Groups across Test Valley joined Unity at the Annual Volunteering Awards to celebrate the achievements of those people who give their time freely to support their local communities. This year there were more Awards than ever before with four individual and one team Award.
The Test Valley Mayor, Cllr. Martin Hatley kindly agreed to present the Awards and he had agreed to sponsor the Unsung Hero Award which was won by Ann Dean, Andover Stroke Club for organising, developing and running this thriving community group for over 10 years on a voluntary basis. This group was on the cusp of folding and it now has a thriving membership and supports it’s members who all have a common thread in rehabilitation from a Stroke.
A Veteran of the Year Award, one of the new editions to the programme, was won by Paul Martin. After being made redundant from his job and whilst looking for employment, Paul made a conscious decision to put something back into his local community despite the fact that he also cares for a family member. After carrying out several ‘one off’ volunteering events including Armed Forces Day and after securing employment, Paul has thought nothing of continuing on his volunteering path dedicating time and commitment to others.
For the first time, a Trustee of the Year Award was available to highlight all those trustees who behind the scenes work hard ensure that their organisations are flourishing. This was won by Ann Woods, who has been a trustee for 30 years bringing a wealth of experience, dedication and commitment to those with learning disabilities.
The Team of the Year Award was won by Andover Men’s Shed Association. This group is only 5 years old but already have 40 members. From storytelling at a local school, to building a wooden structure around the local war memorial, this team work tirelessly for the good of the community.
The winner of Volunteer of the Year Award sponsored by Ansvar Insurance was chosen from the other three individual winners and was won by Paul Martin who was totally overwhelmed with the accolade.
Finally, a very special award was presented to the volunteers of the Unity Stockbridge Community Bus whose volunteers are celebrating 30 years of running this valuable bus services.
Terry Bishop, Unity Chief Executive said:
This is our opportunity to recognise those volunteers who are committed to improving people lives in their local community. Without their efforts many of the support services would not exist particularly at a time when statutory services are so stretched. We must also thank the Test Valley Mayor and Ansvar Insurance for sponsoring Awards this year. Without their contributions we would be unable to celebrate these outstanding achievements.
If you would like to find out about volunteering or wish to know more about any of the groups mentioned please contact the Volunteer Centre. Telephone 0330 4004 116 or check out the website www.unityonline.org.uk/volunteering
Photo: The Transport Team from Unity Stockbridge Community Buses