Winners of 2015 BVSC Volunteering Awards announced

As Volunteers' Week 2015 draws to a close, we would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has got involved in the various events and celebrations we have organised.

We held three Volunteer Marketplaces across Birmingham, a volunteer blog (which you can still submit entries) as well as the BVSC Volunteer Award Ceremony.

The BVSC Volunteering Awards Ceremony took place yesterday (Thursday 4th June) at Aston Hall. From over 70 volunteer nominations, our judging panel whittled the nominations down to a shortlist of 20. We invited the 20 shortlisted volunteers to an afternoon ceremony at Aston Hall.

The ceremony brought over 20 different organisations together to celebrate their volunteers. The event began with a welcome reception at 2.00 pm with guests enjoying afternoon tea and cakes on the terrace in the sunshine. From there, they were led to the Great Hall where the ceremony took place hosted by Nikki Tapper, BBC Radio WM Presenter and Outreach Manager. There was not an empty seat in the house and the atmosphere in the room was full of excitement as the volunteers eagerly waited to hear if they had won in their category.

Seven special guests helped Nikki to present the awards, including Marvin McKenzie (BBC), Caroline Hinckley (Aquarius), Julie Apps and Janine Goodman (award judges), Steve Dixon (Changes UK), Alex Nicholson-Evans (The Heritage Volunteering Group), Sheila Arthurs (CVCHA) and Brian Carr (BVSC).

It was smiles all round when volunteers were presented with their awards. The winners were awarded a glass trophy and everyone went home with a framed certificate. It was a very heart warming event with guests hearing about the wonderful work that volunteers do in their groups and communities.

We will look forward to seeing you all next year!

The full list of winners:

Aquarius Young Volunteer of the Year - An award to recognise the work, commitment and impact of young volunteers under 25.
Winner: Kirsty Kelly
Kirsty has volunteered with ANAWIM women's project since 2014.  She performs a number of roles including; leading training sessions, providing one to one support to women, working in prisons and outreach work with street based sex workers.
The assessors have chosen Kirsty to receive this award because she takes all this work in her stride, she has a flexible approach to her work and is able to reach out to women with complex issues.
Thomas Butcher, Reach out Family Support Worker, Resources for Autism
Haziq Ali, Retail Assistant, Birmingham Settlement

BVSC Beyond Volunteering’ Volunteer of the Year - An award to recognise a volunteer’s outstanding contribution to the city or cause. This is an award for somebody who goes beyond volunteering to make positive changes to their local community.
Winner: Charles Kennedy
For the past two years Charlie has helped Changes UK to provide high quality support for their service users.  Charlie's journey is a really inspiring one and he has provided such a variety of work and support.  From starting out providing companionship, he quickly moved on to becoming a recovery coach, whilst being in recovery himself  -  even standing in for paid staff.  He provides quality of life for people in mental and physical torment and as a  peer mentor Charlie inspires others to maintain their recovery.
Garry Murphy, Service Volunteer, Aquarius
Dennis Dixon, Co-ordinator, Hall Green and Smith’s Wood Child Contact Centres

CVCHA Community Volunteer of the Year Award -An award to recognise an individual volunteer's passion, commitment and hard work within the community).
Winner: Mohammed Zafran, All 4 Youth & Community
Following the brutal murder of his brother in law and the death of his sister,  Zafran began walking streets at night, engaging with youths who were engaged with gangs and crime, to encourage them to follow his lead and get into sports and education.  He set up a company called All 4 Youth & Community which to date has run 99 projects with a total funding of just £2,500. As a consequence of his work, 13,000 young people have registered with his academy including 2,000 young women.  Many have acquired the self belief to get into education or employment. Zafran's message is not to gain revenge but kill hatred by offering love and smiles to others.
Bishu Carter, Volunteer Tutor, The Access Project
Kiran Sohota, Community Volunteer various in the Asian Community

BVSC Volunteer Team of the Year: An award to recognise group achievements -either corporate or community based - where a team of volunteers have come together to deliver a successful project, challenge or event.
Winner: Fareshare volunteers
The team fights hunger and tackles food waste by redistributing surplus food that they receive from supermarkets, manufacturers and growers. The food is sorted and checked by the team before being redistributed to over 80 charities including hostels, children and families centres, community cafes residential homes and soup kitchens, enabling these organisations to create nutritious meals.
The team have won this award because they have shown that they are highly organised and efficient and the work that they carry out benefits over 4,000 vulnerable adults every day.
Birmingham and Solihull Group, MND Association
Beacon Lunch Club Voluntary Staff Team, Beacon Evangelical Church

Fundraising Volunteer of the Year - An award to recognise individual fundraising efforts and to thank them for their drive and dedication to the cause and campaign.
Winner:  Phil McKenzie, Fundraising Volunteer, Edwards Trust
Phil began fundraising for Edwards Trust following the loss of his son Ben who was stillborn. Phil has put an enormous amount of time, effort and energy into supporting Edward's Trust - raising money (over £5,000), raising the Trust's profile and encouraging support from others. His fundraising activities include running the Birmingham Half Marathon (twice), The Tokyo Marathon, and 500 km on a static cycle in the Merry Hill shopping centre. Phil impressed the judges by going the extra mile (literally!).
Phil Mellanby, Gallery Fundraiser, Birmingham Museums Trust
Jennie Burrows, Volunteer Fundraiser, Cruse Bereavement Care, Birmingham Area.

Changes UK Long-term Volunteer -  Achievement Award: An award to recognise and say thank you to long-serving volunteers who have demonstrated dedication, commitment and enthusiasm through many years of volunteering.
Winner: Margaret Stoyles, Front of House Assistant, John Taylor Hospice CIC
Margaret has worked as Front of House Assistant for 19 years and never misses a shift, whatever the weather.  Her role involves meeting and greeting visitors, and generally being the first point of contact for the hospice.
The judges chose Margaret to win this award because they felt that it took a special person to work in a hospice for 19 years. And, as her nominee said, she is "inspirational, modest, sympathetic and overwhelmingly dedicated."
Patrick O’Neil, Telephone Helpline, Focus Birmingham
Gill Irish, B’ham Museum and Art Gallery

Supporting Volunteers - Organisation of the Year: An award to recognise an organisation which excels in supporting and enabling volunteers to succeed in the work they do.
Winner: Gateway Family Services UK
Gateway was nominated by one of their volunteer befrienders,  Arlene Lawrence.  According to the judges, Arlene's application demonstrated how much she had been supported and enabled by Gateway in her volunteering role.  Arlene said that Gateway made her feel valued and in particular she appreciated Gateway recognising her transferable skills gained as a mother. They offered her a number of training opportunities to help her perform the role and  the experience of volunteering with Gateway has given her the confidence to apply for paid jobs.
Carrs Lane Counselling Service

Picture: Award winners with Nikki Tapper and Brian Carr © Ian Cuthbert |