Celebrating our 2019 Southwark Stars!

Celebrating our 2019 Southwark Stars!
Jo Palmer

On Friday night (8th Nov) we celebrated some of our borough's most inspirational volunteers and organisations at our #SouthwarkStars2019 Celebration Awards Night.


We were lucky enough to once again have the wonderful Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, as our venue.

The event recognised outstanding people in eleven categories. We also awarded certificates to 80 of Southwark's incredible volunteers who have contributed 100 hours or more in the last year.

The evening began with a welcome address from our Interim Chief Executive Deborah Hayman and a welcome from Jane Wells, Tate Exchange's Programme Manager.

They then handed over to our MC for the ceremonies to begin. Our MC for the evening was actor, writer and comedian Lee Cornes.

Lee is best known for his roles in tv series such as BlackAdder and Bottom and was a regular compere at London's Comedy Store in the 1980s, winning best Stand Up Comedian at the Charrington London Fringe Awards in 1987. With great wit and humour he guided us though the evenings events. We were also honoured to have past Mayor Councillor Lorraine Lauder MBE, who joined us to present the awards to the 100 hours winners.

The '2019 Volunteer of the Year Award' went to Christina Wheatley. Christina volunteers at: Edible Rotherhithe,Red Box Project, Fire Cadets and Southwark Master Gardeners.​ This inspirational voluntary action benefits a diverse range of Southwark residents and Christina fits all of this around her caring responsibilities for older people. Sandra Rhule, The Mayor of Southwark, pesented the award to Christina and thanked her for her dedication and committment to our Southwark community.

Another of our most prestigious awards, 'Keib Thomas Active Citizen of the Year ', went to Leanne Pero, founder of Black Women Rising (exhibition currently on tour) and the Leanne Pero Foundation. After a diagnosis of breast cancer and invasive treatment, Leanne realised there was no one to turn to for mental and emotional support and so she formed Black Women Rising, a free and safe space for women of colour to meet and support each other emotionally. Leanne now works with organisations such as Cop a Feel and Breast Cancer Care UK to highlight the issues BAME women face and influence change within mainstream ​cancer support.

Madhumita Bose, Artist and widow of Keib Thomas, presented the award. Leanne commented, "I remember when I was getting ready to start chemo at 30 years old and what keeps me going is not wanting any of the young women that I worked with going through alone what I went through".

This year once again had the Positive Contribution to Wellbeing Award in memory of Michael Cleere. Micheal had been our Southwark Stars MC for four years before he very sadly passed away, he is greatly missed.

The award went to went to Claudia Schneider. Claudia volunteers at Paxton Green Time Bank and suffers from MS and has mobile difficulties but despite this she is the ambassador of a wellBeing talking group. The Time Bank said, "Claudia is the soul and the ear of this group, her listening capacity and positive support to each person of the group is remarkable".

'Young Volunteer of the Year' was awarded to Josiah Ferguson, Josiah volunteers at Coin Street Community Builders. Josiah is 19 years old and he volunteers every week supporting Coin Street's tutoring and youth sessions. He is also a brilliant Vice Chair of Coin Street's Youth Forum. Truly Johnston, Senior Manager (Volunteering), AT Team London, presented the award to one of the Coin Street tea as sadly Josiah could not attend. She said of Josiah that, "Josiah radiates happiness".

'Charity of the Year' went to Disability Sports Coach. Disability Sports Coach provides a vital network of support for disabled adults, children, families and carers in the borough. Their clubs encourage long-term behaviour change, with over 70% of participants having doubled their weekly activity, improving their health and wellbeing. Their clubs are vital at helping disabled people feel less isolated, improving their mental health and wellbeing.

'Disabled Volunteer of the Year' went to Clare McCabe, a volunteer at Bede House. Bede House said of Clare, "Clare has always been an optimistic, cheery and adaptable member of the team, even when facing great physical difficulties herself. She has proved an inspiration to many in the Bede Centre". Patrick Berry, Director of Sporting Recovery, presented the award.

This year we had two 'Older Volunteer of the Year' award winners. The first being Bernie Bristoll. Bernie served on HMS Belfast as a Telegraphist from 1962 and since retirement has been a long standing volunteer at the Imperial War Museum. The said of Bernie, "Bernie’s ability to answer each question with infectious joy make him much admired by colleagues and visitors. He has become so loved that visitors come on board just to see ‘the Morse code man’ on HMS Belfast".

Our second 'Older Volunteer of the Year' award winner was Joy Henderson. At 94 Joy is Link Age Southwark's oldest volunteer and has volunteered in many roles Including: befriending, baking, fundraising events and preparing mailings. Link Age said, "we are delighted to nominate Joy for this Award, at 94 she is our oldest volunteer and she has been volunteering with us for sixteen years". Nicola Howard, Director of 1st Place Children and Parents’ Centre and a Trustee of Community Southwark, ​presented the award.

The 'Community Group of the Year' award went to Smileys PlaytimeSmiley is run entirely by volunteers and was set up to meet a need on the Dickens Estate, Bermondsey, as a space that brings together parents, carers and their children, who often do not speak English and have become socially isolated. Smileys is a classic example of voluntary action meeting local need at low cost with bags of enthusiasm and commitment.

'Trustee of the Year' went to Phil Wilkins, Phil is a trustee with 1st Place Children and Parents’ Centre. Ist Place said, "Phil combines his compassion and support with an ability to ask insightful questions and challenge positively, so that we strive to be better".

Best Cooporate Partnership went to ZS Associates, a global consulting firm, who have partnered with Community Southwark to offer their skills and expertise pro-bono to the VCS. ZS have worked with several small organisations and have had a huge impact on each of them. They have shown huge commitment in giving back to the community with enthusiasm and consideration. Matthew Allgood from United St Saviour's Charity presented the award.

Other winners of the night

Bede House supplied us with another winner of the evening, Sue Fairfield. Sue won 'Volunteer Coordinator of the Year'. Bede said, "Sue knows how to get the best from our volunteers, helping them feel good about themselves and does this with sensitivity and her cheeky sense of humour”.

And of course there were our 100 Volunteer Hours award winners. These were split into four groups and each group were thanked by Past Mayor Councillor Lorraine Lauder, MBE.

lus harpest, Mary Reid, who provided some wonderful background music while people were arriving and mingling over some refrehments. 

It was a truly fantastic and humbling evening. A big thank you to the Tate Exchange for hosting the event and a huge thank you to all our award winners and presenters.

More of our winners

You can take a look at more of our wonderful winners of the night here:




Photos from the night!

You can see all photos from the evening here

Southwark Showcase 9 Nov 2019

We also ran our Southwark Showcase: #PowerofSouthwark event the following day. It was a day of fun interactive work stations and dance and singing performances from some excellent Southwark groups. See all the photos from the day here


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