Community spirit comes shining through at volunteer awards

Community spirit comes shining through at volunteer awards

By Andrew Mosley | 25/03/2022

Community spirit comes shining through at volunteer awards


THE selfless efforts of Rotherham’s army of volunteers were celebrated as the borough’s community awards returned after a two year absence.

A new venue, the New York Stadium, marked the 17th Voluntary Action Rotherham Community Achievement Awards  the first since the outbreak of Covid-19.

The ceremony was hosted by VAR’s Julie Turner and Teresa Brocklehurst and guests viewing the videos produced by Rotherham College students heard incredible stories of the estimated 1,400 groups working without pay for the good of others across the borough.

Presenting the Young Volunteer Under 25 award to Millie Bell, and closing the ceremony, Rotherham Council chief executive Sharon Kemp said: “I can only imagine how hard it was for the judges to make the decisions as all the stories are so inspiring. You have made me cry on a Friday night but they are happy tears.

“Your work, commitment and dedication makes Rotherham the great place that it truly is.”

Announcing the Volunteer award winner, 91-year-old Alec Senior, Rotherham Advertiser editor Andrew Mosley said: “These awards are about people working hard for Rotherham, taking that first step by doing something good for the community, be it organising litter picks, running junior sports clubs, visiting isolated people, helping neighbours through Covid or doing the shopping for those who can’t.

“The actions of these volunteers mean that in the Advertiser we are able to counter the negative news with positive pieces featuring people helping out others, striving to ensure Rotherham remains such a great place to live.

“You only have to look at last week’s paper and the stories of those who are collecting for people in the Ukraine, even travelling out there to drop off urgently needed supplies, to know there are plenty of good-hearted people in Rotherham.”

Liberty Church pastor Adrian Dexter presented the Project award to Families First and said Rotherham had been going through a hard time but the volunteers had shown that the spirit to help each other through was there.

Young Volunteer Under 25:
Winner: Millie Bell (Children, Young People and Families Consortium — Different But Equal Board)
Her nomination said: “Millie is drawn to opportunities which enable children and young people to be involved meaningfully and inclusively in planning and decision making that directly affects them.
“Millie has dedicated an incredible amount of time selflessly, with passion and has been willing to work with a range of partners in the journey to influencing the opportunities for future young people as a whole.”
Nominees: Hannah Fieldhouse (RSPCA Maltby) and  Brody Connell and Coburn Hunter (Sam’s Army Mission)

Winner: Alec Senior (Dementia Cafes and carer)
Alec’s nomination said: “At 91 years of age, Alec Senior is a wonderful example of a man who just knows... he just knows what a terrible disease dementia really is.
“He just knows what people need and he makes sure they get it. The man has an enormous heart.
“We knew this before the pandemic and we know this now as we re-open our dementia cafes and welcome everyone back.”
Nominees: Farheen Khan (BME Young People and Carers Group) and Raja Khan (Rotherham Friends In Deed)

Winner: Families First
The nomination said: “The aim is to provide small household appliances, books, bedding, toys and other small non-food items to local families who need them. The family may be in financial crisis or just need a one off support in a difficult time. A fantastic service is the Christmas Toy Appeal, which works by family workers nominating a child in need to receive a Christmas present, where the parent or guardian may not be able to provide one that year.”
Nominees: Rotherham Timebuilders Social Supermarket and Young Inspectors

Special Recognition Awards went to:
Covid Vaccination Volunteers (supporting the Covid-19 programme as volunteers to provide marshalling, one-to-one support for patients and ensuring sites ran smoothly, maintaining social distancing and infection control requirements) and, Rotherham Heroes (a borough-wide volunteer programme co-ordinated by the Rotherham Community Hub to offer practical support to residents who were affected by the pandemic).