Awards honour volunteers who make a difference

Posted: Fri, 08 Jun 2018 16:10 by Parish Council

Awards honour volunteers who make a difference

VOLUNTEERS who have made a difference to the lives of other people in Hinckley & Bosworth have been recognised at a special event held at Cineworld, Hinckley during National Volunteers Week.

The Making a Difference awards were sponsored by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council and recognised the contribution that volunteers play in strengthening the community and improving the quality of the life for residents.

Councillor Mike Hall, Leader of Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council, said: "As Leader of the Borough Council this is one of my favourite days of the year, so can I firstly thank you all for the work that you do as volunteers and for coming here today to join with us in recognising the contribution of all volunteers who support our community.

"Judging the Making a Difference Awards was very difficult and everyone here today deserves to be applauded for the work that you do to support our community and to prevent greater problems which would be a drain on our national services, particularly the police and the NHS.

"These awards recognise contributions from some of the many 'individuals' and groups who work tirelessly to assist others who may be more vulnerable or less fortunate. You also provide activities and opportunities to make life more enjoyable and inclusive for all people, to improve the appearance of our borough, and to help your neighbours.

"I am also delighted that we are able to welcome BBC Sports Personality 2017 Get Inspired Unsung Hero award winner Denise Larrad who kindly took the time to be part of our judging panel this year."

There were six individual category winners and four group categories however the afternoon began with a very special award made to seven-year-old Isla Tansey and her family from Hinckley in recognition of their campaign to highlight childhood cancers and for her #Islastones campaign. Isla, who has been diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a cancer which has no current cure, enjoys decorating stones and hiding them for her friends. Her Facebook page has over 44,000 members and people are decorating stones and hiding them throughout the world. Stones have been hidden and found in New Zealand, India and even Antarctica! To find out more visit #islastones on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Isla and her family, Katherine, Simon and brother Harrison received their Special Award from the Mayor of Hinckley & Bosworth, Councillor Jan Kirby. After much applause everyone was then asked to look for a #makingadifference stone, which was duly found and presented to Isla.

The Mayor, Cllr Kirby then presented the following awards:

The award for Individual Helping Hands was made to Dora Sidwell, who provides help and support to fellow residents of Castle Court, Burbage by organising coffee mornings and birthday parties to gardening and bingo.

The Young Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Claudio Perera, who is recognised for his wide range of activities from delivering food packages to neighbours and organising youth club events.

The Good Neighbour Award winner was Carol Wallace. Carol supports her neighbours by taking out the bins, organising visits to hospital or the doctor and organising days out.

The Personal Development Award winner was Debbie Walker. Volunteering often benefits the volunteer as well as those being helped. Debbie has progressed from being unable to cook to teaching others to cook and waste less food.

The winner of the Individual Group Contribution award was Emma Kerr who established a community group from scratch and is dedicated to supporting the homeless, victims of domestic abuse and families on low income.

The Lifetime Achievement award winner was Colin Magee, who for over 50 years has been making a difference to young people who would otherwise be unable to access the sport of sailing. Through free training and helping others to become qualified instructors he has made accessible a sport that is normally only available through expensive private clubs. He has made sailing inclusive for all those with physical or mental challenges, for children with autism and for senior citizens who may be lonely and isolated.

The Neighbourhood Improvement Group winners were Hope Community Church, who with a team of volunteers provides a range of activities for people of all ages. From Tots Club to Tea & Chat for older people, Hope Community Church provides social activities, information, advice and support to all in their neighbourhood.

The winner of the Helping Hands Group award was Barwell Inclusive Football Team. This team trains young people with autism and learning difficulties, who would normally be excluded from football, so that they can play alongside others who learn more easily. The trainers boost confidence which helps in areas other than sport and improves family and friends relationships.

Forget Me Not Cafe in Newbold Verdon won the Best New Project award for supporting people with dementia and where in a café culture environment carers have time to relax and where those affected by dementia can be supported.

The winner of the Group Longstanding Achievement award was Friends of Hollycroft Park. A group who have been together for nearly 20 years, providing endless hours of support, including fundraising, gardening, organising and running events and more recently opening a community café. Their work in addition has helped one of the Borough Council's parks to receive seven consecutive green flag awards.

Concluding the awards Leader Mike Hall said "I hope like myself, everyone today has been inspired to learn about what our fellow residents are doing in our neighbourhoods to help, support and improve the quality of other people's lives and on behalf of everyone I would like to thank them for everything that they do."

If you would like to know more about Volunteering or about the opportunities available in Hinckley & Bosworth please call Tel. 01455 632984 or email info@nxt.org.uk or visit www.nextgeneration.org.uk

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