Volunteer Awards 2021

Our volunteers are very important to us. They make what we do to support older people and those living with dementia possible. That is why we are delighted to recognise their fantastic contributions and efforts each year at our Volunteer Awards.

Our latest Volunteer Awards took place during our Annual General Meeting in October 2021. A total of 28 volunteers were nominated by our service users and staff team for their outstanding support, dedication and kindness. We had a difficult job whittling them down to just 7 Star Award winners for key volunteer roles, and 2 Super Star Award winners for those volunteers who take on several roles to support our work.

Our Volunteer Awards 2021 winners are as follows:

Star Befriending Volunteer – Tuya

Our volunteer befriending service has always been at the heart of what we do, providing social contact and companionship to older people on a one-to-one basis. The pandemic heightened the importance of these personal connections and it also meant we had to change the way we delivered our befriending service, transitioning all befriending relationships to the telephone. We are now delighted that face-to-face visits have returned and are extremely grateful to our volunteers who kept this service going throughout the lockdowns.

Tuya has been there for her befriendee all the way through the pandemic; phoning, visiting, going for walks and supporting her with using the computer. Tuya’s befriendee says she is ready to help her with anything, is "very understanding and has a nice temperament", as well as being reliable. We couldn’t ask for anymore from a volunteer befriender.

Star Driving Volunteer – Richard

Our volunteer drivers play an important role in keeping our service users connected to the wider community and enabling them to meet other people at our activity groups and parties. They provide an unhurried door to door service and always with a smile on their face. We know the last year meant our drivers couldn’t do as much they would have liked while COVID restrictions were in place, but as soon as we started to reopen our in-person groups and host parties, our drivers were there to help straight away.  

Richard proactively approached us in June 2021 offering his support with driving and helped to transport service users to our Summer Party. He is now also escorting a service user to and from our in-person gentle exercise group on a weekly basis. In addition, Richard can be relied upon to stand in last minute with food shopping deliveries. Richard’s nomination states he is very accommodating, willing to help and has a kind and friendly manor.

Star Shopping Volunteer – Ian

Our volunteer shoppers have played a huge role in supporting older people through the pandemic. Our shopping service was set up in March 2020 in response to a need from our service users and, thanks to the adaptability and commitment of our volunteers, we were able to offer this service and continue with it for those in need. We currently have eight volunteer shoppers providing this vital support to service users.  

Ian took over a shopping role from one of our volunteers who had a foot injury and he has remained committed to this role ever since, as well as being a dedicated volunteer befriender. Ian’s nomination states that he can always be relied upon to complete the shopping, event if it means going to three different shops to fulfil the list! Ian is certainly a volunteer that goes above and beyond to make sure our service users are happy and well provided for. 

Star Fundraising Volunteer – Karen

It isn't just our volunteers who have direct contact with our service users that help support our work. We also have an amazing team of volunteers behind the scenes helping to raise vital funds, which enables us to keep our services free. Sustaining our community fundraising during the pandemic looked like a huge challenge as we began to cancel our programme of events. However, our fundraising volunteers rose to the challenge and helped us adapt our plans to incorporate online events such as pub quizzes, a pet contest and wine tastings.

Karen has been dedicated to her role since she started volunteering with us in 2018. Karen’s nomination states that she approaches her volunteering with an enthusiastic and can-do attitude; baking cakes, facilitating pub quizzes, sourcing raffle prizes and helping at events. During the lockdowns, Karen played a huge role in helping to diversify our community fundraising events by hosting virtual pub quizzes with family and friends and raising lots of money. Karen has also taken on the role of being a befriender in 2021.

Star Group Volunteer – Dorothy

Our groups provide a vital link to the community for our service users. They help to lift spirits, create friendships and provide people with the opportunity to socialise with others outside of the home. We have always relied on our volunteers who dedicate their time to make sure they happen each week, alongside the support of professional tutors. Thanks to our brilliant team of group volunteers, we were able to set up eight groups online during the pandemic including exercise, singing and dementia specific groups, all of which received overwhelmingly positive feedback. 

During the past year, Dorothy has been helping to enable our Musical Memories group for people living with dementia to continue online, and more recently transitioning back to in person. Dorothy was nominated for her steadfast devotion to Musical Memories over the past year. She was praised for her regular presence, good humour and enthusiastic contribution. We know that attendees and staff greatly appreciate what she does.

Star Admin Support Volunteer – Cass

We rely on a small team of volunteers who support us in the office with day-to-day time consuming, but very important admin. Over the last year we have put systems in place to enable this be done remotely including check-in calls, data entry and minute taking. In the last couple of months we have slowly started to resume support within the office and is great to see our volunteers in person again.  

Cass has been volunteering with us since 2009. She is always willing to help in any way she can, whether it is stuffing envelopes with newsletters, writing Christmas cards, or making check-in calls to volunteers and service users, something she continued to do from home during the pandemic. Cass was nominated for her enthusiasm and energy that she brings to her volunteering. We are pleased to have been able to adapt the way Cass supports us with office admin tasks, so that she can still do this from home. She has even learnt some additional IT skills along the way!

Star Practical Support Volunteer – Peter

Having volunteers who can help with practical jobs around the home and garden is an integral part of our mission to help keep older people as independent as possible in their homes. Thanks to our volunteers, we were able to maintain our gardening service throughout the pandemic and even expand the service with our Bloomin’ Lovely fundraising appeal, enabling us to make flowery gift deliveries to our service users.  

Peter was inspired to join us as a volunteer in 2021 after attending one of our open garden events and seeing the success of our Bloomin' Lovely appeal in 2020. Peter’s nomination states he is a great support with gardening tasks, he is always one of the first to reply to the requests for help and is willing to do more than one visit in order to ensure the task is completed to a satisfactory standard. Peter has also recently offered and been trained to carry out garden assessments prior to us taking on garden requests, which has been a huge help. Peter has been a great addition to the volunteer team since joining us.

Super Star Volunteer (1) – Barbara

Barbara joined us as a volunteer in 2018 and has always been a keen and proactive volunteer who regularly supports us with office admin tasks, including data entry work. Barbara continued to support us remotely through the pandemic and has learnt how to use our new database system, which is no easy feat! 

Barbara also played a key role in making calls to service users as part of our welfare and reconsenting project. As a result, Barbara is now befriending a service user with regular calls and visits to go walking. On top of this, Barbara is the clerk to the Board of Trustees, taking the minutes at our board meetings. She certainly gives her time to the community and supports our work in a variety of ways. We are very grateful to have Barbara as part of the volunteer team!

Super Star Volunteer (2) – Tim

Tim has been a volunteer with us since 2016 and is hugely committed to supporting our work. We can always rely on him to help in any way he can. Tim has been a safe pair of hands at our recent community fundraising events and is certainly well practiced at assembling our gazebo! He is also willing to support other volunteers who might not have as much experience. Tim is a very genuine person and a pleasure to be around. We know that many of our service users feel the same and have developed a trusting relationship with him.

Most recently Tim has supported us with escorting a service user to an event, helping at community and fundraising events, delivering Christmas goody bags and helping with calling service users, as part of our welfare and reconsenting project. He did so many of these calls and then also supported with the data entry of this project following the calls. You can ask Tim to do most things and he will usually get stuck in and give it a go.

A big thank you to all the nominees for their hard work and CONGRATULATIONS to our wonderful winners!

Volunteer Awards 2020