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Volunteer of the Year Awards Event

This new Awards event celebrates over 10 years of Greenoak's charitable work in Woking Borough, and the incredible volunteers and voluntary groups who provide so much needed support to people in Woking. These awards have contributed over £8,000 to local charities to recognise and help support their valuable services.

There were around 20 online entries for the Awards of 'Woking Volunteer of the Year' and 'Woking Volunteer Team of the Year' and they revealed the great contributions of so many volunteers to local people and to Woking.

Presented by Gill Baker, Chair of Greenoak Community Focus and Cllr Anne Roberts, the 'Oscars' style ceremony was held at WWF's iconic Living Planet Centre on 24 July. Attended by some 70 volunteers, there was loud cheering for the Winners and Runners up as they stepped up to receive their awards.

Woking Volunteer of the Year

The Winner was Anne O'Neill of Arthritis Care, Woking

and runners up were Rowena Vale of The York Road Project and Connor Maher of Woking Community First Responders

Woking Volunteer Team of the Year

The Winner was Woking Street Angels

and runners up were Surrey Peer Education Project and 1st Goldsworth Park Scout Group

The judges were so impressed with one of the Volunteers that Greenoak decided to add a further award.

The Special Young Volunteer of the Year award went to Luke Clark who was exceptional and such a great model for other young people. He received £50 each for himself and the charity, and a cinema voucher for him and his foster brother.

Each charity had set up an exhibition illustrating their work and this proved helpful for peer to peer networking and finding opportunities for mutual assistance.

 

Greenoak Funds works at The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse is an exciting venture which operates as a base for a variety of projects serving the community. The aim is to revive hope and restore dignity through practical support, life-skills training, counselling, and a food bank.

The project was initiated by Woking Vineyard Church who acquired a 4 floor derelict building situated in Woking town centre, with the vision to restore it. The renovation works are being achieved by many volunteers from the community, including members of local rehabilitation groups. Work was about to
stall as extra security was needed to protect workers and the building. Greenoak Housing Association stepped into the breach and provided £2,500 to fund a new set of entry doors. These have replaced the old swing doors.

Project Manager, Mark Richmond, said, "thanks to Greenoak, the new front doors and shutters will provide us with security and draught protection. This is particularly important to Woking's Food bank, due to be launched in the new year, and Jigsaw Clothes and Toys for under Fives as
they plan their outreach programmes. The donation allows us to take another step towards the social enterprise ventures for the 1st and 2nd Floors of our Lighthouse building."

Mark added that donations for the Food bank included a breathtaking 8 tons of food from shoppers at local Tesco and Waitrose supermarkets, West Byfleet Infant and Junior schools and several independent groups ready to provide crisis food supplies to local people in need.

Year 2014 - 2015

Last year we funded 15 charities and local groups including The Lighthouse, Goldsworth Park Rangers, Besom Furniture Project, SureStart, CAB, Surrey Welfare Right and Shopmobility. We also provided over £3,765 for Greenoak's Residents' IT services and £1,275 for the Resident Book Club programme for the children at our housing schemes. We made several smaller donations including Guildford Action, Woking Action for Peace, Shelter and Surrey Save.

Woking ShopMobility gets more mobile with the help of Greenoak

Woking ShopMobility has received a helping hand from Greenoak Community Focus who donated two new Invacare Colibri scooters. Diana Kingdon, CEO of Greenoak said: "We have over 150 retirement flats and 100 other tenants in Woking. We are delighted to support this fantastic scheme which helps people with mobility problems have full access to Woking Centre facilities."

Greenoak's tenants Mr and Mrs Hubbard from Goldsworth Park joined the presentation. Mrs Hubbard who has been involved with Woking ShopMobility since it opened in Woking in 1989 said: "I've been with them from the start, and because of a spinal injury use their facilities at least once a week. Their scooters are very popular and beneficial to everyone that uses them."

The new compact portable equipment are more convenient and are transportable, adding to Shop Mobility's growing fleet of wheelchairs, scooters and power chairs. They allow freedom and independence for people who have short or long term disabilities or illnesses and are unable to get around without assistance.

