Fiona’s story: celebrating 20 years of volunteering with Shelter

Published: by Mark O'Loughlin

Shelter volunteer Fiona stands holding her knitted blanket in the Shelter Prestwick shop.

Fiona volunteers at the Prestwick Shelter shop. In February 2023, she will be celebrating 20 years of volunteering with Shelter, which is a fantastic achievement.

‘The customers love her,’ says Kerry, the Prestwick Shop Manager. ‘She’s an integral part of the team.’

As well as working in the Shelter shop, helping and serving customers, Fiona knits amazing blankets using donated wool, which are sold to customers from all over the world.

People living in such far-flung destinations as Australia and New Zealand are proud owners of one of Fiona’s blankets.

‘People have even come back to buy a second blanket,’ says Kerry.

Fiona is fondly known as ‘The Blanket Lady’ and she knits a new blanket from scratch every week. Fiona has appeared on live television, on the STV evening show with her blanket (which has been a personal highlight), and in both national and local press.

Fiona has received nominations and awards for her volunteering with Shelter, including being named The Guardian Volunteer of the Year in 2015 and Finalist in The Scottish Charity Awards 2015. She was also awarded a Points of Light award by Downing Street, in recognition of outstanding volunteering, and received a letter of congratulations from Dr Philippa Whitford MP.

Fiona has also received letters from Nicola Sturgeon and David Cameron, which her mum keeps in a folder with all the other important correspondence and press coverage.

During her time as a Shelter volunteer, Fiona has enjoyed learning and using new skills, such as operating the till and helping customers. She also enjoys the social side of volunteering with Shelter and has made lots of friends during her 20 years.

Outside of volunteering with Shelter, Fiona loves to spend time with her family, including attending gymnastics competitions with her niece.

‘She’s an inspiration to a lot of people,’ says Kerry.