The Midland Hotel, Morecambe
Wednesday 7 June, 5pm - 7pm
We were delighted to welcome almost 150 people to the Lancaster District Volunteer Achievement Awards 2023. Wednesday 7th June will, we hope, linger long in the memories of those who attended, as we celebrated volunteers and volunteering from across Lancaster District at the Midland Hotel in Morecambe.
The evening was opened in fine style with warm words from Lancaster’s Mayor, the Right Worshipful Roger Dennison, and then it was time for our introduction to the comperes for the evening – Shannon Nuttall and Niran Abeysuriya. These two amazing young people are with More Music and they leapt at the chance to present our Awards this year.
Fundraiser of the Year – Sponsored by Banks Lyon Memorial Trust
We received five nominations to this category this year, including Paige and India from Carnforth Community Swimming Pool; Simon from North West Air Ambulance Service; Vanessa from Morecambe Winter Gardens; and Lorraine from Morecambe Winter Gardens.
As with all of the Awards this year, an independent panel made the decisions on the winner and they were impressed by everyone, making their job of finding winners for each category incredibly difficulty! But decide they did and our Fundraiser of the Year 2023 is Lorraine Thompson from Morecambe Winter Gardens.
Lorraine won for her steadfast dedication to the tombola at Morecambe Winter Gardens, delighting visitors week in, week out, while bringing in funds to help with the restoration.
Trustee of the Year
Trustees are often hidden from view, working behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running of an organisation, and as such they aren’t always considered when people think of volunteers. But trustees are volunteers and they’re incredibly important ones. Our next category was Trustee of the Year and we received eight nominations.
Vanessa from Winter Gardens for her role as chair; Suhir from the Naba Arabic School; Sarah from Morecambe & Heysham Sea Cadets; Laura from Ellel Village Hall Trust; Dusty from various organisations including Morecambe Bay Foodbank, Let’s BeFriends, and Eggcup; Julie from Lancashire Youth Challenge; Elaine from Home Start Morecambe and Lancaster; and David from Lancaster Men’s Hub.
Another hard decision, but our panel chose Suhir Abuhajar from Naba Arabic School
Suhir sacrifices her time to see the community growing and thriving, and she is always the first to give a hand to refugees and asylum seekers through her organisation, Naba Arabic School, by cooperating with local VCFS organisations in Lancaster.
Suhir’s award was collected on her behalf by one of her colleagues.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lifetime Achievement Award need not mean 60 years of continuous service, although it sometimes does (and more!), and neither is it something that people only become eligible for once they retire. Our nine nominees for this Award impressed the panel with their long commitment, their litany of achievements, and just how much they all manage to pack into each day!
They were Fiona F for her various activities honouring those who work to bring attention to the plight of our rainforests; Fiona S, from Friends of Storey Gardens; Nicola at mental health support organisation Building Confidence; Brian from the Halton Lune Hydro Community Project; Kay from Galloway’s Society for the Blind; Geoff from Carnforth Rotary Club; Sharon from the Neuro Drop In Centre; Malcolm from Morecambe Winter Gardens; and Kirsty from Morecambe FC Community Sports.
So many lives touched and made better over decades of dedicated effort, and our judges chose Geoff Parker to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award 2023.
Geoff has been a volunteer with Carnforth Rotary club for 46 years, and has worked tirelessly to ensure that a difference is made, working with young and old . Geoff has delivered projects in primary and high schools, including reading with the young, and supporting technology and music competitions . In high schools he has assisted in mock interviews and mentoring .
On a weekly basis Geoff has picked up the elderly and taken them to lunch clubs, befriending those living alone.
The Roger Sherlock Award for Community Inspiration
In 2018 we added a new Award to our then roster of five – the Roger Sherlock Community Inspiration Award. This award was named in memory of local Skerton councillor Roger Sherlock who had recently passed away. After Roger’s death, stories came out about how much he did for his community and individuals in it that just went under the radar. A true inspiration with a huge heart, and this new Award was intended to reflect that. Sometimes there are people in our communities who just get on with things. Perhaps they don’t volunteer formally with any organisation; they just see that something needs to be done and they set about doing it.
