Volunteer Awards 2020 Announced

Hunts Forum celebrates the people who have gone to incredible lengths to support our member organisations and local communities.

On 2 December 2020 Hunts Forum held its annual Volunteer of the Year awards ceremony. The pandemic meant we had to move the event online but there was still a great turnout – and the quality and number of nominations was as high as ever.

2020 has been an extraordinary year. Thankfully, the immense challenges brought about by the pandemic have been met by an incredible response by the voluntary community. That’s why it has been harder than ever to pick winners from the dozens of nominations we have received for this year’s awards. We’d like to thank everyone who submitted nominations, all those who were nominated and everyone who has given up their time this year to support their communities.

Many thanks to Ladbrook Insurance for their generation donation of £100 Amazon vouchers for our Gold award winners. Ladbrook specialise in insurance for charities and social enterprises; find out more at

Volunteer of the Year Award

Gold – Kim Laidler, Sun Network

Kim got involved with Sun Network a few years ago with a few one-off projects. Since then she has grown in confidence and commitment and is now a Non-Executive Director. She has overcome her own challenges and has a huge passion for ensuring that people experiencing mental ill health have a voice. She participates in numerous projects and meetings at strategic levels to ensure that the thoughts and feelings of service users are at the heart of the local and regional mental health policies and work streams.

Silver – Des Foster, Buckden Village Hall

Des has been treasurer of the Buckden Village Hall Trust for four years. Throughout that time he has ensured that the hall is on a sound financial footing, and has also supported tenants through their own financial challenges. During the pandemic the hall was forced to shut down but still had significant costs. Des researched every known funding for Covid-affected business, managed to maintain salaries for three staff and is actively involved in a range of projects to ensure the future prosperity of the hall.

Bronze – Sheila Goodbody and Ian Hopkins, Somersham Town Band

Ian and Sheila are the country’s oldest roadies, setting up and taking down the band’s equipment for concerts in all weather. They have also helped by driving band members and their instruments, babysitting for bandmembers so they can attend rehearsals and shaking collection boxes at concerts.

Highly Commended – Annie Thantrey: Hunts Community Cancer Network

Annie had the vision to establish an holistic drop-in centre where people with a diagnosis of cancer can come together from across the region. She has recruited a large community of volunteers to provide emotional support and activities such as massage, art therapy, yoga, line dancing and so much more. During lockdown Annie re-imagined the drop-in as a virtual community, learning the intricacies of Facebook and Zoom to keep people in contact with each other.

Highly Commended – Christopher Cole: Alzheimer’s Society

Chris has volunteered for the Alzheimer’s Society for over eight years, initially helping with admin duties and then at their Dementia Cafes in St Ives and Ramsey. During the pandemic, Chris again switched his role and become a Companion Caller, calling service users who are lonely and isolated for a regular chat.

Highly Commended – Hemingford Hub volunteer team

Hemingford Hub nominates its team of volunteers for their essential roles in building a caring and pro-active community. The Hub exploded into activity when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, growing in a matter of days to 140+ volunteers for its Good Neighbour scheme. They helped residents by shopping, collecting medication, walking dogs, organising tea parties, delivering hot meals, minor repairs and much more.

Highly Commended – Lianne Simpson: Diamond Hampers

Lianne is co-founder of Diamond Hampers and is deeply committed to helping those living in poverty and ensuring no person goes hungry. She climbed over boulders to reach the peak of Mount Snowden to raise vital funds. She prepares up to 20 food parcels each day and organises deliveries to areas in Huntingdon, Brampton, St Neots, St Ives and surrounding villages.

Highly Commended – Patrick Kadewere: Huntingdonshire Community Group

When news of the Covid-19 pandemic broke, Cllr Kadewere prepared a team of volunteers to respond to whatever needs the community presented. He registered the group as a Recognised Organisation with HDC and connected with a range of partner agencies. His presence in the heart of the community delivering food, medicine, arranging ongoing support, advice and reassurance made a huge impact on the mental health and wellbeing of a vast number of people.

