Awarding Birmingham’s most dedicated volunteers! Volunteers’ Week 2016

The annual BVSC Volunteer Awards celebrated the wonderful work of volunteers

Volunteers’ Week is a national celebration of volunteering, recognising the valuable work of volunteers across the country. It continues to be a significant occasion raising awareness of the voluntary sector and the importance of volunteers. The event takes place during the first week of June each year; this year it was extended by 5 days so more people than ever could be involved and finished on 12th June on the Queen’s Patrons lunch.

Volunteers Week is a perfect time to recognise the valuable efforts of volunteers across the city and the BVSC Volunteer Awards is our way of saying  ‘thank you’ and sharing some wonderful stories from volunteers.

Once again this year we pulled out all the stops to make the Volunteer Award Ceremony as special as possible, which was held at Blakesley Hall. This is the third year of the awards ceremony, and continued to be a huge success. The BVSC Volunteer Awards had six categories, to acknowledge the diversity of our city’s volunteers and the breadth of volunteering roles they perform. They included:

Young Volunteer of the Year
BVSC Centenary Volunteer of the Year
Volunteer Team of the Year
Volunteer Leader of the Year
Long-term Volunteer Achievement  Award
50+ Volunteer of the Year.

In April we asked organisations to nominate their volunteers by completing the nomination form on our website under the relevant category and giving details on why they thought their nominee should win the award. When the nominations closed we had received a total of 67, and the quality of the nominations meant it was a difficult job for our external judging panel to shortlist each category to two runners-up and the winner.  Kevin Hubery, Head of Strategic Policy and Leadership Support at Birmingham City Council, and one of this year’s judges commented:

“The judging of the nominated volunteers was very tough, but it really gave us a great insight into the range and quality of voluntary activity that goes on across the City. The value of the time and effort given by people, quietly getting on with work to benefit others, is incredible.”

All of the shortlisted volunteers were invited to the ceremony with those who had nominated to celebrate this occasion together.

The ceremony took place on Tuesday 7 June and it was a beautiful day with the sun shining brightly at Blakesley Hall. There was a fantastic atmosphere amongst all the volunteers and nominators who attended the event, along with the judges and sponsors. The event began with a Laughter Yoga taster session, led by Maggie Thompson, then a welcome reception with guests enjoying afternoon tea and cakes and making the most of the sunshine in the gardens. Shirley Evans who volunteers at Blakesley Hall and BVSC, led tours of the 400 year old building dressed in her hand-made Tudor outfit.


Nikki Tapper presenting the Long-term Volunteer achievement award to Mary Harvey

Following this, the ceremony began, hosted once again by Nikki Tapper, BBC Radio WM Presenter and Outreach Manager. The room was full of so much enthusiasm and excitement as the volunteers eagerly waited to hear if they had won in their category. There were fantastic introductions to those who were shortlisted by the guest speakers and wonderful speeches from volunteers who were presented with their awards either as runner-up or winner. They were all presented with flowers and a framed certificate, with the winners also receiving a lovely glass trophy. It was a very inspiring and heart warming event with guests hearing about the wonderful work that volunteers do in their groups and communities.

Freddie Hipkiss, winner of the BVSC Centenary Volunteer of the Year said the following:

“I felt very privileged receiving the award, and also a little embarrassed. I don’t see what I do as work, I see volunteering as a pleasure and I gain so much from it.  Volunteering gives me purpose and somewhere I belong.  The volunteer awards was a lovely day and I found it all really inspiring and heart warming. It also made me see how important volunteering is at any age, no matter what role, they’re all equal.”


Winner of BVSC Centenary Volunteer of the Year Award, Freddie Hipkiss, cuts the cake.

Tracey O’Brien Programmes Director at BVSC also commented, “BVSC Volunteer Awards are an opportunity to recognise the valuable contribution volunteers make to civic life across Birmingham. This year was exceptionally special, as it is BVSC’s Centenary Year and it provided  the opportunity to celebrate 100 years of active citizenship; our nominees and winners were champions for their communities and neighbourhoods, a true inspiration, long may it last for another 100 years.”

It’s now time to get excited about 2017 – plans are already underway at BVSC. If you didn’t manage to nominate a volunteer for this year’s awards, we encourage you to do so next year, as we will be doing it all over again and hopefully will be able to make the event bigger still. If you would like to sponsor, support, nominate or get involved in other ways, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and always keep an eye out on the BVSC website for more information.


The 2016 Volunteers’ Week awards winners!

And the winners were:

Volunteer Team of the Year:

Runner-up: Birmingham Settlement Volunteer Tutor Team.
Runner- up :  New Heights Warren Farm Community Project Volunteers
Winner:  The Birmingham Teapot Fund, Sifa Fireside.

Young Volunteer of the Year:

Runner-up : Abigail Koash – Computer Mentor & General Assistant at Northfield Community Partnership.
Runner-up :  George Kodiatt, Sport 4 Life UK
Winner: Manpreet Bharj – Email Counsellor for NSPCC ChildLine

Long-term Volunteer Achievement Award:

Runner-up : Robert Weston – Volunteer with Momentum Skills Brain Injury Rehabilitation.
Runner-up : Doreen Loft – Head of Brand & Media with John Taylor Hospice
Winner: Mary Harvey – Volunteer & Resident Board Member with Witton Lodge Community Association.

BVSC Volunteer Leader of the Year:

Runner-up : Anne O leary – Chair person with Cine Cubano
Winner: Ross Bott – Mental Health worker with Mobility Advice Line

Aquarius 50+ Volunteer of the Year:

Runner-up : Les Hobin – volunteer with Aquarius
Runner-up: Sister Rose Sweeney – Clothes Store volunteer with Sifa Fireside
Winner: Margaret Hornsey – Volunteer Counsellor with NSPCC ChildLine

BVSC Centenary Volunteer of the Year:

Runner-up : Robert Leigh – Volunteer Tutor at The Access Project
Runner-up: Matthew Denning – Founder with Matts Mission
Winner: Freddie Hipkiss – Volunteer within Birmingham Substance Misuse Recovery Community .

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