On Friday 24 June we held our Southwark Stars Award Ceremony to celebrate the incredible volunteers in the borough. It was held at the iconic Tate Modern and was a chance to recognise the outstanding service of volunteers in Southwark in 10 specialist categories and Volunteer Champion certificates.
The evening officially opened at 5.30pm when guests arrived at the fantastic Tate Modern event space. Guests followed the music played by Latin American live band Kausary through the venue to where food was being served. The food for the evening was a delicious selection of Kurdish veggie and vegan delights provided by caterers Nadine.
The Award Ceremony itself began promptly at 6.30pm with an opening address from Southwark’s Deputy Mayor Michael Situ. This was followed by a big welcome and run through of what was to come from the evening’s MC, Actor and Comedian, Lee Cornes.
It was then time for the first group of Volunteer Champions to came to the stage to be presented with their certificates by Cllr Kieron Williams, Leader of Southwark Council.
Volunteer Coordinator of the Year
For our first award winner of the night, Jodie Warner, from The Kids Network, was presented with the award for Volunteer Coordinator of the Year by Laura Reynolds, Community Participation Manager at Coin Street. The Kids Network are a community of children and young professionals connecting through fun, friendship and hardship for positive social change. Laura said how excited and pleased she was to accept the award.
The Kids Network said of Jodie:
“Jodie’s passion for supporting children and Volunteers in Southwark is something that constantly inspires the team at The Kids Network and reminds everyone of their mission to build meaningful connections within the communities they support”.
Best Corporate Partnership
Our next Award, for Best Corporate Partnership, was won by Sea Containers London and Breath Arts Health Research! It was presented by Alastair Beddow and Ben Kent, Managing Director and Director from Meridian West, who explained the invaluable work of the partnership:
“This corporate provides year-round pro-bono support for the charity, Breathe Arts Health Research a small not-for-profit social enterprise Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy Programme helps children and young people with hemiplegia (a weakness or paralysis affecting one side of the body as a result of brain injury or stroke) through the art of magic”.
Outstanding Contribution to Health & Wellbeing
The next award was for Outstanding Contribution to Health & Wellbeing. This award is held in memory of Michael Cleere. Michael was very active in the Southwark Community, working as a Community Cohesion Co-Ordinator and before this he had a career as a Community & Faith Producer with the BBC. He was also a much loved MC for this Southwark Stars Awards Ceremony for a number of years.
Doreen Sinclair-McCollin, Director and CEO of Elevated Minds CIC, presented the award to the winner Carol Moody, who is a volunteer at Link Age Southwark. Link Age Southwark is a small and local charity working to prevent loneliness and isolation amongst older people and people living with dementia in Southwark.
Link Age Southwark said of Carol:
“Carol has made a massive difference to her befriendee’s life and mental wellbeing. She is kind, thoughtful, committed and is an absolute joy to be around- she is so cheerful, she always helps to lift everyone’s mood”.
It was then time for the second group of Volunteer Champions to collect their awards, again presented by the Leader of Southwark Council, Kieron Williams.
Older Volunteer of the Year
This year we had two Older Volunteer Award winners: Jenny Morgan, volunteer at Southwark Nature Action Volunteers, a group that takes action to support Southwark’s green spaces and wildlife in Southwark, and Gloria Brown, a Walworth Golden Oldie’s volunteer. a group which brings people together to create an environment for older people to live healthy and social lives.
David Ried, Trustee of Peckham Settlement, presented the two awards. David is also our very own VCS Support Officer (Black & Ethnic minorities).
Young Volunteer of the Year
This was swiftly followed by our Young Volunteer of the Year Award which was won by Luke Knott, volunteer with HMS Belfast. He accepted his award from last year’s Young Volunteer of the Year award winner Javell Grant.
HMS Belfast said of Luke ,
“Luke is so knowledgeable and goes out of his way to teach and learn from others. It is volunteers like him who make HMS Belfast a special place to visit and to volunteer”.
With it then being the mid-point of the night it was time for a short break in the ceremony. During the interval Kausary played more excellent music as people topped up their plates and glasses.
Trustee of the Year
After the interval it was time for the Trustee of the Year award. This year’s award winner was Nigel Lloyd, a volunteer with 1st Place Children & Parent’s Centre. 1st Place is part of a wider network of Children and Family Centres offering support, information and guidance to families in Southwark.
1st Place said of Nigel:
“Nigel is always willing to help in any way he can, he has supported the development of the Children & Family Centre services for our wider community, bringing his knowledge and insight of the sector”.
Disabled Volunteer of the Year
The winner of the Disabled Volunteer of the Year was Valeria Taylor, volunteer at Time & Talents. Time & Talents said about Valerai:
“Valeria still has days that are very painful but says she finds it better to come out and volunteer. She says she doesn’t know what she’d do without Time & Talents but the truth is we don’t know what we’d do without her!”
The Keib Thomas Active Citizen Award
The Keib Thomas Active Citizen Award was up next. This award is given in the spirit of a very special active citizen, who actually worked with Community Southwark to come up with the event Southwark Stars. Keib Thomas was a man who dedicated his time and energy to creating a better local community and the recipient of this award reflects that. This year that special someone was Hadi Sharifi, Project Manager of Panjshir Aid & Chair of the British Afghan Society, who worked tirelessly helping Afghan refugees in Southwark. Hadi was presented his award by Madhumita Bose, Artist & wife of Keib Thomas.
Madumita said of Hadi:
“This volunteer rose up in the face of tragedy, without being asked, despite his own heartache of the situation in Afghanistan, he put that aside and was an incredible and inspiring active citizen and still is today”.
It was then time for the last group of Volunteer Champions to come up on stage and receive their certificates from The Leader of Southwark Council, Kerion Williams.
Community Group of the Year
This was followed by the last two awards of the night: Community Group of the Year which was won by Elevated Minds. Dario Blake, Chair of Pelican Plus, TRA, presented the award to Elevated Minds. An organisation that gives young people alternative strategies to improve Mental Health & Wellbeing, focusing on social and emotional development, leadership skills and entrepreneurial skills.
Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime said of Elevated Minds,
“I would like to reiterate the Mayor’s appreciation for the work that you do with young people to support their wellbeing and emotional development and build their leadership and entrepreneurial skills. I was really struck by the video of one of your young people shared with us and t he obvious impact your work has had on the local officers as well as the young person”.
Charity of the Year
The last award of the night went to The Felix Project for Charity of the Year. The Felix Project provide vital FREE food support to our community partners, enabling them to focus their resources on providing wrap-around support to families and individuals experiencing food insecurity or poverty. This award and was presented by our Chair of Trustees, Nicola Howard.
Nicola said of The Felix Project:
“What an incredible charity, I am very pleased to announce that they are the winner of Charity of the year!”
The event was closed by The Deputy Mayor, Michael Situ who thanked everyone for coming and expressed what a wonderful night it had been.
The Community Southwark team would like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers, presenters and guests for coming and making it such a special evening. And a big thank you to the team at the Tate Modern for their support and use of such an incredible venue.