Tireless volunteer recognised by Edinburgh council for daycare service

A dedicated volunteer who set up her own daycare service for families in Craigentinny has been recognised by the city for her years of selfless kindness.

Saturday, 26th October 2019, 7:45 am
I have always done voluntary work, I think it has a lot to do with my upbringing, my parents were always involved and it just felt natural to me. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Edinburgh City Council awarded Brenda Devlin, 64, was awarded the William Y Darling Award for Good Citizenship which celebrates an individual within Edinburgh that has contributed significantly to their community.

Mrs Devlin lives in Craigentinny and started volunteering locally in the late 1980s while raising her two boys, Christopher and Liam.

While at her toddler club she recognised a gap in services for young mothers who wanted to ‘do more than just look after their children.’ She gathered women together and set up a daycare service which offered childcare alongside a number of different workshops and speakers for young mums to attend.

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Since then the East Edinburgh native has worked extensively with teenagers and young people in the city.

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In 2004 she turned an old Lothian bus into a mobile youth centre and drove it around the city four nights a week offering social and educational events to help give troubled youths an alternative to causing disturbance on the streets.

Over a lifetime of service, Mrs Devlin has been chair of Northfield Community Centre Management Committee and secretary for the Craigentinny and Meadowbank Community Council.

Described as ‘the engine behind the Craigentinny Meadowbank community council’ by current chair Andrew Fournet, 36, the Edinburgh stalwart is known for her ability to “bring people together”

"If I can help, I will"

Local councillor Joan Griffiths paid tribue to Mrs Devlin and said: “One of Brenda’s many attributes is engaging with people, she has the respect of local people and in particular young people.

"Without Brenda’s support so many of our local projects would never have gotten off the ground.”

Mrs Devlin said: “I have always done voluntary work, I think it has a lot to do with my upbringing, my parents were always involved and it just felt natural to me.

“If I see that there is an issue I am driven to see if I can help address it. I hate people living in difficult circumstances they can’t get out of and if I can help, I will.”

Now a grandmother to two grandchildren Mrs Devlin added: “Every project I have set up has only succeeded thanks to a partnership of different individuals in the community.”

“You just need to plant the seed and show people what they can actually do and then they are off.”

She said: “While I am very happy about the prize you don’t do this kind of work for awards. The real reward is seeing your community and the people in your community, especially the young people, flourish.”

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Frank Ross who will present the award said: “For years, Brenda has been a pillar of the community.

“It gives me great pleasure to present to her, on behalf of her community and the wider city of Edinburgh, this award.”