Selfless volunteers across the Humber region have been recognised in a virtual awards ceremony dedicated to shining a light on their kindness.
Organised by HEY Smile Foundation and partners, the Volunteer Awards 2021 saw more than 110 nominations received, with 47 shortlisted across 13 categories including two new special recognition accolades.
While the awards began three years ago, this is the second consecutive year the event has been held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The awards, hosted on YouTube on October 6th, celebrate the work of individuals and teams who go above and beyond in communities across Hull, the East Riding, North and North East Lincolnshire.
Shaun Dale, from Immingham, who has limited mobility and is unable to speak, attends Grimsby-based group Flourish, which supports local young adults with learning difficulties who are not employed or in full time education.
Inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore, the inspirational 100-year-old man who raised millions of pounds for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden during the pandemic, Shaun walked laps of the Flourish car park with his walking frame.
He took on the challenge three times per week, covering up to 1,500 steps per lap, and raised more than £765 for the Covid wards at Grimsby’s Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital via the Health Tree Foundation, which supports Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust manage its charity funds.
Announcing Shaun as the winner of the Fundraiser Award, event host Darren Lethem said: “Our judges were very impressed with Shaun. He has overcome personal difficulties of his own to raise funds for a fantastic cause, which he identified as needing extra support. He hasn’t let anything get in his way and has shown true determination and passion.”
Thanking his peers, as well as organisers at Flourish and the Health Tree Foundation for his nomination, Shaun said: “I can’t believe I won, as there were so many amazing nominees who deserved to win.
“I’d like to thank everyone who supported me and cheered me on in all weathers, helping me overcome my struggle with my mobility. Without their support, I wouldn’t have had to confidence to do this and I thank everyone who sponsored me.”
All shortlisted entries will receive a trophy to mark their achievements and they also received a bottle of prosecco from Smile to enjoy during the online event, while those under the age of 16 received a chocolate treat.
Sir Chris and Lady Mia O’Donnell were jointly awarded both the Trustee and overall Outstanding Volunteer awards for their work with Emmaus Hull and East Riding, which supports formerly homeless people.
As founder trustees of the charity, they were both hugely influential in its inception and continued development. They also helped to coordinate food parcels during the pandemic, supported the charity and helped those affected by domestic violence and mental health problems.
The judges from event partner Nisa Retail’s Making a Difference Locally (MADL) charity said: “Chris and Mia have provided strategic leadership through a challenging time, demonstrating the governance aspects of trusteeship while supporting the executive team.
“They are a shining example of how important trustees are to charities and prove how they can have a real impact by bringing their skills to the board. Their dedication is incredible and they are inspirational as trustees and volunteers.”
Chris, Chair of Trustees at Emmaus Hull and East Riding, said: “It was unexpected and a real honour to win. The awards are so valuable and it was lovely to see the pride everyone has in volunteering, which is really important for the future.
“We’re so pleased to accepted these awards on behalf of all the trustees and the charity. We’re trying to deal with the growing problem of homelessness and we hope to continue to provide rough sleeper outreach and community facilities for homeless people to enable them to re-engage with society. We have great staff and volunteers who make such a tremendous difference every day.”
Sarah Shepherdson, Communications and Events Manager at the HEY Smile Foundation, said: “Congratulations to all of our wonderful winners and everyone who was shortlisted and nominated.
We received so many incredible nominations and our judges, which included our event partners and sponsors, had very difficult decisions to make.
“It’s fantastic to see how many people continue to volunteer, particularly in light of the challenges the pandemic has brought, and their kindness is truly humbling. We’re already looking forward to next year’s awards and we hope this very special event will be able to take place in person.”
The full list of winners are:
- Connecting Communities Volunteer Award – Sponsored by Mitsubishi Chemical
Winner – Joanne Burrell, City Health Care Partnership (CHCP)
- Environment/Conservation Volunteer Award – Sponsored by Transwaste
Winner – James Cator, Growing St Andrews
- Behind the Scenes Volunteer Award – Sponsored by Umber Creative
Winner – Sheron George-Rix, SASH
Highly Commended – Sarah Longden, Hull Good Deeds Group
- Trustee Award – Sponsored by Smailes Goldie
Winner – Sir Chris and Lady Mia O’Donnell, Emmaus
- Volunteer Team Award – Sponsored by Arco
Winner – Space2BHeard CIC
Highly Commended – Healthwatch East Riding of Yorkshire
- Community Volunteer Award – Sponsored by East Riding of Yorkshire Council
Winner – Neil Begbie, Goole Boxing Club
- Public Service Award – Sponsored by The One Point
Winner – Chris Hanson, Humberside Police
- Sports Volunteer Award – Sponsored by Active Humber
Winner – Ryan Gibbons and Paul Dolan, City of Hull Boxing Club
Highly Commended – Val French, Pocklington Rugby in the Community, Pocklington Tennis Club and Breeze Cycling
- Young Volunteer Award – Sponsored by Hull Youth Support Trust
Winner – Martha Godber, Godber Theatre Foundation
Highly Commended – Kelsey Boulton, Healthwatch North Lincolnshire
- Fundraiser Award – Sponsored by Smile Health
Winner – Shaun Dale, Flourish
- Older Volunteer Award – Sponsored by HEY Smile Foundation
- Special Recognition Awards
Dr John Buttrick MBE, Hull Children’s University
Village Halls Network
- Outstanding Volunteer Award – Sponsored by Nisa Retail’s Making a Difference Locally (MADL)
Sir Chris and Lady Mia O’Donnell, Emmaus
Alongside Nisa Retail’s MADL, East Riding of Yorkshire Council was also a main partner for the event, while the awards were filmed and produced by web design, photography, video and marketing solutions company Portfolio Hull.
Kate Carroll, Nisa Retail’s Head of Charity, said: “We’re proud to support these brilliant awards for the third year, celebrating everything that’s wonderful about our fabulous volunteers across the region.
“Making a Difference Locally sponsored the Outstanding Volunteer Award and Chris and Mia were truly deserving of this accolade for their unwavering dedication to Emmaus.”
You can watch the awards ceremony in full here.