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Moray & Banffshire Heroes 2024: Charitable organisation shortlist revealed!

By Leah Williamson

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Here is your shortlist for the charitable organisation award. Voting closes on Sunday, March 24.

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Moray Monday Club

Moray Monday Club.
Moray Monday Club.

For many folk, Monday is often the most dreaded day of the week but for members of the Moray Monday Club, it’s the day everyone looks forward to most of all!

The club supports people with dementia, their families and their carers with fun, social activities; from dancing to the live music, going on outings or having a cuppa and some tasty baking!

“It’s for people with dementia and their carers which is what makes us a wee bit different,” explained chairwoman, Wendy Burges. “We’re not there to provide care, we give carers and people with dementia a break. It’s all about support and fun ‒ we have live music, we enjoy cups of tea together and every other week we have a food ‘national day’. It’s a bit of fun, people enjoy it.”

Wendy, who had worked for Alzheimer Scotland in Inverness for many years and was retiring, heard the club were looking for help to get it running again after lockdown. The 81 members meet every Monday ‒ hence the name ‒ in Williamson Hall, Elgin, for two hours, from 1pm to 3pm.

Wendy was delighted the group had been shortlisted: “Everybody in the club is just over the moon! We’re so excited. Our hope is that more people with dementia and their families find out about us.”



Scotland’s first inclusive and fully adaptive surf therapy organisation, SurfABLE is the most northerly of its type in the world. It was established as a pilot to provide full access to surf therapy and adventure to the neurodiverse community. It's grown to provide a safe pathway for able bodied surfers and people who experience physical challenges and find regular surfing too challenging.

The charity has also supported surfers to represent Scotland at the World Para Surfing Championships in California.

SurfABLE was set up by Kev Anderson and Glyn Morris in 2017. The dynamic duo is planning to make Lossiemouth home to Scotland's first fully inclusive surf therapy centre. Glyn said: “We’re blown away to be recognised for the work that we do. My son Gregor has a condition called neuronal migration disorder for which he requires 24/7 care. My passion for levelling the playing field came from an outing to a theatre in London where we were asked to leave because his behaviour was described as disruptive. He was 12 years old and was simply mimicking the laugh of an onstage performer. Gregor is so content and one of the biggest heroes in my life so I wanted to create more opportunities for other people left feeling excluded and SurfABLE is one of the ways that we do that.”

Portsoy 75 Club

Portsoy 75 Club.
Portsoy 75 Club.

Founded almost 50 years ago, Portsoy 75 Club is still going strong today raising funds and volunteering for the local community; from hosting the annual Christmas party for primary school children to organising monthly bingo sessions throughout the year.

The club also organises a festive party for local pensioners, a Hogmanay fireworks display, and it buys, maintains and instals the Christmas lights.

When local groups need help they know that they can approach the 75 Club. Some of the organisations that have been assisted include the Scouts, Portsoy Pipe Band, Portsoy Gym and the local care home. Funds have also been made available to contribute towards the travelling costs for the local Skip to the Beat group to compete in tournaments; for new defibrillator batteries plus football strips for the local team. The club also has its own choir who rehearse on a Wednesday and perform at numerous community events.

Members are currently undertaking fundraising and project management of the CLAN lighthouse development by the New Harbour.

Some of the original members of the club who set it up in 1975 are still volunteering today while others only joined last year.

Chairperson, Christopher Mckay, who has been involved with the club for around 15 years, said they were delighted and honoured to have been shortlisted.

Moray School Bank

Moray School Bank.
Moray School Bank.

Set up in 2017, Moray School Bank provides school uniforms and warm winter clothing to hundreds of children and young people across Moray.

The charity has supported over 500 children and young people over the last year alone.

In 2023, it piloted a pre-loved uniform pop-up shop which has been a huge success.

The Pop-In shop, in the St Giles Shopping Centre, Elgin, is open to everybody who needs it and has school uniforms, jackets, shoes and clothing as well as some items for babies and young children. It is hoped the pilot can be extended beyond March.

Moray School Bank also works with other charities, including Elgin Coat Hangar, and agencies to support families who are struggling with the cost of living.

The charity assists families and young people in other ways too.

This summer, it is providing volunteering opportunities for young people, including seven youngsters who will travel to Kenya in June. They are currently fundraising to pay for their trip.

Debbie Kelly from Moray School Bank was delighted the charity had been nominated: “It’s such an amazing organisation and it does such a lot of good for families. It’s not just about supplying school uniforms, it’s about signposting families to other organisations and helping them with support in other ways.”

WM R Mair, Dignity Funerals UK is sponsoring the award for charitable organisation of the year.

WM R Mair, Dignity Funerals UK funeral director, Caroline Duguid, said: "We're delighted to give our support to Moray & Banffshire Heroes once again, and for the new award that recognises and celebrates charitable organisations. As a local funeral director, we are very close to our community and we understand how important it is that when people need support they can get it.

"More and more communities today depend on the work and support of local charities, and the people that run them, raise funds and organise events and activities for those who need it the most - often behind the scenes ‒ really deserve to be recognised."

"This is our way of saying thank you to them all. We'd encourage everybody to get behind the campaign and vote for the heroes in their community."

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