from the Prime Minister for her volunteering.

Madeline Hayes, known as Maddie, has been a befriending volunteer for three years at Leonard Cheshire in Scotland’s Cheshire House social care service in Inverness, supporting disabled people to learn new digital skills and access assistive technology.

The 14-year-old has also put her creative skills to work creating a series of YouTube videos capturing life at the care service.

Maddie has now become one of only a handful of people across the UK to receive a Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers who contribute to positive change in their local community.

She said: ““I am so humbled by this award. I feel so lucky being able to volunteer in such a nice environment where I’ve always felt welcome.

“I help out when I can and I don’t think of volunteering or befriending as something I have to do; it’s something I choose to do.”

The Points of Light awards were first established in the US in 1990 to recognise outstanding volunteers. Since 2014 they have been awarded in the UK by the Prime Minister.

 In a congratulatory letter to Madeline, PM Boris Johnson wrote: "I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of how you are opening up the world of digital technology and the opportunities that these technologies offer to connect disabled people and combat isolation."

Stuart Robertson, director of Leonard Cheshire in Scotland, said Maddie had made an “amazing contribution” to the lives of the residents at Cheshire House.

“Everyone loves Maddie,” he added.

“She’s been a breath of fresh air – thanks to Maddie, individuals have gained vital skills and can now feel the benefits of the digital age.”

June Batt, a resident at Cheshire House, said: “I always have a great time with Maddie. She’s kind, pretty and the videos we have created together have made me famous. I’m always watching them on YouTube.”