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Glenmoriston volunteer recognised for her groundbreaking work with disabled people

By Gregor White

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Madeline Hayes (front) with some of those she has helped at Cheshire House.
Madeline Hayes (front) with some of those she has helped at Cheshire House.

A young girl volunteering at Inverness’s Cheshire House has received an award from the Prime Minister.

Madeline Hayes from Glenmoriston was just 11 years old when she became a befriending volunteer with the Leonard Cheshire charity, helping disabled people to learn new digital skills.

She has also created inspiring videos about daily life at the centre to give new service users an idea of what to expect.

The videos picked up a lot of interest on YouTube and now aged 14, she has been rewarded for her efforts with a Points of Light Award from the Prime Minister for her efforts in tackling social isolation.

“I feel so lucky being able to volunteer in such a nice environment where I’ve always felt welcome," she said.

“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.”

Miss Hayes was one of only a handful of volunteers across the UK to receive the prestigious award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers who contribute to positive change in their communities.

Cheshire House resident June Batt said: “I always have a great time with Maddie – she’s kind, pretty and the videos we have created together have made me famous!”

Stuart Robertson, director of Leonard Cheshire in Scotland, added: “We are all immensely proud of Maddie and the amazing contribution she has made to the lives of our residents at Cheshire House.”

Miss Hayes has also been nominated for volunteer of the year at this year’s Highland Heroes Awards.

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