Volunteers across Essex have been acknowledged for their selfless commitment to communities across the county at the Who Will Care? Awards 2017.
The prestigious awards took place yesterday, Wednesday 24 May, at Anglia Ruskin University and celebrated inspirational individuals, communities, teams and businesses in Essex that make a huge difference through the work that they do.
Winners include those caring for the terminally ill, supporting refugees, providing life training skills for young people, aiding those in mental health recovery, helping the homeless and connecting the transgender community in Essex.
The Awards, presented by BBC Essex’s Dave Monk, applauded these unsung heroes’ inspirational stories of volunteering.
Cabinet Member for Culture, Communities and Customer, Cllr Sue Barker said: “It was extremely humbling to meet all of the inspirational people at the awards, they should all be very proud.
The range of the volunteering undertaken by all of the finalists at last night’s awards, and indeed all those nominated, illustrates the variety of ways that as individuals we can make a difference not only within our local community, but also to an individual’s life.”
Chairman of Essex County Council, Cllr John Aldridge who was also at the awards said: “I was honoured to be part of this years’ Who Will Care? Awards and see so many people recognised for the amazing volunteering work they do. The awards show the vast range of volunteering taking place every day in communities in our county and the wonderful people in our county that go the extra mile to help others.”
The Who Will Care? Awards were open for nominations during March and April 2017, with record breaking nominations received.
‘Who Will Care?’ began in 2013 when five independent Commissioners were tasked with tackling the single largest challenge since the 1960’s – how will we care for ourselves and our communities right now and in the future and volunteering was acknowledged as one of the five high-impact solutions to address this very difficult question.
These awards we created to celebrate the mobilisation of vibrant communities and individuals that are supporting each other and to recognise and stimulate volunteering in Essex.
The awards were coordinated by Essex County Council and sponsored by West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, Design4Print, Anglia Ruskin University and Essex Community Foundation.
WINNERS AND FINALISTS
The winners of the Who Will Care? Awards 2017 are:
Presented by Fiona Stringer, Ford UK Dunton, winners of same award last year.
Awarded to a commercial organisation for making an impact on their community through volunteering
WINNER: Lifehouse Spa & Hotel, Frinton Road, Clacton
As a local contemporary spa hotel, Lifehouse works with the ‘Look Good Feel Better Charity’ to offer workshops to women with Cancer. It also holds monthly tea parties with Contact the Elderly.
St Helena Hospice is their Charity of the year and they have raised over £11,500 so far and in addition they have raised £12500 for MacMillan.
Lifehouse Spa also regularly donates to local schools and groups for their fundraising efforts.
QBE Europe (Local offices in Chelmsford) - QBE encourage their staff to volunteer for local causes. Working with the local CVS they have undertaken painting at Chelmsford Women’s Refuge, donated £5000 to Chelmsford Men’s Shed as well as refurbished premises for a local pet charity.
Stansted Airport - London Stansted Airport have invested their Corporate Social Responsibility in to Education and Employment facilities and local partner schools. The purpose built Aerozone education facility is supported by volunteer speakers from across the airport community
Voluntary Community Service Award
Presented by Paul Hill, Essex Community Foundation.
Awarded to a charity or community group who has made outstanding delivery to support their community and/or service users.
WINNER: Brentwood Community Print
Brentwood Community Print exists to support people in recovery from mental health to gain confidence, skills and work experience in a safe and caring environment.
They created and developed a Colouring Therapy Café for clients with mental health issues. In its first year they provided placements for 22 volunteers, over 130 sessions, with 738 attendees.
Brentwood Community Print is a proactive organisation that looks strategically at how they all work together for the benefit of the community’s emotional wellbeing and mental health.
Harlow First Responders - Harlow Community First Responders are a small group of volunteers with first aid training who attend 999 calls for the ambulance service where they can help the patient and support the ambulance crews.
Good Gym Colchester - every Wednesday a group of volunteers run to a community organisation, undertake some practical work for them and run back. Examples include Colchester Foodbank, Litter Picking, Rivercare and setting up a movie night at a care home.
Presented by Mike Gogarty, Director for Wellbeing & Communities.
Award for demonstrating innovation in initiating and developing a service/project to support the community.
WINNER: Lads Needs Dads (North East Essex)
Lads Needs Dads is a long term holistic early intervention programme for boys aged 11 – 15 and takes the form of male-led group mentoring, bush craft survival, life-skill training and community volunteering to Equip and Engage young people. Parents reported that the boys emotional behaviour improved on a scale from 25% to 87% and that their attitude to school went from 25% to 80%.
Lads and Dads have a team of 10 male volunteer mentors aged from 29 to 66 from the local community. In total over 1500 hours of voluntary service has been provided to the community as a result of this project.
Bonnie Roberts - Bonnie launched Chelmsford’s first Coat exchange at Chelmsford Library to help people stay warm in the winter.