ShopMobility Chairman, Pat Maguire said: "We are so delighted to accept these two scooters provided by our sponsors Greenoak Community Focus, I'm sure they will give much enjoyment to those who use our facilities!"

Year 2013 - 2014

During 2013, we funded 17 organisations including donations to SureStart, CAB, Surrey Welfare Rights, Woking Mediation, and Guildford Action. We also provided over £5,000 towards Greenoak Residents' Activities and IT services and over £1,050 for the Resident Book Club programme for the children at our housing schemes. There were also several smaller donations to StMary's Church, Horsham District Council, Woking Action for Peace, Woking Community Furniture project, Shelter, Cancer Research, School Home Support, Grandparents Plus and Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

 Year 2012 - 2013

During 2012, Greenoak Community Focus funded over £4k to numerous organisations which included Surrey Welfare Rights, Counsel & Care, Guildford Action, CAB, Surestart and Woking Community Furniture Project, as well as several smaller charities such as Grandparents Plus, Birmingham Hospital, School Home Support and the Bupa Great South Run who have also received donations. Out of this figure, over £2000 has been provided for residents activities, Puffin children's book club and computer access and training with great outcomes.

GCF additionally allocated significant funding towards our research into fuel poverty, with plans to provide training for our staff in the Green Doctor programme. With this initiative we hope to establish which of our residents are affected by soaring energy costs and help them to take action and make changes to improve their liveability and reduce their outgoings. 

Along side this we continue to fund the training of our apprentices and are also planning to set up hardship support in 2013, which would provide one off grants to tenants who fall into financial difficulties and are struggling on welfare benefits or are in need of living essentials.

GCF Gifts IPads to Freemantles School

An excited group of children at Freemantles School, Woking were presented with iPads to help them with communication skills by Gill Baker, Chair of Greenoak Community Focus which supports many community projects in Woking. 

Freemantles School combines a primary and secondary school, and its a special school catering for the needs of pupils with autism. They range from 4 to 19 year, and there are currently 100 male and 25 female students. They are assessed and must be referred by the Council before being able to gain a place at the school.

The school helps pupils to develop their independence, and understand the importance of developing social and interactive life skills to help prepare them for their future lives after leaving school

The head teacher, Mr Justin Price also said that they were raising funds for a horticulture and farm environment within the school, to provide vocational learning opportunities and animal care. They had received donations of rabbits and guinea pigs from local pet stores but needed more funds to support chickens and ducks and larger livestock such as pigs. They also own a tortoise but would like to include an indoor room for spiders, lizards and snakes.

Greenoak donates £5K to Woking YMCA

October 2011

We have recently given £5000 to further Woking YMCA’s exceptional work with helping young people build a future.

In addition to Woking YMCA’s new Grove Court Project, it runs a Children’s Centre, Counselling Service, and Alternative Education Programme. Their many other exciting projects include a recording studio, act as a Gig venue and the centre provides a safe, chilled out environment for young people.

‘Greenoak and Woking YMCA have been partners for many years; and we believe in helping young people in a holistic and co-ordinated approach. Good partnerships like this bring great social lift to the whole of Woking, community and society” said Terry Eckersley, CEO of Woking YMCA. ‘We both believe in excellence and helping people in need.'

Year to March 2011

During the year, Greenoak funded 13 organisations including donations to Woking Community Responders, Woking Hospice, YMCA, Let’s Read, SureStart, CAB, Surrey Welfare Rights, Contact a Family, Woking Mediation, and Woking Community Play.

We also provided over £1000 for our residents’ activities and extended computer access for residents.

We run a Puffin Book Club for the children at our housing schemes providing a choice of reading books for each school holiday as well as supporting Woking’s Let’s Read Scheme which provides books forsecondary school children. Other smaller donations included Counsel and Care, Woking Community Hospital, Multiple Sclerosis and CRISIS.

We have had a number of guest speakers giving talks about local projects and organisations including Sandra Scott from Surestart and Simon Ramm of Woking Community Responders.