Council Chairman celebrates volunteer heroes
Outstanding individuals and organisations who give their time as volunteers were recognised yesterday with New Forest District Council's inaugural Chairman's Volunteers' Awards. Twelve people received awards at the council Chairman's annual Volunteers' Reception, held to thank individuals and groups who give dedicated service to the people and places of the New Forest.
Councillor Goff Beck, the council Chairman, said "I am delighted that we have been able to introduce these awards to recognise these remarkable people for their selfless service in the New Forest. They and all the other volunteers working to make life better for people in the district are our community's heroes and they deserve our thanks."
Nominations were invited from District and Parish councillors and were considered by a judging panel on the basis of: length of volunteer service; funds raised for good causes; numbers of people supported; challenges overcome and level of commitment demonstrated.
Around 45 guests attended the reception which is hosted annually by the council's Chairman. They included individual volunteers and representatives of a range of local organisations which rely on the service of dedicated volunteers.
There were 12 awards overall. Winners were:
The Friends of Ballard Water Meadow (represented by Richard Prime )
Nominated by Cllr Steve Clarke
This group has been in existence for the past 10 years, acting to conserve and improve the natural environment of the water meadow and woodland adjacent to Lake Grove Road, New Milton.
The group work tirelessly in all weathers every Friday and Sunday morning and have transformed the neglected area of meadow which is now successfully grazed each year by cattle. Invasive holly has been removed from the woodland and many people now take pleasure in walking through what was once impassable.
They are a self-funding group raising all the money needed to pay for tools and insurance etc. and are a fine example of what can be done to promote nature and biodiversity within the community.
Nominated by Cllr Alan Alvey
Jan established the Waterside Foodbank in Blackfield in 2008. The foodbank supports people who are in crisis due to problems with benefits and/or low incomes.
The foodbank is manned by 37 volunteers working on a rota under Jan's direction. During the past year over 1900 people, including 850 children, have been issued with over 18 tonnes of food.
Jan organises the support of local churches, communities and businesses, including the four main local supermarkets. She also applies for and obtains support from local and national charities, for example Comic Relief, using her administrative abilities and natural charm.
Solent Dolphin - represented by Peter Wales
Nominated by Cllr Derek Tipp
This charity operates a boat, the M/V Alison Macgregor, for the sole purpose of taking people with disabilities out for free trips to sea on Southampton Water. They cater for up to 12 people of all ages, including permanent wheel-chair users. Trips last two hours and the boat goes out three times a day, seven days a week from May to September. Clearly this charity enriches the lives of many disabled people by giving them an experience that they might not otherwise get.
Nominated by Ann Jarman & Cllr Anna Rostand
Patricia has sold second-hand books for the Lymington Community Association since 1973. She was awarded an MBE in 1995, which she treasures, however she has not been recognised locally. Patricia's dedication to collecting, sorting, pricing, and displaying books at the Centre has given pleasure to thousands of New Forest residents who can browse through the books at leisure, Patricia most often is on hand to offer friendly help and advice to customers and keeps an eye out for special books, subjects or authors they are searching for. To date Patricia has raised over £180,000 for the Association, a remarkable achievement.
Nominated by Cllr Alexis McEvoy
Betty has been running the Blackfield and District Senior Citizens Club for over 16 years. Although she has several helpers, the continuing success of the club is entirely down to the efforts and hard work of Betty herself. Over the years she has organised Christmas lunches and Christmas parties, coach trips with cream teas included, entertainment, prize draws, bingo and much more to ensure the local senior citizens have somewhere friendly to meet and a regular event to look forward to. Without people like Betty, Blackfield would be very much the poorer.
Cllr Valerie James
Nominated by Cllr Fran Carpenter & Hordle Parish Council
(represented by Cllr David Horne)
As well as being a dedicated parish councillor, Val spends many hours of her spare time (in just the first 6 months of this year, over 110 hours) as co-ordinator of the Hordle Environment Group, planting and tending to flower beds, open spaces and 'rough areas' around Hordle in need of beautifying. This time consuming work benefits the whole community, including children and their families walking their route to school. Her commitment to her work on both Hordle Environmental Group and the Parish Council is most impressive.
