Banffshire Honours

Congratulations to Duncan Leece, BEM,

CEO of the Boyndie Trust and Banffshire Partnership Ltd. 

Duncan has been honoured for his service to Banffshire during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Queen's Birthday Honours, usually awarded earlier in the year in June, have this year been awarded in October in order to include those who have given outstanding service to their communities during the pandemic.

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Duncan becomes a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (known as the British Empire Medal).  The citation for his honour nomination reads:

"Duncan Denis Leece is CEO of the Boyndie Trust and Banffshire Partnership Ltd. Based near Banff, the Boyndie Centre provides training opportunities for more than 50 unemployed adults with special needs helping them to develop work skills, independence and self-worth. The BPL delivers a variety of services including weekly lunch club, Dial-a-Bus shopping services helping people who face rural isolation, and first aid training for other community groups. They also lead and advise on community development projects.

COVID-19 restrictions curtailed most activities of the organisations. Duncan recognised the exceptional stress for his vulnerable clients, their families and the additional challenges that there could be for other services. Using the contacts and relationships built up over years he found innovative ways to provide continued support. Giving clear leadership to his team and co-operating with other agencies, the organisations’ resources were adapted to keep critical services going. The Boyndie building and vehicles were used for a shopping and home-delivery service (including prescriptions) supporting 150 people each week – most of whom are shielded or rurally isolated. 50 vulnerable people with special needs are supported at home via regular phone contact checking on their welfare, raising morale and acting as eyes and ears for social work and NHS staff. Identified problems are referred to other agencies or by additional contact or home visits. Duncan and his team take referrals from NHS and Grampian Coronavirus Assistance Centre helpline to provide a similar service to others who are going into shielding. His staff have used their specialist skills to help run the local COVID-19 emergency helpline. The innovative approaches of Duncan and his team have helped clients and their families cope with the additional pressures of the pandemic and allowed statutory services to focus resources elsewhere.

The Boyndie Trust was formed in 1999 when the care in the community policy led to the closure of the local hospital for people with additional needs. Duncan has run the operational work of the community-led charity since then. He has built up the organisations to provide a crucial service to help vulnerable people. In 2004, HRH The Princess Royal opened a refurbished school building as a multi-function facility that has formed a base for the charitable work.  Positive employment has been provided for many adults with learning difficulties. Duncan’s leadership has allowed the organisations to develop and be recognised nationally and internationally. In 2017 the organisation was used by the Scottish Government Rural Network as an example of good practice in rural development. In 2018/19, the European Commission featured the organisation in a list of 100 best examples of innovation in rural employment and service delivery. As demonstrated during lockdown, under Duncan’s inspiration and tireless leadership the organisations are constantly adapting and developing."

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