Volunteers and groups who make a positive difference to their communities have been recognised in the Bath & North East Somerset Council Chairman’s Community Awards.
An award ceremony, attended by 200 people, was held at The Guildhall in Bath on Thursday 29th January. Foodcycle volunteers made and served food at the event with ingredients provided by Sainsbury’s Odd Down.
The awards are organised annually in partnership with the Volunteer Centre Bath and North East Somerset, social housing provider CURO, and the Student Community Partnership.
They highlight the contributions made by local people, their efforts to involve others and impact they make on their communities.
The Chairman Cllr Martin Veal said: “We received 79 nominations from which eight individuals and eight teams have been selected as winners. I would like to congratulate all of them for the work they do in their communities for the benefit of others.”
The evening also saw the launch of a new song called “You give it all” to raise money for the Volunteer Centre. It has been written and produced by Cllr Simon Allen and is performed by him and a group of local volunteers.
It can be downloaded from all major retailers for 79p with proceeds going to the centre.
A Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Squadron Leader (Ret’d) Brian Higgins MBE from Bath, who has volunteered for over 60 years. He not only volunteers with the Bath Air Cadets he is also the Chairman of Bath Children in need, Vice Chair of Friends of Southdown Youth Hub and Vice Chair of Wessex MS Therapy Centre.
His wife, Christine, nominated him, saying: “He has devoted his life to young people and the community as well as caring for me for the last 20 years. He has raised significant funds for all the organisations he has worked for. I think he deserves award as he is now 74 years old and still going strong.”
Two Chairman’s Special Awards were awarded to Richard Cox and Matt Humberstone from Bath, for their work to improve the lives of those around them through their voluntary work.
Richard led a fundraising campaign to purchase and develop Primrose Hill Community Woodland, which will benefit the residents of Bath for generations to come.
Matt has shown exceptional dedication to volunteering, developing strong links with local charities to create more volunteering opportunities for students. He is the Chair of the Volunteering Team at the University of Bath; a Scout leader at 31st Bath; head chef at Bath Foodcycle; a volunteer at DHI and a Trustee of the Volunteer Centre.
Other winners included:
Volunteer of the Year: Sheila Bunt, who set up the Bath All Comers Orchestra in 2002 because there were no amateur orchestras in Bath. There are now 70 members of the Orchestra and 40-50 people regularly turn up for rehearsals at Monkton Combe School. Sheila organizes three concerts a year to raise money for local charities, most recently Dorothy House.
There were two awards for Young Volunteer of the Year:
Nancy Appleton from Peasedown St John volunteers at Merriman Dance Academy and Teenage Rampage; is a Cheerleader at Beacon Hall, and is involved in Bath Area Play Project summer activities.
Kathryn Jeanes, a student at Bath Spa University uses her own experience of suffering from anxiety to help other students. She is an active member of the Stamp Out Stigma campaign, talking to students about mental health.
Volunteer Leader: Judith Chubb Whittle, Stanton Drew.
She is the Chair of Stanton Drew Parish Council, governor of the local primary school, a prominent member of the neighbourhood planning team and a member of the Pensford, Publow and the Stanton’s Community Trust.
She is the grounds maintenance manager for Stanton Court Nursing home and has a involved the local primary school in managing their own plot to grow vegetables and flowers.
Young Volunteer Leader: Emma Hildesley, Bath Spa University.
Emma set up a society to encourages students to volunteer in the community. With 55 members it has organised a Children’s Halloween Party, knitting parties to make hats to raise money for Age UK B&NES, fundraising on campus for Children in Need and Christmas hampers to donate to day centres.
Volunteer Team: The Hive, Clutton
This social enterprise supports young people recovering from addiction, depression and social problems. Many of the young people have moved on to further education, employment and some are now mentoring others.
Bath Gateway Out and About Club was Highly Commended in the Volunteer Team category.
Young Volunteer Team: Youth Café, Twerton
The LIFE 365 Youth Café runs two evenings a week, providing young people with a place to meet. It’s been running for four years and gives young people the opportunity use their talents to put on exhibitions, performances and learn new skills.
Good Neighbours Team: Bath Spa Students’ Union Buddy Team 2014
The team helps new students during their first year at university. It has a social role, as well as signposting to services for alcohol awareness, sexual health, river safety and much more.
Neighbourhood Team: Paulton Library Hub volunteers
Paulton Library Community Hub houses the library, a coffee bar and meeting room. It also provides the opportunity for community organisations to deliver their services in an accessible, central village location. This work is supported by over 30 local volunteers who give up their time to support the community.
Business in the Community: Rachael’s Bath Community Shop, Twerton
The shop sells affordable second hand clothing and other items, and uses profits to provide free trips to the community and support those in need with school uniform for their children.
There were two awards for Innovative Community Awards: Bath Hacked Steering Group and Engineers without Boarders
Bath Hacked aims to use available local data to create interesting things, for example it has run events with IT specialists to create websites and phone apps. This has been driven by a small group of local people and has involved around 145 residents.
Engineers without Boarders is a group of students from the University of Bath which aims to inspire a new generation of engineers. The group runs outreach sessions in local schools.