Southwark's most active volunteers and most inspirational organisations were honoured last night at our 2017 Southwark Stars awards night.
The event, held at Tate Exchange - Tate Modern, recognised people in twelve different categories and awarded over 80 certificates to volunteers who have contributed 100 hours or more in the last year.
The event began with a welcome address from our Chief Executive Gordon McCullough and Head of Tate Exchange's Fiona Kingsman. The MC for the evening was Michael Cleere who did an excellent job of opening the ceremony and guiding us through the evening's events with great passion and humour.
The most prestigious award, 'Volunteer of the Year', went to Nathaniel Hill. Nathaniel joined Siblings Together after attending himself with his sister, both had been separated whilst in care for many years. Over the past year he's volunteered on a regular basis, offering support to a great many others who find themselves in a similar situation. The Worshipful Mayor of Southwark, Councillor Kath Whittam, presented the Volunteer of the Year award. She praised the, "Giants among people who are so important to our borough, the 100 hours volunteers provided over 26,000 hours of volunteering just in the last year!''Charity of the Year went to Link Age Southwark, Link Age Southwark works to combat loneliness and keep older people socially active. They make a huge difference to the lives of their service users and have grown their volunteering and groups this year. They now offer 20 groups and have over 500 befrienders. Gemma Juma the CEO collected the award, Gemma said, "We have over 400 volunteers, our youngest is 13 and our eldest is 92. I continue to be amazed by how much volunteers add to our service, every day they come in and they motivate me to to my job.''
Read May's story, May joined Link Age Southwark when she was 85.
A special Recognition award went to Linda Osborn for contributing over 60 years of volunteering in Southwark. Linda volunteers with Woodcraft Folk. Woodcraft Folk said, "We estimate that Linda has contributed well over 30,000 volunteering hours to develop opportunities for children in the Borough. Linda reaches out to all communities and all children and seeks out opportunities for their growth and development, always believing that they can shape their destinies and contribute to making the world a better place."
Plus individual winners were Mike Krotosky, Event Director at Southwark Park Run, who won Volunteer Coordinator of the year, George Martin, from Robes Project, who won Trustee of the Year. Luke Holmes, from Bede House, who won Young Volunteer of the Year, Vassiste Hunumunt, from Pembroke House, who won Disabled Peoples' Champion Award, Laverne Hunt, from Media Community Network, won Best Volunteer Contribution to the Arts, Leila Blackwood from Elim House who won Older Volunteer of the Year and Mo Wheatley who won the Keib Thomas Active Citizen Award.
It was inspirational to hear about The Young Volunteer of the Year Luke Holmes, (above left). Luke, despite being disabled himself, takes on volunteering roles with Bede ranging from gardening, DIY, window cleaning and walking dogs especially to visit older people who might not be able to keep pets themselves, but love their company.
It was also amazing to hear that Parkrun Southwark has 250 volunteers. Mike Krotosky, our Volunteer Coordinator of the Year winner, has run 70 parkruns himself and has volunteered over 200 times. A great sacrifice on his part.
Equally humbling was hearing from George Martin, Trustee of the Year winner. He told us that the Robes Project has almost 1000 volunteers and that their organisation has raised an astounding £400k in 5 years. Their next homeless sleep out is on 24/11.
Another highlight of the evening was a student jazz band from Borough Music School who
provided entertainment while people were arriving. They played again later in the evening, as people were enjoying a break from the awards over some food and drinks.
It was a truly fantastic and humbling evening. A huge thank you to the Tate Exchange for hosting the event and a huge thank you to all our presenters and award winners!
Photos from the night!
You can see all the photos taken on the night on our Community Southwark Flickr page here.