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Volunteers of the Year 2018

The Volunteer of the Year Awards, sponsored by Doubletree by Hilton and Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill, were presented by the Mayor at the Voluntary Action Islington AGM on 7th November.

Young Volunteer of the Year 16-25:

Aiden Tsen, KEEN London

Aiden is an amazing volunteer who has achieved so much in such a short space of time at KEEN London. The organization provides regular sports and games sessions to children with disabilities, as well as excursions to local attractions and residential weekends away at outdoor activity centres. Aiden has become an integral part of everything KEEN London does. From Aiden’s first KEEN Session on 11th June 2017, he has attended 135 sessions to date committing over 400 hours to volunteering.
Aiden’s support goes beyond these numbers. The children he supports appreciate his empathetic and reasonable approach as well as his competitive spirit. Aiden not only brings so much joy to the children he works with, but he also encourages others to volunteer, setting a great example of what can be achieved. He has supported the organization by attending volunteer meetings and sharing his experience at volunteer fairs. Making his achievement mean so much more than simply turning up and fulfilling the minimum requirement. He is exemplary and deserves to be recognized as such.

Commended: Samika Barclay and Dwein Francis.

Volunteer of the Year 26-60:

Fatima Zahra Habri, Middle Eastern Women and Society Organisation (MEWSO)

Zahra currently lives in Islington with her two young children and works as a Volunteer Advisor for MEWSo. She is a great asset to MEWSo and now helps many vulnerable, mainly Arabic speaking, women in the community to adjust to life in London as well as informing them about their rights in the UK. Zahra is extremely energetic and enthusiastic and has been able to help so many women who don’t have her confidence to face life. However this wasn’t always the case for Zahra. In 2006 Zahra left Morocco, not understanding any English, and came to live in a small village in North West England and later on to London.

While in London Zahra found MEWSo who gave her emotional and practical support. With this support Zahra learnt English and got a Diploma in Health and Social Care as well as getting her Level 4 qualification in Advice and Guidance. Halaleh (Director of MEWSo) saw the passion and potential in Zahra and asked her to do advice work at MEWSo. Zahra has slowly been giving advice to more and more clients and now works as a volunteer helping deprived children of the BAMER women that MEWSo supports. Zahra now has many ideas for her future with her most ambition plan being to set up her own charity to support other families that have experienced domestic abuse.
She is an inspirational woman and has given many hours in volunteer time to helping Islington BAMER women rebuild their lives and recover from domestic violence, fight for their rights as women and mothers, fill and understand complex benefit and housing forms as well as giving other women the confidence to stand up for themselves.

Commended: Tom Tremayne and Kristi Whitelock

Older Volunteer of the Year 60+:

Beverley Richards, The Kevin Richards Foundation Centre

Beverley and Alphonso Richards son was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2010, he was 33 years old with a young family, working at night and studying during the day and weekends.
When this terrible event happened there was no help or advise available to them because Kevin was an adult. Beverley and Alphonso decided that they wouldn’t like to see another family suffer in silence and decided to set up The Kevin Richards Foundation Centre where other bereaved families could meet and share their grief. The Foundation is now in its eighth year and going strong. The group meet every Friday at Lorraine Estate Community Centre, Holloway Road from 11am to 3pm and for a small fee a 3 course meal is served with free tea and coffee for everyone, there are keep fit classes, bingo, dominoes, health & safety talks, presentations by local police, stroke, cancer research groups as well as birthday celebrations and trips to the theatre.  Their users are mainly from BAME community but everyone is welcome. Beverley works tirelessly to meet the needs of everyone apart from running the foundation she also does hospital and home visits and makes daily phone calls just to make sure everyone is ok. Beverley refuses to give up and finds the energy to continue no matter what.

Commended: Katherine Alexander and Peter Walker

Pat Haynes Memorial Trustee of the Year:

Olivia Morton, Artbox

Olivia has been a volunteer at Artbox London for 5 years, a trustee for 3 years and now our Chair for the past year. Despite working full time as a lawyer, Olivia still finds time to go to the studio every Saturday to support people with learning disabilities and autism to create art and to be included in their community. She’s a positive role model both to the artists and other volunteers. She’s kind, caring, fun and always gives time to everyone. As an example, she has given up some evenings to accompany one of the Artbox artists, that needs 2 support workers and his mum to plays in the West End.
In addition, Olivia attends and helps out at all of the exhibitions and events. She organised a talk on mental health at Platform in Islington, inviting along Artbox artists as well as the Museum of Mind and art therapists to give presentations to raise awareness and also support those who have or know someone who has mental health issues. She also organised a photography treasure hunt around the Barbican and Clerkenwell not just as a fun activity for the artists but as a way to bring parents and carers together, to enable the artists to feel more comfortable travelling around an area and to promote mindfulness techniques in an activity, to promote positive mental health.
As a trustee, Olivia has strengthened Artbox board, developed a long term strategy and enabled the organisation to move into its own studio on Caledonian Road.
Finally, Olivia has also taken part in the highest freefall abseil in the UK to raise money for Artbox, which sums up the lengths she goes to to help those who are marginalised and don’t have as many opportunities as others within the borough.
Olivia never expects any thanks or praise for what she does, she just gets on and does it, inspiring so many others in the process. She is passionate about inclusion and it is simply an incredible person show to others what a difference she has made.
Olivia always have time to volunteer or help in their community what shows that even the busiest have time and skills that can be hugely beneficial to their community and small organisations like Artbox.

Commended: John Nicholson.

Volunteering Team of the Year:

Mary’s Youth Club Team, Mary’s Youth ClubSummer July 2017, Mary’s Youth Club initiated monthly volunteering opportunities for young people ages 10-19 with flexibility of hours, the opportunity to engage with a variety of organisations and a group of peers with which to volunteer. Since inception, the young people team have engaged in a variety of volunteering projects, which included making over 300 sandwiches donated to St Stephens The Manna, a drop-in for homeless and marginalised people providing evening meals every Tuesday, making cats and dogs toys for the rescued animals at The Mayhew Animal Home, preparing 45 backpacks filled with essential items for the young service user at The Pilion Trust Crash Pad Service, etc.
In addition to this, the young people team at Mary’s Youth Club have also been able to contribute and support the offering at Mary’s Neighbourhood Centre, such as making over 2,000 cupcakes and cookies during National Thank You Week to say thank you to our community partners and groups. Assisting with our Welcome Desk during the evening when the youth club is open for service, assisting with promotion and leafleting of programme and special events, and co-facilitating sports programme both at the youth club and our partnering schools.
These volunteering opportunities, both monthly and established roles have allowed the young people to make a difference and be active caring citizens, by giving them the tools and support to become engaging, empathetic and caring citizens with a sense of ownership and responsibility. The success of volunteer engagement with this programme can be found in the numbers. Over the past year 74 youth volunteers have taken part in the progamme, working with 7 non-profit organizations. Mary’s Youth Club members has completed 28 volunteer projects in the past year, and counted a whopping 467.50 volunteer hours.
It is the extraordinary level of engagement that Mary’s Youth Club inspires in the next generation of young people that makes their volunteer programme exemplary and a most deserving recipient of the Volunteer Team of the Year Award 2018.

Commended: Restraint Debrief Volunteer Team

Volunteers of the Year 2018 picture gallery to follow up.

To find out more about volunteering in Islington email the Volunteer Centre or visit the Volunteering Section on the website. Phone: 020 7832 5800

You can also drop in at 200A Pentonville Road on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10am and 4pm.

 

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