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  • VIP Volunteering: Provost Cllr Jim Leishman MBE

    Created: 07/06/2023, Updated: 09/06/2023
    Please note: This volunteering item was uploaded some time ago and may have expired. Please contact us to find out more.

    News/Events Category: Volunteering


     

    For Volunteers' Week 2023, we asked three local luminaries to offer their time to a local group and to share some thoughts on volunteering with us. After Jenny Gilruth MSP on Monday and The Right Hon Henry McLeish on Tuesday, it was the local Provost's turn on Wednesday, as headed to Duloch in Bloom's community garden to lend a hand.

    Jim Leishman MBE is about as well-known a face as you'll find in Fife. He's been its Provost since just after his initial election as a councillor for the Dunfermline Central ward. Prior to that, he was a professional footballer with Dunfermline Athletic and Cowdenbeath, embarking on a career as a football manager that saw him in the dugout for Kelty Hearts, Inverness Thistle, Montrose, Rosyth Recreation, Livingston and - on two occasions, back at Dunfermline Athletic. While he was a youngster with the Pars, he got his first real taste of volunteering.

    "I started volunteering when I was eighteen. I was a professional footballer and my friend was running Fulford Primary School. He got a bad injury, and he asked if I would take the boys. So I was eighteen years old and a professional footballer and I  was going in my own time and taking the kids. It was fantastic."

    "Even as a professional, the manager would ask people to go along and speak to kids at the schools – it never really bothered me. I enjoyed meeting people and I enjoyed helping people".

    He never forgot the experience and was keen to ensure that understanding the benefits of volunteering was a lesson that he passed on to the next generation.

    "When I became a football manager, I insisted that the players do a bit of volunteering and give something back to the community."

    Jim himself has never stopped giving back to his local community. Probably his greatest contribution has been as a volunteer trustee of the Mary Leishman Foundation, named for his late wife. It's had an incredible impact, raising over £1.2 million for disparate good causes in Fife. It's clear when talking to him that each of the projects he's supported has had real meaning to him as he struggles to pick out just one.

    "It’s a special thing. I think the dearest project was for Victoria Hospital-  £27,000 we gave them for a temperature-controlled suit. The women who were having children, some of the kids had a problem with their temperature. They had to control it. There’s this special suit that we bought and donated to the maternity ward. That saved women that had newborn babies having to go to Edinburgh.

    "We’ve sent two or three kids to Florida to swim with the Dolphins There was one where we took kids to Prestonfield Hotel- they wanted to fly to Lapland but they couldn’t do that because they had Leukemia. We took them to Prestonfield Hotel; Santa Claus and the reindeer were there, and they had a big disco party. We got a video for their parents, and it’s something they can treasure.

    "We’ve bought special need bikes for kids, suits for kids with no muscle control, amazing things."

    And he's proud of the fact that all of the activities the Foundation has delivered have been volunteer-led.

    "The volunteers…I cannae thank them enough. Brilliant"."

    As the Provost, he attends events throughout Fife as a representative of the Council. He's met thousands of people from across the Kingdom and from across hundreds of projects. Have any stood out to him particularly? Perhaps, but he's still a politician and a diplomat at that.

    "Everyone stands out. Every volunteer, I respect and thank them all. They’re all special people."

    It's easy for people to turn up for one-off sessions and then disappear, thinking the job is done. Jim's mindful of that and makes a point of highlighting how important the ongoing work of Duloch in Bloom's volunteers is. Transforming their community space, he says, was just the start.

    "Sometimes that’s the easier part. They’re out here maintaining it and I think everyone in Duloch appreciates what they do. I do, anyway. I love them all to bits".

    For more information about volunteering opportunities open now in Fife, visit www.fva.org/volopps.asp.

    If you’re looking for help to find an opportunity that you can fit around a busy schedule and need a bit of guidance, contact FVA at [email protected] and our Volunteering Development team will help you find the right role for you.

     

     

     




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