Volunteers across Essex have been acknowledged for their selfless commitment to communities across the county at the Who Will Care? Awards 2018.
The prestigious awards took place on Wednesday 23 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 included charities helping the homeless, a youth club that focuses on shielding young people from drugs and alcohol, a young hospital volunteer who is much admired by staff and patients, a community events team that lays on a year round calendar of activities, and others whose commitment to their communities, over the decades was recognised.
The Awards, presented by BBC Essex’s Dave Monk, applauded these unsung heroes’ inspirational stories of volunteering.
Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities, Cllr Sue Lissimore said: “The range of the volunteering undertaken by all of the finalists at the 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.”
“I would like to say well done to everyone recognised at the awards and also extend this to the many people, groups and businesses in Essex involved in volunteering- you are a real inspiration to us all.”
‘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 were created to celebrate the mobilisation of vibrant communities and individuals that are supporting each other and to recognise and stimulate volunteering in Essex.
Winners and Finalists
The Who Will Care? Awards 2018 winners and finalists.
Awarded to a commercial organisation for making an impact on their community through volunteering
Winner: Astro Lighting, Harlow.
A building business that has played a major role, through volunteering, in turning around Streets2homes- a homelessness charity. From providing interview advice to homeless people to providing desktop publishing advice to the charity, Astro have had a major positive impact on the local homeless community. They have also given Streets2homes the confidence to reach out to other local businesses and appeal for support and help.
- Anisha Grange Care Home in Billericay works closely with the local community, schools, the church next door and local dignitaries to open the home up to local people and encourage people of all ages to form fun and meaningful friendships and to take part in various activities that span the generations.
- Aveley Lodge Care Home in Fingringhoe have management and staff who are passionate charity fundraisers and who have raised over £40,000 for a number of charities including Nowzad Dogs and Guide Dogs for the Blind but mostly the Children’s Cancer Charity and Leukaemia Group.
Voluntary Community Service Award
Awarded to a charity or community group who has made outstanding delivery to support their community and/or service users
Winner: KAOS Youth Club
Attracting over 200 10-14 year olds in the Rochford and Ashingdon areas, KAOS are a self-funded club offering opportunities to young people to take part in lots of activities and give them the best start in life.They also encourage their members to fundraise for the Neptune Children’s Ward at Southend University Hospital.
- Learning Never Stops – A Colchester based charity that encourages research and learning across generations. They have undertaken a major piece of research on Grey Friars in Colchester from Roman times to the present that involved thousands of people taking part, researching and contributing to the co-operative learning project.
- Chelmsford Community Transport – Serving elderly passengers across Chelmsford and the surround districts, Chelmsford Community Transport plays a vital role in supporting the elderly. As they know their passengers so well, they are able to detect when things are wrong and can act as an ‘alert’ service for concerned relatives.
Award for demonstrating innovation in initiating and developing a service/project to support the community
Winner: The Pink Purse Project- Daniella Stiles
Daniella Stiles has made it her life’s work to collect various household items including bedding, sanitary products and clothing to distribute to homeless women in Colchester, Braintree and Chelmsford. She has collected and distributed over 250 bags of clothing and other items. She is also a tireless fundraiser and an inspiration to all around her.
- A Small Good Thing- .Samia Uddin collects and distributes household essentials to homeless people in Chelmsford.
- The Noise Arts Festival- based in the Beacon Congregational Church in Thundersly, the festival committee organize year round events that, through art, engender community spirit.
Individual Young Person Volunteer Award
Awarded for demonstrating outstanding commitment within their community either independently or with a charity or community/youth/school group.
Winner: Charlie Vigar
Charlie works a full day once a week, at Princess Alexandra’s hospital in Harlow. She is very hard working and conscientious and is loved admired by patients and staff alike. She is an inspiration to other young people.
- Matthew Damiral; has been helping the local community since he was six years old as part of the 1st Pardon Cub Group. Eleven years on, Matthew is still a young carer for his mum and siblings. He does most of the household chores and is an inspiration to them. He is very supportive of friends and is an excellent listener
- Lucy Furneaux volunteers at Action for Family Carers, Young Carers in Maldon. She is a similar age to many of the carers there and is able to support them in a very empathetic way, increasing their self-confidence and self esteem.
Individual Adult Volunteer Award
Awarded for demonstrating outstanding commitment within their community either independently or through a charity/community group or through their employer.
Winner: James and Maureen Cousins
Nominated by members of the community in Burnham, this couple have enthusiastically and competently dedicated much of their lives to the service of others, particularly the elderly. Maureen was Chair of Age UK Essex for many years and Jim, using his financial background, has been a very able treasurer to a number of different charities and organisations over the years. He currently manages the Poppy Appeal in Burnham.
- Bunty Yates has served Girl Guiding in Clacton and Jaywick for over thirty years and has inspired generations of girls with her enthusiasm and passion for Girl Guiding. She is much admired by all who know her and contribution to the local community has been immense.
- Shane Yerrell- Nominated by many people for his dedication to fundraising for people who are going through tough or traumatic times – please see more below.
Individual Volunteer – overcoming adversity
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: Shane Yerrell, Waltham Abbey
A victim of a knife attack in 2007, Shane suffered emotional trauma in addition to the physical injuries. Following counselling he made a full recovery and realised he could turn his experience into a positive one by supporting others that had been victims of knife crime.
After seeing media coverage of the Rob Knox Foundation, Shane pledged to raise money for the charity and in February 2011 climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, raising £1,400.
Annually since, Shane has fundraised for causes including the Kiyan Prince Foundation, The Liam Bradshaw Recovery Fund and organised a Fun Day in aid of Lennon’s Fund Campaign. Lennon Ruffles is a local 7-year-old boy who has severe disabilities. The event Shane organised raised £3,000 for specialist equipment for Lennon to help improve his quality of life.
Last year, Shane was awarded a British Citizen Award and has just returned from a fundraising trek along the Great Wall of China with the proceeds going to the family trust of James Bulger.
To date Shane has raised a total of over £30,000 and remains devoted to helping others. In 2016 Shane set up a registered community interest company called ‘Through the Fight’, a platform to share ideas and help raise funds to support people in difficult situations and improve the quality of life for those who need it.
Volunteer Team Award
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: Hatfield Peverel Community Events Team give up hundreds of hours of free time to run community events. Each July they organize Party in the Park which is attended by thousands of people and includes stands, bands, music food and entertainment.They also arrange talent contests, pram races and Christmas events.They provide the glue that binds the local community together as well as giving charities and other good causes the opportunity to fundraise.
- Support4Sight Essex have over 100 volunteers, many of whom are visually impaired and who are able to offer empathetic support and advice to. They can advise on technology, support provided by others and most importantly provide a network of friends who are able to share their experiences of the challenges they face.
- Hearing Help Essex have 39 members who support over 3000 people across mid Essex. They run 25 community sessions a month, servicing and repairing NHS hearing aids. Without them, hearing aids cease to work and deafness increases. The work done by these volunteers is invaluable.
Long Service to Volunteering Award
Winner: Peter Brown
Since the late 1960s, Peter Brown has tirelessly supported people with Learning Disabilities in the Braintree area. After experiencing the challenges faced by his sister who was born with Down Syndrome, he was determined to improve the services and culture around people with learning disabilities. He was chairman of Braintree District Mencap Society from 1969 later to become its president and it is because of his relentless campaigning that the Edith Borthwick School was established in Braintree. He was awarded an MBE in 2002 and is still known to hundreds of people locally who he still advises and supports.