Volunteers of the Year 2016
The Volunteer of the Year Awards, sponsored by Doubletree by Hilton and Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill, were presented by the Mayor and the Young Mayor at the Voluntary Action Islington AGM.
Young Volunteer of the Year 16-25
Faiza Al Abri, Healthwatch Islington
Faiza has been supporting Healthwatch Islington for a couple of years now, helping to monitor access to interpreting services at GP practices and improving the service design of local care services. A report based on Faiza’s work on GP interpreting services is now being used to put pressure on services to increase accessibility for patients with limited English. Also, Faiza has managed to highlight the needs of service users in social care by delivering a presentation to and leading discussion with commissioners and key local decision-makers.
While giving over 70 hours of her time in the last year and a half, Faiza has also completed her university studies. Her dedication and enthusiasm for volunteering is truly inspirational. Faiza really cares about vulnerable local residents and the shocking difficulties they can have accessing the services they need. Faiza is always fully committed, responsible and well-prepared and will take on anything to help others – even things she has found nerve-wracking – whilst continuing to develop in her role.
Volunteer of the Year 26-60
Chatelle Jeram, Islington Bereavement Service, St. Joseph’s Hospice
Even though Chatelle has only been a volunteer for around a year, she has managed to make a great impact on a bereaved community member she was matched up with. Chatelle was matched to a 50 year old woman, TB, who was grieving and depressed over her mother’s death. Even though this woman had friends and family to support her, she didn’t fully express her feelings, and Chatelle allowed her to do so in a safe space. Chatelle helped TB through a suicidal period, and has been supportive in a creative way, introducing mindfulness practice and relaxation. Besides emotional support, Chatelle has showed support in a practical way, through helping TB in sorting out and disposing of her mother’s belongings. She has helped TB gain confidence, build her self-esteem and think positively about her life.
Chatelle has truly illustrated what an impact a volunteer can have.
‘Thank you so much for this service. Chatelle is very special and I don’t know what I would have done without her.’
Older Volunteer of the Year 60+
Jean Clark, Hillside Clubhouse
Jean has been a volunteer at Hillside for around 6 years. Even though she is quiet and reserved, there is no doubt that she is fully committed and dedicated to her work. Beginning by helping to keep the kitchen spotless and clean, Jean has attended courses and widened her communications with her peers, and today she prepares meals and handle cash. Her behaviour shows much more confidence compared to when she first began volunteering at Hillside, which is brilliant to see.
Pat Haynes Memorial Trustee of the Year
Jean Willson, Centre 404
Jean became involved as a parent with Centre 404 over 40 years ago and has since then been a tireless campaigner for people with learning disabilities, chair of Trustees three times and is serving as the current Chair as well.
On account of Jeans daughters’ multiple disabilities, Jean and another parent set up England’s first supported housing in Islington, which received international attention and helped introduce Supported Living in the UK. Jean also acts as a champion for people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities in Islington on the Partnership Board; sits on the Health and Housing Working Groups; and is a member of government groups working on behalf of people with learning disabilities and their family carers.
Jean has been awarded Islington’s Freedom of the Borough and the OBE for her work with people with learning disabilities.
This year Jean is leading a fundraising campaign in memory of her daughter Victoria and flatmate Lisa who sadly both died two years ago. She has currently raised over £35,000 through local events and been voted the winning pitch at local community initiative Project Soup. Jean is determined to reach £50,000 in the next year – she will happily volunteer her time to achieve this goal.
Volunteering Team of the Year
Centre 404 Gardening Club, Centre 404
Centre 404 runs a weekly garden group for volunteers with learning disabilities. Besides getting to learn about sustainable gardening, it is also very beneficial for volunteers in helping to reduce their social isolation and increase their physical activity.
The volunteers also get to share and develop their skills and enables them and their loved ones to get maximum enjoyment from their outdoor space. In the winter months the volunteers get to work creatively on a volunteer blog, which is beneficial to their mental health and wellbeing. By volunteering with the garden club each individual has been given the chance to form friendships and something to look forward to each week.
Employee of the Year
Macquarie Group team, The Stuart Low Trust
The volunteers have, by running the 6-month Community Resourcing (CoRe) programme, helped the Stuart Low Trust develop a new website and streamline business processes, as well as assisting with design work and much more. As part of the CoRe, SLT took part in a ‘deep dive’ session to explore their needs and frame the work for the 6-month period. The session was led by Rachael Smith, of the Macquarie Group team, who has since joined SLT’s board of Trustees as the Treasurer.
You can also drop in at 200A Pentonville Road on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10am and 4pm.