Highly Commended – Gill Riley: CP Learning Trust

Gill has been shielding throughout the Covid pandemic, but rather than focusing on what she could no longer do, she decided to find ways to help others in the community. She responded to a call CP Learning Trust put out for volunteers to make face masks and other protective items for the NHS and frontline staff, and to date Gill has produced 772 items.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Susan Moore, Hunts Community Cancer Network

Susan was the founder of Hunts Community Cancer Network, and worked tirelessly to improve the wellbeing of cancer patients across the county. She had a passion to help people who had a diagnosis of cancer and, despite her own health issues, brought them together to support each other. She also managed their volunteers and programmes, coached others and was always looking for the next innovation. Sadly Susan died on 11 September 2020. She lived her life to the full, always maintaining a positive outlook and a realistic view of her own mortality.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Michael Snell, Centre 33

Michael has volunteered at Centre 33 for 10 years and has given such valuable help to them. He has offered his skills as a handyman, plumber, painter, and even office space designer. All of this has given their offices a more pleasant environment which is critical to the services they offer to young people and gives them a safe and calm place when they visit.

David Morgan Rural Volunteer of the Year Award

Gold – Christine Luckham, Huntingdonshire Children’s Charity (Dreamdrops)

Christine has been involved in the charity since its inception in 2005. She was instrumental in setting up The Collins Club to support families with autistic children, organised Christmas parties, provided training and supported families through lockdown. She is a driving force for good, and definitely someone you want on your side.

Silver – Richard Cross, Caring Together

Richard volunteers within almost every team in Caring Together, supporting Awareness sessions, young carers groups, family carers hubs and as an ambassador and trained mental health first aider for the organisation. He has continued to volunteer through the pandemic, providing support via telephone and online, and piloting the return to face-to-face support. His enthusiasm and energy is seemingly endless and he never fails to cheer up any room he enters.

Bronze – Maurice and Sue Lee, Hail Weston Parish Council

Maurice and Sue set up the Neighbourhood Café in 2016, leading a team of volunteers to provide residents with a chance to socialise over a cuppa and cake. They rarely miss a shift and have been instrumental in raising almost £7,000 for good causes.

The Nominations in Full

Congratulations to everyone who was nominated this year.

Houghton & Wyton Timebank

  • Eamonn Lillis
  • Mary Whitehand
  • Sarah Cossey
  • Stewart Bean

Diamond Hampers:

  • Allan Baillie
  • Amanda Orchard
  • Andrew Faville
  • Anna Morgan-Dutton
  • Charlotte Heritage
  • Chris Tuffin
  • Chris Dowling
  • Dian Bennett
  • Emma Britton
  • Gemma Luxford
  • Lee Simpson
  • Lorraine Saunders
  • Lucy Kennedy
  • Maureen Pickavance
  • Neil Cosbey
  • Pat Tuffin
  • Samantha Almond
  • Sarah-Jane Pearson
  • Shaz Imran
  • Sue Gee
  • Trish Tweddle

 Yaxley & Farcet Covid-19 Support Network

  • Sally Howell


  • David Whittaker
  • Doreen Rickard
  • Dot Fowler
  • Heather Bohonis
  • Jenny Measures
  • Jo Archer
  • Sharon Farrington


  • Chris Cole

Cornerstone Care in Confidence

  • Emily Laine

Kite Trust

  • Mark Ness
  • Xabier Rodriguez-Fraile

Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust

  • Martyn Corley


Lessons from the Pandemic – report

In September 2020 Support Cambridgeshire was commissioned to carry out some research into how the voluntary sector and statutory partners have responded to Covid-19. As part of this we talked with:

  • 19 groups made up from a range of county-wide, small and newly formed community groups and charities;
  • representatives from six district/city Covid-response hubs and the county hub.

The resulting report paints a picture of an exceptional response to this extraordinary time. There has been innovation and collaboration on unprecedented scales, and also a need to tailor responses to local needs.

Read the report here.

Hunts Forum Volunteer Awards 2020: Nominations Now Open

Hunts Forum is inviting nominations for its annual Volunteer Awards.

