Southwark Stars 2016

Southwark Stars 2016
Joe Dobson - Volunteer of the Year
By
Robert Jamieson

Southwark’s Voluntary and Community Sector gathered last night at the Coin Street centre to celebrate the annual Southwark Stars Awards.

The glittering ceremony acknowledged the fantastic and vital contribution made to Southwark from all walks of life and every corner of the borough.

There were nine different award categories ranging from Community Group of the Year to Disabled People’s Champion of the Year.

The night was rounded off with the presentation of the Volunteer of the Year award which was handed out by the Mayor of Southwark, Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle MBE

She said: “It has been wonderful tonight to recognise so many individuals. Of all of the winners of the categories the Judges felt that one in particular had given an immense amount of time and a large portion of their life as a volunteer.

“The work that they were driving forward has helped a large number of people and transformed the social fabric of their local community.”

Joe Dobson, who picked up the honour, also won the Keib Thomas Active Citizen of the Year award.

In 2002, Joe started a football team in Peckham after a dozen kids in the local park told him they had no team to play for. Working in partnership with other local volunteers, that little team has today become a charity called United Allstars supporting 300 children a week across Southwark.

Joe’s ethos of community action thrives to this day with the charity remaining driven by volunteers.

Joe said: "It was a surprise and a privilege to receive the two awards. All I've done really is get other local people involved back in 2002 and then it's snowballed from there.

"These awards are recognising the work of the dozens of volunteers we have that give hundreds of children the opportunity to do something positive every week. It was lovely to see our 18 year old coach Rilwan Aminu win the Young Volunteer award - he's an inspiration to me.

"It was also good to have our Head Coach Dominic Welch on stage - he co-founded the charity with me. Without his hard work and my wife's patience and support, I wouldn't be receiving any award!"

Cllr Michael Situ, Cabinet Member for Communities and Safety, was on hand to present the Community Group of the Year award to Big Local South Bermondsey (BLSB).

He said: “In my work as a Councillor I am privileged to work with many community based groups.

“Big Local South Bermondsey is a project that supports a number of volunteer run community groups in the borough. Their nomination highlighted the work that these volunteers have done to change their area for the better.”

BLSB have been instrumental in engaging older people back into the community and developing their skills and confidence levels.  Now they run several craft clubs in local schools in the lunchtime led by older people as well as running these clubs on local estates.

Over 50 Southwark Star Awards were also given to volunteers who had contributed 100 or more hours with an organisation in the last year.

Between them they have amassed an astonishing 14,000 hours of volunteering.

In the time Southwark Stars has been running it has recognised the contribution of over 700 volunteers who have made a difference in their communities.

Full List of Winners

Special Commendations