All nine of our nominees this year lived up to that ideal, and they were Jenny from Ryelands Community Association; Vanessa from Morecambe Winter Gardens; Sam from Fighting Loneliness One Village at a Time; James and Jeanette from Lancaster Youth League; Bil from Lancaster and Morecambe Makers; Nicola from Building Confidence; Mandy for her work with refugees; and Fiona for her work bringing attention to challenges in the Amazon.
For her work on the Ryelands estate, Jenny Armer is this year’s recipient of the Roger Sherlock Community Inspiration Award.
Jenny does an amazing job in organising community meetings with local residents, and partners such as the local primary school, police, and City Council.
Jenny also organises events for children, young people and families. She organises community fun days throughout the year, litter picking days that helps keep the community clean and safe for children, activities for children and young people, food and breakfast programs for people who really need support and campaigns for better services for her community by representing the views of residents.
Young Volunteer of the Year – Sponsored by Lancaster & Morecambe College
People start volunteering at all ages. At our last in-person event in 2018 our Young Volunteers of the Year (yes, plural, three in all, our panel just couldn’t decide between them!) included two young lads who were still at primary school!
It’s so important to encourage younger people to get involved, and our eight nominees this year ranged in age from 16 to 24. They were Alisha from CancerCare; Amanda from Lancashire Youth Challenge; Jack G from SAFE; Ellie Pullen from Stanley’s Community Centre; Sophie O’Sullivan from the Neuro Drop In Centre; Jack B from More Music; Granville Cheng from North Lancashire Citizens Advice; and Caitlin Wilkinson from Morecambe & Heysham Sea Cadets.
This year’s winner is Ellie Pullen who began to volunteer at Stanleys shortly after the Covid pandemic began.
Ellie started giving her time to ensure 150 struggling families within the community were still being fed. Currently Ellie is one of Stanley’s most dedicated Young Leaders, always making sure she can give her time to represent Stanley’s in the best manner possible.
Whether you are looking to go to university, gain practical skills for use in the workplace, or simply further your knowledge, LMC can help you to achieve your full potential.
www.lmc.ac.uk / 01524 66215
Volunteer of the Year – Sponsored by Guy Penn
This year, the Volunteer of the Year category attracted an enormous number of nominations, 26 in all, and it included a couple of people who were nominated in the category multiple times by different nominators!
Our nominees this year were Amy from Morecambe & Heysham Sea Cadets; Emma from the Global Village Café; Ann from Wise Up Workshops CIC; Suhir from the Naba Arabic School; Douglas from Teamkickabout CIC; Simon from North West Air Ambulance; Mark from Stanley’s Community Centre; David from Age UK Lancashire; Agnieszka from the Polish Saturday School; Bil from Lancaster and Morecambe Makers; Chris from SAFE; Vanessa from Morecambe Winter Gardens; Justin from Morecambe Winter Gardens; Sarah from Friends@relationshipsoutandabout; Hannah from Let’s BeFriends; David from Lancaster Men’s Hub; James and Jeanette from Lancaster and Morecambe Youth League; Jennie from Heysham Neighbourhood Council; Emma from 5th Lancaster Brownie Group; Carol from North Lancashire Citizens Advice; Edell from the Neuro Drop In Centre; Dawn from Morecambe Winter Gardens; Hazel from The Cornerstone; Stuart from Morecambe Community Runners; Allison from Lancashire Volunteer Partnership; and Sugran from Lancashire Volunteer Partnership.
PHEW!! If this doesn’t give some indication of the sheer breadth and depth of volunteering going on across Lancaster district then we don’t know what does! An almost impossible task for our independent panel, but they managed it and our Volunteer of the Year for 2023 is Hannah Lodge from Let’s BeFriends.
Hannah has formed successful befriending relationships with at least five beneficiaries of Let’s BeFriends, and also provides updates at their weekly Referral Pathways meetings, promotes their service at Volunteer Recruitment Fairs, attends their IT drop-ins (supporting other volunteers who might struggle with IT / literacy to complete their mandatory online safeguarding training), and runs their monthly Peer Support groups and regular Induction training for new befrienders. As Chair of Let’s BeFriends, Hannah also volunteers her time to sit on the Management Committee.
Robyn Thomas, Stanleys Community Centre – Special Recognition
Our night wasn’t just about celebrating volunteers, we also took the opportunity to recognise a special woman from the West End of Morecambe who has spent the last decade making people’s lives better.
