Hundreds cheer volunteers
Date Added: 14/06/2016
Even bigger and better – that was the verdict of the second Central Bedfordshire Cheering Volunteering awards evening.
Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, the awards and celebration evening took place at the Grove Theatre in Dunstable on Tuesday evening.
It was organised by Central Bedfordshire Council, working in partnership with the Volunteer Centres as part of Central Bedfordshire Together, to say thank you to those who give their time to help others.
Held during national Volunteers Week, the event was made possible by the event’s generous sponsors: ProLogis, BIFFA, Jeakins Weir, Aragon Housing, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Voluntary and Community Action and Council for Voluntary Services.
More than 520 free tickets were snapped up for the celebration event, with attendees enjoying refreshments and the chance to find out more about volunteering opportunities in Central Bedfordshire, before discovering the winners and highly commended in the different categories.
The awards were divided into six categories, with a special Panel’s Choice Award also presented on the night. The winners and highly commended, from almost 100 entries, were:
Young Volunteer of the Year – sponsored by ProLogis
• Winner – Ria Stanford, Aldwyck Housing youth volunteer
• Highly Commended – Shrishti Agarwal, Sustrans youth volunteer
Volunteer of the Year – sponsored by Central Bedfordshire Council
• Winner – Trevor Pocock, Road Victims Trust
• Highly Commended – Graham Mountford, emergency response volunteer and Bob Izzard, Carers in Bedfordshire
Volunteer Group of the Year – sponsored by Biffa
• Winner – Houghton Regis Helpers
• Highly Commended – St Swithun’s Drop In Café and Houghton Regis Craft and Coffee
Outstanding Contribution Award – sponsored by Aragon Housing
• Winner – Kerry Day, CHUMS
• Highly Commended – Clive Bates, volunteering in Downside, Dunstable and David McDonald, Luton and Dunstable Hospital volunteer
Lifetime Achievement Award – sponsored by Jeakins Weir
• Winner – Valerie Cousins, Dunstable Brownies and Girl Guides
• Highly Commended – David Sedgley, environmental volunteer and Gladys Dawson, volunteering in Clifton
Fundraiser of the Year Award – sponsored by Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service
• Winner – Clive and Mary Jane Mear, fundraising in Caddington
• Highly Commended – Kim Gutteridge, fundraising in Potton and Leighton Buzzard Children's Theatre, fundraising for local and national charities
Panel’s Choice Award – sponsored by Voluntary and Community Action and Community and Voluntary Service
• Winner – YAWN 16, club run by volunteers for adults with learning disabilities
• Highly Commended – Tristan Webb, Bedfordshire Police volunteer and the Airfield Volunteer Fire Service, Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden.
The event was introduced by Cllr Carole Hegley and Cllr Caroline Maudlin, both passionate supporters of volunteering, and compered by Tom Jones impersonator Billy Lee, whose well-known songs and dazzling dance moves went down well with the crowd.
Also providing music and entertainment were The Phoenix Chorus, singer songwriter Natasha Rowe, Bee's Cheerleaders and Adrian Ward providing music and entertainment.
Cllr Hegley, Executive Member for Social Care and Housing and Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “After the success of the first Cheering Volunteering awards, I was positive that this year’s would be even bigger and better – and that proved to be the case.
“I know that some people were unable to make the event due to the flooding which occurred in Dunstable, including volunteers who were again giving up their time to help others in the community. My best wishes go to all those affected.
“It was a terrific evening and again proved what a valuable and inspiring role that volunteers play in helping make Central Bedfordshire such a great place to live.”
Cllr Maudlin, Deputy Executive Member for Social Care and Housing (Volunteering), added: “What an inspiring evening! To meet the volunteers who do such amazing work, hearing of the impact which it has on the individuals and groups that benefit was incredibly humbling; that’s not just the winners but everyone put forward for an award.
“Helping others by volunteering can be so rewarding, and with local businesses so generously sponsoring this event it really was a great way for us to celebrate and thank our volunteers for what they do.
“I am glad that so many people took advantage of the free tickets to come along and celebrate and I am already looking forward to next year’s event.”
Audience members took part in a raffle to raise funds for Council Chairman David Bowater’s charity Meningitis UK. Prizes included a private flight for up to four people over Central Bedfordshire and a Cheering Volunteering celebration cake, made by Martha Clampitt.
If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering opportunities, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk