Volunteer Centre Dundee is a local charity committed to enabling volunteering in all its forms. Promoting over 300 different volunteer vacancies, we match hundreds of volunteers of all ages and all walks of life to rewarding ways of giving their time.
Working in partnership with DVA and Dundee Social Enterprise Network we have created the Voluntary Gateway: ‘a one stop shop’ for volunteering, voluntary sector and social enterprise. Through the Gateway you can find information about the opportunities in Dundee, advertise your volunteering vacancies and find out more about our Volunteer Friendly (VF) Award.
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One of the leading figures in Dundee’s voluntary sector has died at the age of 60 after a short illness. Described by a former colleague as “a magical woman with huge compassion, integrity and intellect, and a giant heart“, Kathryn Mackenzie was a founder of the Volunteer Information Point which later evolved into Volunteer Centre Dundee (VCD).
Kathryn led VCD for seventeen years, and was credited with “putting volunteering back on the map in Dundee”. She was proud of the development of the Volunteer Friendly Award, backed by the Dundee Partnership, which then developed into a nationally recognised award. She chaired the Volunteer Centre Network and was on the board of Volunteer Development Scotland. This took her, as Scottish rep, to Amsterdam for the World Volunteer Conference and Prague for the European Conference. She was also invited to Bute House to meet the then First Minister, Jack McConnell, and recalled that she particularly enjoyed the haggis and neeps canapés. Kathryn was less keen on an invitation to the Royal Garden Party, which might have involved curtseying. Locally, Kathryn also served on the Boards and Committees of other organisations, for example as Convenor of Dundee Voluntary & Dundee Community Transport and as a volunteer with Dundee Independent Advocacy Service.
A qualified community worker, Kathryn was passionate about encouraging volunteers to give their time freely for good causes. She believed volunteers brought fresh ideas, energy and diversity to the organisations where they gave their time. Kathryn also knew that volunteering helped people develop skills and confidence, and took every opportunity to get that point across, even to her hospital consultant in the last few days of her life.
Kathryn came to live in Dundee after a childhood which took her from her birthplace in Berlin to places such as Singapore and Cyprus. Her family came from Brora, and although Kathryn’s roots in the North were always strong, she felt Dundee was the place she belonged.
Her career began with a spell working at a playgroup in St Mary’s. It was then that she found her vocation and studied for her qualification as a community worker. Other employers included Whitfield Sitter Service and Dundee Voluntary Action. In 2014 she took on the role of managing volunteers at Ninewells Hospital which enabled her to go full circle and work again directly with volunteers – something she loved doing. NHS Tayside greatly benefitted from her knowledge and the contribution she made.
Kathryn’s interests were in music; she sang with Loadsaweeminsingin, played the piano and the guitar, and had recently been learning the traditional fiddle. Travel, DIY, her partner Christine and friends and family ensured a full life outside work.
Kathryn believed that even in an imperfect world, people have good intentions. Her work with volunteers changed many lives, and she was an inspiration and a mentor to colleagues throughout the voluntary sector. A well respected manager who involved and empowered staff with her positive and visionary outlook, she will be much missed.
(Contributed by colleagues at Volunteer Centre Dundee, Dundee Voluntary Action and NHS Tayside)