A short video presentation from the people at Stanley’s Community Centre showing their love and appreciation for Robyn Thomas, followed by tears of joy from Robyn’s daughter Olivia as she said a few words about the woman who has not only changed lives, but saved them. Well done Robyn!
Yak Patel, Lancaster District CVS – Special Recognition
Yak Patel has been the Chief Officer of Lancaster District CVS since October 2014, before which he spent many years managing the Marsh Community Centre. Yak is a trained youth and community worker of almost 30 years experience and has a real passion for community and, in particular, seeing young people do well.
They say that everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, but Yak somehow manages to squeeze 30 hours out of each of his, dedicating time and skill to an incredible number of projects and activities right across the district.
This year, Carnforth Rotary Club decided that they wanted to recognise Yak’s work and all of the effort that he puts in for the sake of others by making him a Paul Harris Fellow. Yak was stunned as we’d managed to keep it a complete secret from him!
Certificates of Recognition
At every Volunteer Achievement Awards there is an opportunity for people to request that their chosen volunteer or team receive a certificate to recognise their hard work and dedication. It is a way to say thank you for all that they do and show that they are valued. There were so many of these that we needed to split them into three sections across the night!
Use the toggles below to view the full list of recipients
- The Prop Up Project Team – SAFE
- The Socialease Team – SAFE
- The Lancaster Volunteer Reception Team – North Lancashire Citizen’s Advice
- The Morecambe Volunteer Reception Team – North Lancashire Citizen’s Advice
- The Morecambe Winter Gardens Volunteers
- The Hospice Maintenance and Grounds Volunteers – St John’s Hospice
- The Neuro Drop In Volunteers
- The Let’s BeFriends Volunteers
- Lancaster Music Festival Outdoor Events Volunteer Crew
- The Restoration & Maintenance Team – Morecambe Winter Gardens
- The Volunteers of Bay Volunteers
- Red Rose Recovery Volunteers
- Group/Team Certificates of Recognition
- East Meets West Volunteers
- Morecambe Bay Foodbank Volunteers
- Hug in a Mug Team – CancerCare
- Kendal Coffee Morning Team – CancerCare
- Thrive Allotment Volunteers – CancerCare
- Teamkickabout CIC
- The Talking Newspapers – Galloway’s Society for the Blind
- Lana Abu Hijeh recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with East Meets West
- Chloe Brannon recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Skerton Community Association
- Arthur Bailey recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Morecambe & Heysham Sea Cadets
- Lorraine Wearden recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with The Rainbow Centre
- Joanne Gibson recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Wise Up Workshops CIC
- Sue Leitch recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with CancerCare
- Pam Stagg recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with CancerCare
- Pam Green recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with CancerCare
- Kath Marriott recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with CancerCare
- Julie Alexandra recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with CancerCare
- Janet Smith recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with CancerCare
- Ali Asghar Ojagh recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Global Link
- Abolfazl Adineh recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Global Link
- Alireza Chogani recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Global Link
- Dyar Mohammed recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Global Link
- Fuad Saleh recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Global Link
- Julie Stone recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Galloway’s Society for the Blind
- Joanne Riley recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Galloway’s Society for the Blind
- Margaret Rawlings recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Brew Me Sunshine, Galloway’s Society for the Blind
- Oliver Willis recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Galloway’s Society for the Blind
- Joyce Ross recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with SAFE
- Sarah Crosby recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with SAFE
- Jim Mitchell recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with SAFE
- Karen Wisbach recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with More Music
- Barbara Robinson recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Lancashire Volunteer Partnership
- Rik Marsden recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Lancashire Volunteer Partnership
- Bob Mollart recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Morecambe Bay Hospital Trust
- Marj Slack recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Morecambe Bay Hospital Trust
- Jason Robinson recognising your contribution and commitment as a volunteer with Lancaster City Council
With 44 art-deco bedrooms, many hosting magnificent views over the bay, the Midland Hotel Morecambe offers guests an unforgettable stay.
Support via Lancashire County Council’s local member grant scheme from Councillors Lizzi Collinge, Gina Dowding, Charlie Edwards, Erica Lewis, Margaret Pattinson, and Phillippa Williamson