Rochford Martial Arts - were nominated for the Youth Empowerment Project for young people which includes learning Kung Fu and meditation, dealing with stress and anxiety, building confidence and self-esteem and making new friends.
Individual Young Person Volunteer Award
Presented by David Humber of Anglia Ruskin University.
Awarded for demonstrating outstanding commitment within their community either independently or with a charity or community/youth/school group.
WINNER: Rebecca Fitzgerald (Billericay)
Rebecca volunteers every Saturday at St. Luke’s Hospice. She cleans the patient’s rooms, talks to them, collects drugs from Basildon Hospital, makes breakfasts, talks to families and makes them tea.
Rebecca also is key in talking to young people who are admitted to the Hospice, so they have someone of a similar age. She is a deeply caring young person who displays an emotional intelligence beyond her years. Rebecca’s commitment and example have proved an inspiration to other young people.
Ben Wallace (Colchester) - Ben volunteers at least 10 hours a week to support various local groups, including shifts in the local community shop, leads Scouts groups and helps organise and run car parks for a variety of local events.
Isabella Newsum (Billericay) - Isabella volunteers at SNAP and Barnardo’s to support parents and children to take part in a variety of activities.
Individual Adult Volunteer Award
Presented by Jenny Brown the winner of same award last year.
Awarded for demonstrating outstanding commitment within their community either independently or through a charity/community group or through their employer.
WINNER: Maria Wilby (Colchester)
Maria is the main Co-ordinator for Refugee Action – Colchester. Maria has also set up Brightlingsea Refugee Support Network and the Stand Up to Racism Group.
In addition to the above Maria is a voluntary English teacher for Fresh Beginnings Colchester. She has worked tirelessly to secure housing, training and support for several refugee families. Maria finds the best in everyone and encourages anyone else to help and take part.
Carol Ranson (Colchester) - Carol volunteers extensively at the local Children’s Centre. She supports staff and families, offers support and empathy and spends time talking with new parents.
Martyn Barter (Buckhurst Hill) - Martyn has led the Singing for the Brain service for Alzheimer’s Society in Harlow, Dunmow, Stansted and Epping. He helps with all aspects of the groups including setting up, playing instruments, talking with patients and administration
Individual Volunteer – overcoming adversity
Presented by Kirsty O’Callaghan West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group.
Awarded for demonstrating outstanding commitment within their community either independently or through a charity/community group or through their employer, whilst overcoming personal adversity.
WINNER: Annabelle Day (Clacton)
Annabelle has overcome her own addiction issues, coupled with mental health issues, to volunteer 30 hours a week for Open Road. Annabelle undertakes a full support role with clients and uses her own experience to encourage and support clients in their own recovery journey.
Annabelle really is an inspiration to others and proof that recovery is both achievable and sustainable, despite adversity.
Neil Crouch (Harlow) - Neil has been diagnosed with a Motor Neurone disorder and has carers for himself. Despite this Neil volunteers and is Chairman of the club Mike’s Den. He has run this club for over 15 years.
Dr. Ben Newman (Colchester) - Ben offers help and advice in his specialist are of Neuro Psychology to patients at Charms. Plus he works in the centre to support the team. Ben has been unwell for many years, but puts that aside to support others.
Volunteer Team Award
Presented by Councillor Mark Durham, Deputy Cabinet Member for Culture Communities and Customer.
Awarded to a group of two or more volunteers who have made an outstanding contribution either independently or with a charity, community group or with their employer.
WINNER: SANCTUS (Chelmsford)
SANCTUS is a team of 20 Volunteers running a free café for the homeless, destitute and vulnerable in Chelmsford. The café is open 7 days a week and serves up to 40 people a day.
Over the last year over 6500 meals have been served. Some volunteers collect donated clothing and blankets for homeless people. In addition they go out on the streets to provide these to those sleeping around Chelmsford City Centre.
The volunteer team at Sanctus is dedicated, passionate, good humoured and share a great team spirit to help serve others less fortunate than themselves.
Acorn Village (Manningtree) - Acorn Village Volunteer Team has a team of 75 volunteers, managing 3 charity shops, directly supporting adults with learning disabilities, providing general maintenance help as well as holding fundraising events.
Chelmsford Foodbank - 90 volunteers directly support the work of this food bank by sorting food at the warehouse and working and supervising the distribution centres and working directly with clients. The volunteer team at Chelmsford foodbank provide 9000 volunteer hours per year.
Presented by Gavin Jones, Chief Executive Officer for Essex County Council.
WINNER: Gina Denham (Southend)
Gina was nominated many times by service users and partners. Gina volunteers 30 hours a week to lead services, programmes and as Chair of Transpire.
Transpire supports people in the transgender community by providing advice, chaperones, peer mentoring, education, family support and a safe place and network to belong too.
Gina is always striving to help others and to see the organisation grow and reach and support more service users.
Service users say they feel less isolated and more confident and supported to meet other transgender people and then they themselves become volunteers to help and support others.