Top volunteering honour for Ruth

Ruth at the awards evening held at Groundwork Duncairn Gardens in Belfast recently.
Ruth at the awards evening held at Groundwork Duncairn Gardens in Belfast recently.

A young Lisburn woman has won a prestigious award from a charity.

Ruth Ferguson, who volunteers at the Windermere Supported Living Service run by Positive Futures, received the charity’s President’s Award for making a real difference to the life of Willie Hayes, who is supported by the Service and has health and communication issues.

Ruth and Willie have formed a bond. Willie relies heavily on the staff team at Windermere, but has developed a special rapport with Ruth that when the pair are out together he is happy to be supported by her alone.

They each share an interest in a number of activities such as baking, arts and crafts, and going out for coffee. They have also been on trips to the Continental Market and W5 in Belfast.

The winner of the award is chosen from a shortlist of Volunteers of the Year from Positive Futures’ Services across Northern Ireland and is presented by the charity’s President, Alan Kendall.

The Chief Executive of Positive Futures, Agnes Lunny, paid tribute to Ruth and the work that she has achieved.

“This is a well-deserved win for Ruth, who demonstrates how our volunteers go the extra mile for the people they support,” she said.

“Even when she had to go on a university placement to Dublin for a few months recently, she was in touch with Willie’s staff team to find out how he was and to offer her time when she returned.

“While there can be only one winner of the President’s Award, we pay tribute to all our volunteers for their selflessness and dedication. They make a huge and positive difference to people’s lives.”

Positive Futures supports people with a learning disability, acquired brain injury or autistic spectrum condition. The charity helps to transform lives and help to speak out for the rights of those who need their support.

The charity workers work closely with decision makers, such as politicians at Stormont and Westminster, to ensure that public services are the best they can be and also support individuals and families.

Volunteers can work on a number of issues such as work behind the scenes in roles like administration, marketing fundraising, or driving.

For more information on volunteering for the charity contact the Head Office, Park Drive, Bangor on 028 9147 5720 or email You can also contact their Lisburn office based at Crescent Business Park BT28 2GN or ring 028 9260 6740.