Cllr Pat Rendell
Nominated by Cllr Fran Carpenter & Hordle Parish Council
(represented by Cllr David Horne)
In addition to being a dedicated parish councillor, Pat co-ordinates and organises the distribution of the Tiptoe Newsletter to 300 residents in the the Tiptoe area of Hordle parish ward. She also runs the Tiptoe Green committee, making sure the green is maintained beautifully for all those who enjoy recreation time there, and the runs the Tiptoe Community Group. If that wasn't enough, she is also a very active, trained Community Speed Watcher, keeping an eye on speeding drivers throughout the parish in Hordle, Tiptoe and Everton.
Nominated by Hordle Parish Council (represented by Cllr David Horne)
Susan has many volunteer hats and is a well-known member of the Hordle community as a result. She is on the committee of the Hordle Community Association and oversaw the transition of the management of the building from the Parish Council to the Association itself. She acts as booking secretary for the hall, key holder to open up the building for community use, and cleaner! All in a voluntary capacity. Susan's organisational skills also help to make the Annual Festival Week and Summer Fayre a success every year. Until recently, Susan also ran the local youth group at Hordle Pavilion to the benefit of the children and young people of Hordle for several years, and campaigned hard through the allotment association to try to get allotments in Hordle. She has also been a member of the Hordle and District Twinning Association for a number of years.
Warren Kent Binns
Nominated by Cllr Beverly Thorne, Cllr Dan Poole & Cllr Alexis McEvoy
Warren was a trustee of New Forest Age Concern for three years and chairman for one year. For 12 years he worked as a volunteer for the Citizens Advice Bureau, specialising in Human Resources & Safety, and representing vulnerable residents in court. He eventually became the first Director of the reformed and merged New Forest CAB. Warren was also a Parish Councillor from 2008 to 2011. Despite suffering from ill health, and being registered blind, this never stopped Warren from being an active member of the community and helping local residents. He has never been officially thanked for his years of service to our community, despite difficulties with his health which might have prevented many others.
Nominated by Bransgore Parish Council
(represented by Cllr Mike Manley, Chairman)
Mike Jukes is the Group Coordinator of the Bransgore, Burley and Sopley Community First Responders who are volunteers trained to attend emergency calls received by the ambulance service and provide care until the south west ambulance service arrives. They cover a 25 square mile area to give basic life care support.
Mike provides the vital link between the Local Responders and the Ambulance Service with a commitment far and above what can normally be expected. His personal dedication ensures a quick response to life threatening emergencies with fully equipped vehicles and trained Responders. A person who truly deserves recognition for all the work he does to ensure the continuity of this vital service.
Nominated by Cllr Neville Penman
Vicky has been a volunteer for the Alzheimer's Society for 9 years, helping out at groups for people with Dementia. A few years ago funding become available for a sports reminiscence group and Vicky volunteered. In October 2015 the funding unfortunately ceased and the group was set to close. Vicky was asked by the group if she could continue it with the willing help of the carers of those who were benefiting from the group, which Vicky gladly agreed to do. Totton and Eling Community Centre agreed to charge a reduced rent, which Vicky was funding herself, to keep the group going.
And so the Totton Dementia Drop in was started in November 2015. They now have up to 26 people attending and the group has grown, even managing to organise a Christmas party, pamper session and topical talks. This group has become a lifeline for the carers, giving them some well-deserved respite once a week.
Linda & Terry Pilgrim - Barton Luncheon Club
Nominated by Cllr Alan O'Sullivan
Barton Luncheon Club is a non-profit making self-supporting voluntary group which has been running for many years providing a freshly cooked hot meal each week for elderly residents. Linda joined the Club in 1999 having moved into the area in May of that year; becoming secretary during 2002 and then the organiser and secretary in 2009. Her role is to organise teams of helpers of which there are many and who make it all possible Currently 80 meals are prepared each week. Linda visits all new members and keeps an eye on existing ones. All members receive birthday cards, a present at Christmas and Easter and get well cards when they cannot attend the Luncheon Club. For many members it is their only outing each week and it is rewarding to see these people enjoying lunch and making new friends.
Terry became the transport organiser in 2006, this entails administering the team of car and mini bus drivers ensuring all members that require transport can come to the lunch. He also took on the role of treasurer in 2009.
This club provides the opportunity for elderly folk in the area to be "looked after" once a week and the team of over 50 volunteers make it happen!