The Portsmouth Inspiring Volunteer Awards took place last week (Thursday 7th June), celebrating the diverse work of the city's volunteers.
The Awards form part of the cities celebrations for 'Volunteers Week' (1st-7th June). National Volunteers Week highlights the enormous benefits that volunteers give to local communities.
The Awards - now in their fourth year, are a chance to celebrate volunteers, volunteering and the things which can be achieved working together to make Portsmouth the best city it can be.
Organised by Portsmouth Together and Pompey in the Community as part of Volunteers' Week, the Awards took place at Fratton Park and were attended and opened by Stephen Morgan MP.
Sam Cox, Portsmouth Poet Laureate spoke about her new project 'Walking out on Loneliness' (@bring_feet) and a new poem that she created during the night on celebrating Portsmouth volunteers.
In closing the evening, Cllr. Jeanette Smith said, "This has been a night to remember and, when you hear the stories of those recognised, to be humble. It always amazes me to hear about the differences that have been made by people's willingness to share their gift of time. And we have heard tonight that age really is no barrier to volunteering - with Caitlin Rawlins aged only 10 and already raising money for the poppy appeal, to Jack Wingate who, age 89, shows no sign of stopping soon.
We all know that volunteers do not give their time for rewards or recognition. But where you hear the applause tonight, and see the smiles on the faces around these tables, you know that a thank you really does go a long way, both for the volunteers and the voluntary organisations they support."
Portsmouth Inspiring Volunteer Awards: Overall Winners
Volunteer of The Year: Supported by Southern Coop
Jack Wingate - Age UK Portsmouth: Jack has volunteered with Age UK Portsmouth since the passing of his dear wife, nearly 7 years ago. At 89 years old, he is their oldest volunteer, not that you would be able to tell! His kind and gentle manner has made him a firm favourite with our service users. Day in and day out, and in all weather conditions, Jack walks and catches the bus to travel to the Bradbury Centre on Kingston Road. We recently discovered that Jack carries out many activities in his local community as well! Jack does gardening, he helps people by writing letters on their behalf, befriending and completes shopping for multiple people... never expecting anything in return. On Wednesdays, after volunteering at the centre all day, Jack collects a fish and chip supper and spends time with a lady who can no longer attend the Age UK centre. "Jack is an inspiration to us all and I can honestly say that Age UK Portsmouth would be lost without him."
Young Volunteer of the Year 2018 supported by IBM UK
Saffron Cohen - Veterans Outreach Support (VOS): Saffron first came to VOS as a health and social care work experience student from Portsmouth College. Wanting to pursue a career in trauma-related psychology, she took a keen interest in our work in veterans' mental health and the impact of social therapy on recovery and decided to volunteer at our monthly Drop-In. Having moved to university in Southampton to pursue her degree in Psychology, she continues to return to Portsmouth to volunteer for us. She carries out one of the most important tasks at Drop-In, coordinating and managing all of the appointments to ensure that every veteran sees the service that they require, balancing the various needs of the delivery partners, veterans and volunteers. She also helps out at VOS office, updating our client database, collating feedback forms and many other general administrative tasks. Without her flexible contribution, many of our routine tasks would fall behind.
Comment from sponsor: Ali Zella Slater, North Harbour Community Programme Manager IBM UK
"IBM is delighted and very proud to be supporting the Portsmouth Inspiring Volunteer Awards. This is a wonderful event to celebrate the work of the amazing people in our city who work tirelessly for others in all areas of our community. They help to make a real impact and difference to the lives of others with their dedication, time and enthusiasm."
Volunteering Team of the Year supported by Colas Ltd
The Kings Theatre Archive Team: During the past few years this small dedicated team of volunteers have been instrumental in setting up and developing an educational centre that gathers together stories, articles photographs, personal memories, show programmes and memorabilia to generate interest in and access to the Kings Theatre archives, which would otherwise not happen. Chris undertakes a 1.5 hour journey on public transport from the Isle of Wight, while Pete comes on the bus. They both arrive at about 8.30am and often remain until 5.30pm at least twice a week. The third member of the team, Tony, passed away last summer, he had contributed significantly and his loss affected Chris and Pete personally who are both recovering from their own personal losses and illness. They deliver presentations 6, give talks to local groups, and ensure displays are updated for the monthly guided tours. Without these volunteers the Kings Theatre would not be able to utilise the archive material or make it available for wider use.
Comment from Sponsor, Linzi Stean, COLAS Limited
"Colas are very happy to be sponsoring Portsmouth’s Inspiring Volunteer awards, which recognise the great work that the volunteers of Portsmouth do. As a company Colas is committed to working with the communities in which we work and what better way than to be involved in rewarding the residents that go above and beyond for the better of the city and its community. Our congratulations go to all the nominees, winners and runners up".