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 www.ladbrook.co.uk
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
- 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
- Mark Ness
- Xabier Rodriguez-Fraile
Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust
- Martyn Corley