Volunteers have been given awards in an emotional celebration hosted by HEY Smile Foundation and partners

A clutch of awards has been handed out to volunteers at a special ceremony organised by HEY Smile Foundation and partners.

The Time2Voluteer Awards 2022 saw around 120 nominations received, with 54 shortlisted across 11 categories, and one overall winner chosen.

Nominees from across Hull, the East Riding of Yorkshire, North and North East Lincolnshire joined over 300 guests for the ceremony at the Bonus Arena in Hull yesterday (Thursday 6 October).

The awards, now in their fourth year, were hosted by Smile in partnership with Nisa Retail’s charity Making a Difference Locally (MADL), East Riding of Yorkshire Council, and Hull CVS.

Volunteers who dedicate time to a long list of causes, including helping people with disabilities, sports clubs, conservation, animal welfare, and social care, raised a glass of fizz to each other and the difference volunteering makes.

Andy Barber, CEO of HEY Smile Foundation, said: “We had scores of nominations, all of them noteworthy. Many nominees have moving stories to tell of how they have made a difference despite facing their own adversity. Others work gruelling schedules to improve lives or raise money. Volunteers make many organisations tick, and we want them to know how important they are. We know that volunteering is a two-way street, and that volunteering helps volunteers find purpose, fulfilment, and skills. But it is important to acknowledge and thank volunteers who give their time freely to help others. We congratulate all our nominees and our winners, and we’d like to say keep up the good work!”

Each of the 11 categories was sponsored and judged by a partner organisation and then the Outstanding winner was selected from the 11 winning entries by Nisa Retail’s charity Making a Difference Locally (MADL).

Having won the trophy for Behind the Scenes volunteer, 77-year-old Graham Drury, who has volunteered as a driver and maintenance man at Hearing Dogs for the Deaf for a decade, was named the overall winner.

Graham Drury

Graham does everything from driving 300 miles a day to building furniture and fixing locks. He dismantles gazebos in a downpour, collects and empties dog poo bags, and even dresses as the charity’s mascot.

Graham, who worked as a tanker driver for forty years, explained that his volunteering career began when he offered to drive a minibus and that he hasn’t looked back.

He said: “I get a lot of satisfaction from what I do and it is hard to take any credit because I love every minute. I don’t see the impact of my work because I just turn up and drive to places or fix things. I am amazed to win and to know what a difference I make. It is a fantastic feeling. I am 77, and I will keep going until I am 99 if I can.”

Jo, who runs the disability sports team Barton Inclusive Football Club’s Hull branch, won Sports Volunteer of the Year.  She established the Hull branch of the team a year ago to enable her adopted son Kasper to play. The 52-year-old from the East Riding said: “I feel truly humbled to receive this award I couldn’t do what I do without all the volunteers around me. I did this because I knew my son needed to play. He has multiple disabilities and giving him a chance has meant that over 50 different children in Hull, who have disabilities, have been able to play sports. It has been worth it. This award is for everyone I work alongside.”

Jo Newby with son Kasper and husband Chris

Jo, who has fostered over ninety children, arrived at the awards with the latest additions to her family, who she is fostering. Jo suffered a broken ankle when the premature babies first arrived, but she managed to hobble across the arena stage in heels, demonstrating her hero status.

The awards ceremony also gave organisers a chance to tell the audience about a new service they have launched to improve volunteering. Time2Volunteer, a collaboration between Smile and Hull CVS, allows volunteers to seek opportunities and training and organisations to advertise volunteer posts and get expert guidance.
To find out more, go to Time2Volunteer

The full list of winners:

Behind the Scenes Volunteer, sponsored by Umber Creative, won by Graham Drury, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

Community Volunteer, sponsored by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, won by Joe Dixon, Howden Rotary Memory Café.

Connecting Communities Volunteer, sponsored by Mitsubishi Chemicals UK, won by Withernsea Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Club admins.

Environmental Volunteer, sponsored by Transwaste won by EMS Limited affordable food project.

Volunteer Fundraiser, sponsored by Reckitt, won by Stacey Sheppard, Sight Support.

Older Volunteer, sponsored by KCOM, Beryl Kelsey, Backcare

Public Service Volunteer, sponsored by City Healthcare Partnership (CHCP), Steven Sorenson, Fareshare, Hull and the Humber

Sports Volunteer, sponsored by Active Humber, Jo Newby, Barton FC Inclusive (Hull).

Volunteer Team, sponsored by Arco, Homestart Hull – Home Visiting Volunteers

Trustee, sponsored by Smailes Goldie, Christine Hornshaw, Platform Provision

Young Volunteer, sponsored by Eltherington, Kia Crawford, Preston Road Women’s Centre.