Volunteering is the lifeblood of our communities. It can take many forms, from befriender to bookkeeper, tea-maker to trustee. All of these roles are equally important in ensuring that our community organisations thrive. In 2020, volunteering has never been more important, and the people of Huntingdonshire have truly risen to the challenge.

Our Volunteer Awards are an opportunity to shine a light on the people who deserve special praise for their contribution. It might be someone who kick-started a new project, an unsung hero who rarely receives thanks, someone who has provided years of service or who has gone the extra mile in recent months. Please share their stories with us and your fellow Hunts Forum members. You can do so by filling in the 2020 Member Volunteer Award Nomination Form and returning it to by Monday 9th November 2020.  Anyone who volunteers for a Hunts Forum member organisation is eligible for this award.

We are also welcoming nominations for our Rural Volunteer Award, which is open to all community organisations across Cambridgeshire. It celebrates the contribution of volunteers in rural areas of our county. Please download the 2020 Rural Volunteer Award nomination form and return it to by Monday 9th November 2020

The awards winners will be announced at the Hunts Forum AGM on Wednesday 2 December 2020, starting at 16:00. This year it will be a blended event, so people can either attend online or in-person subject to the government’s guidelines for social distancing. Please mark this date in your diary.


Could you be a trustee for Hunts Forum?

Hunts Forum is recruiting to its board of trustees. Do you have the skills and the passion to take on this key role and be a champion for the voluntary sector?

Hunts Forum of Voluntary Organisations supports the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector in Huntingdonshire and beyond, helping to empower communities and improve the lives of residents. We are a registered charity with 128 member organisations ranging from volunteer-led community groups to county-wide charities and town and parish councils. To our members we are a trusted ally, confidant, coach, trouble-shooter and campaigner. We play a vital role in helping new organisations establish themselves, upskilling volunteers and staff, helping our members through challenging times and championing their causes to the wider VCSE sector and beyond.

Our small team of experienced staff is governed by our board of trustees, many of whom are drawn from our member organisations. The board sets the strategic direction, monitors performance and ensures that Hunts Forum delivers on its stated objects. It provides oversight of finances, legal compliance and the appointment and management of staff.

We are fortunate to have an extremely talented, dedicated team of trustees from a range of backgrounds, and we are looking to expand this team. We are appealing to you, the volunteers and staff of our member organisations, because you know more than anyone how Hunts Forum can best serve its members. We are particularly keen to hear from people with experience in HR, legal and fundraising. Trustee meetings are held bi-monthly during the day.

If you think you might be interested, please call Julie Farrow, our CEO, for an informal chat on 07809 214893 or email her at

Click here for information from NCVO on the role of trustees.

Celebrating the Work of Recognised Organisations

Our network of COVID-response voluntary organisations has achieved an incredible amount in a few short months. We take a moment to reflect on their successes.

The Recognised Organisations are a network of trusted voluntary and community groups, charities and town and parish councils who are supporting Huntingdonshire residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some groups already had well-established relationships with the people they are supporting, while others have had to refocus their resources to emerging needs. The thing they have in common is that each and every group has heroically risen to the challenges they’ve faced.

Over 1,000 volunteers have shopped for groceries, delivered letters and parcels, provided friendship and comfort and a huge range of other tasks for people in need across Huntingdonshire. It proves that beyond doubt that, when faced with uncertain and stressful circumstances, there are people who are all the more willing to help their neighbours out.

Hunts Forum has been working closely with the Recognised Organisations since the beginning of lockdown, with a combination of one-to-one support, networking meetings, forging of alliances and generating resources via our COVID-19 Portal. It has been our privilege to support these fabulous groups of volunteers and watch them flourish through such challenging times.

We have created the infographic below to tell the story of the Recognised Organisations and their tremendous achievements through the first three months of lockdown. We hope it gives an understanding of the value that our voluntary sector has – and continues to – bring to the people of Huntingdonshire.

We would like to thank all the groups who supported this piece of work.  If you would like to download the document click here Recognised Org Info-graphic