Local group ‘Grandparents Parenting Again and Kinship Carers’ was last week awarded the The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The group was presented with the prestigious award in a special ceremony at Arniston House last Thursday.
Grandparents Parenting Again and Kinship Carers (Midlothian) peer support worker Myra Orr said: “The presentation was fabulous. We couldn’t have asked for anything more. It was a great night.
“It’s the highest award in the UK that voluntary groups can receive. It’s like the MBE but for a group. It’s fantastic for Midlothian.
“We won Midlothian voluntary team of the year last year and were put forward for this award from that. One of the community officers at the council, Paul Johnson, nominated us first of all for the Midlothian award, and then subsequently nominated us to the Lord Lieutenant for this.
“It’s a massive honour, way beyond our wildest dreams.”
The group was founded in 2005, and has been a registered charity since 2013.
It currently has 62 Midlothian families on its books, with around half of them attending the group’s weekly meetings every Thursday morning at Gorebridge Parish Church. The group also meets every fortnight in Penicuik and has regular outings. “We have went from strength to strength,” said Myra.
“Kinship care is not going away. It’s rising. It’s a lot cheaper to put children with kinship carers instead of in other settings. We have a very good relationship with the social work department that we have built up over the years.”
Myra was full of praise for the group’s partners.
She said: “I would really like to thank Paul Johnson for nominating us and the Lord Lieutenant for backing the nomination.
“Lots of the councillors were there, including council leader Derek Milligan. Christine Grahame MSP couldn’t be there but she raised a motion at the Scottish Parliament congratulating us on the award.
“We had good representation from the council as a whole, and people that have been on the journey with us.
“Althea Dundas-Bekker from Arniston House is the patron of our group. So she was more than delighted to have us. We have had quite a lot of outings there. In June we had a tour of Arniston House with some of the older children and they really enjoyed it.”
As well as this award, two representatives for Grandparents Parenting Again and Kinship Carers (Midlothian) were presented to the Queen at the garden party at Holyrood Palace in the summer.