Finalists revealed for Inspiring Aberdeenshire Awards 2021

The Buchan Giving Tree, Strengthening our Buchan Response and Jill McWilliam, of Doric Future, are among the finalists in the Inspiring Aberdeenshire awards.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 2:51 pm
Jill McWilliam, founder of Doric Future, is a finalist for the Cultural Award.
Jill McWilliam, founder of Doric Future, is a finalist for the Cultural Award.

Inspiring Aberdeenshire is one of the council’s biggest annual events.

The awards celebrate the achievements and successes of people across Aberdeenshire who go the extra mile for their communities, often with little or no other official recognition.

This year, a virtual awards ceremony is planned for August 26, with the event being streamed live.

The Buchan Giving Tree, based in Peterhead, has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Community Spirit Award.

For 17 years Shona Watson and the Giving Tree team have helped socially-deprived families in the Buchan area.

They began by providing toys at Christmas time for families who may have children who would not be getting a present from Santa. This was a year-round effort to gather gifts for all ages.

In recent years the Giving Tree has helped families at other times during the year. This can be help with school uniforms, toiletries, clothes and even shoes. In a normal year the group would hand over 2,000 items to local families, but the Covid pandemic has seen the demand almost double.

The Giving Tree does its work quietly and unpaid, but its care and support for some of the most socially-deprived families over nearly 20 years has been phenomenal.

Strengthening our Buchan Response is a finalist in the Covid-19 Response Award category.

At the start of the 2020 lockdown, many communities rallied to pull together. In Buchan, a number of these groups came together under the banner 'Strengthening our Buchan Response’ and over the following 12 months organised volunteers far and wide to meet local needs.

Some of what they did included setting up Whatsapp groups for volunteers, organising social media campaigns, distributing information leaflets and organising regular Covid Newsletters.

They also helped secure funding for food supplies, arranged PPE and supported calls for assistance through the Grampian Coronavirus Assistance Hub.

Jill McWilliam, of Peterhead, has had a lifelong passion about Doric heritage and has been involved with various groups and organisations interested in promoting the Doric culture of the North-east of Scotland.

Jill – who has been shortlisted for the Cultural Award – launched Doric Future an online platform ‘preserving the past, informing the future', offering access to her own library of video films made over 20 years to capture the individual stories of a wide range of subjects reflecting on their own unique past.

What originally began as a humble vision to capture and preserve Doric, has become a dedicated life’s work to present a contemporary approach to our culture today for all ages.

For details of all the finalists go to: