Stewart Livingstone from our leadership talent and learning team in Manchester’s support centre, was invited to a very special party yesterday – with Her Majesty the Queen.
He was invited to the Queen’s Garden Party at Holyrood House in recognition of his volunteering with Cathleen’s Cabin, a small and little known charity in Dunoon in Scotland.
Cathleen’s Cabin is a three bedroom static caravan that’s offered to families who need a break – either because they’ve suffered a bereavement or have children with life limiting illnesses. It’s kitted out with books, games, and a Nintendo Wii, and in the park’s grounds there’s a wooden play fort, rope swings, a pool and sports facilities. It’s the perfect break for families that wouldn’t usually be able to afford a holiday.
The charity was set up by a lady called Maddie who was inspired by her own family holidays, and the memories of how much happiness they brought her parents and siblings.
Here’s Stewart’s volunteering story in his own words:
From the moment I met Lyn from Volunteering Matters and Maddie and Karen from Cathleen’s Cabin, I knew that it was a great fit and really wanted to help. Maddie was just full of love and I couldn’t help but feel a connection – she’s got this great ability to laugh at herself which I found really endearing. I remember the one thing she said which has always stuck with me, “Maddie by name, maddie by nature!”
The first thing I did for them was create an induction for the volunteers who greeted the families at Cathleen’s Cabin. I also created a leaflet for the families, to give them information about the caravan and the surrounding area.
I knew that there was so much more that I could do with support from the Co-op too. I contacted their local store and found out the manager was someone I’d worked with years before in a previous job (Stuart Fowler). I explained about the charity and how we’d like to give a grocery basket to the families that moved in, which Stuart kindly agreed to do.
Stuart also suggested that we sign the charity up to be one of our local causes supported by our membership scheme, so they could benefit from the 1% that members could allocate to local causes, from buying own brand products and services. I helped Maddie to put in the application and it was accepted, so currently our members in and around Dunoon are raising funds through buying Co-op own brand products. So far, they’ve raised £765.73 which also includes the money from the carrier bag levy.
It’s been a fantastic experience working with a really worthwhile charity, and Maddie. I’m extremely proud and humble that I’ve been recognised as part of this, and get to attend the Queen’s Garden Party at Holyrood Palace. I volunteered as I wanted to help, and wouldn’t have even thought about being recognised for it.
If you’re interested in volunteering, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org