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Greenoakā€™s 2017 Woking Volunteer of the Year Awards

IMG 3761 all winners xx

Greenoak’s 2017 Woking Volunteer of the Year Awards event was held on Thursday 6 July at The WWF Living Planet Centre, Brewery Rd, Woking celebrating some 15 years of Greenoak’s charitable work in Woking Borough. It gave tribute to the incredible volunteers in Woking. Through these awards alone, Greenoak Housing Association and Greenoak Community Focus have contributed some £20,000 to local charities, to recognise and help support their valuable services.

The Mayor of Woking, Cllr Graham Cundy opened the proceedings. There were around 20 online entries for the Award of ‘Woking Volunteer of the Year’. The nominations highlighted the great support and contributions that thousands of volunteers make to people in Woking every day.
There was an additional Award this year, ‘Woking Special Volunteer of the Year for long service’ after seeing some volunteers have provided support for decades well into their 80s.

The awards were presented by Lady Gill Baker, Chair of Greenoak Community Focus and Jonathan Lord, Woking’s MP at an ‘Oscars’ style ceremony at WWF’s iconic Living Planet Centre.

The Mayor, Cllr Cundy said ‘ We are blessed with a vibrant sector of voluntary organisations, charities and faith groups who do so much to support local people, much of it behind the scenes. Society could not get by without them. Many congratulations to the Winners and Runners Up.’ He then thanked Greenoak Community Focus for their charitable work and for hosting the event paying tribute to Greenoak Housing Association for providing affordable housing in the Borough for over 40 years.

Winners and Runners Up are included in the commemorative booklet.  Download it here!

You can also listen to Jon Andrew's Radio Wey feature on the event here!

Woking Volunteer Awards 2016 - WINNERS

This second year Awards event celebrated over 10 years of Greenoak Community Focus’ charitable work, and especially the incredible volunteers who provide so much needed support to people in Woking. These awards alone have contributed over £18,000 to local charities.

It was a great competition with 25 entries for the Awards of ‘Woking Volunteer of the Year’ and ‘Woking Young Volunteer of the Year’ which were made online.

The Awards were presented at an ‘Oscars’ style ceremony at WWF’s iconic Living Planet Centre. Each charity set up an exhibition illustrating their work and this proved helpful for peer to peer networking. Attended by some 70 volunteers, there was loud cheering for the Winners and Runners up as they stepped up to receive their awards.

The Mayor paid tribute to the charitable work of Greenoak and to the army of volunteers in Woking who are the bedrock of the community. Robert Mills, Board Member read out the citations and each recipient addressed the attendees. It was so amazing, to see the diversity of the volunteers and their charities, as well as the extraordinary commitment of so many including those who give their time freely behind the scenes.

The winners and runners up received awards of between £2,500 and £500 for their charity plus a personal gift each.

Woking Volunteer of the Year

The Winner was Armindo Lago who received a cheque for £2,500 for AGE Concern, Woking. He has been a volunteer 'friend' for over 8 years and is always happy to visit clients that Age Concern would otherwise find hard to place, either because of physical or mental conditions. For example, for nearly six years he 'befriended' a man in his 80s with no relatives who had suffered several strokes and was wheelchair bound with little use of his hands and arms. Armindo was very creative and he thought up versions of board games that the two of them could play together. He visited and supported him on his frequent hospital stays and kept the charity informed. Armindo is now a friend to two further clients. He always helps out at Age Concern’s bi-annual events, often arriving with a car full of excited clients he has picked up en route. He has an infectious smile and Age Concern knows they can call on him at any time for help.

The runners up were all extraordinary volunteers and each received £500 for their charities. They were:

Maria Lima of Liaise Women’s Centre
Maria is an artist and a truly inspirational person. She teaches both women and children art to people who attend Liaise Women’s Centre. Maria runs the art classes during the week and weekends. The women are from diverse backgrounds and many have suffered domestic abuse or experienced personal tragedies in their lives.

Jon Andrews of Radio Wey
Jon has two radio shows on Radio Wey, a hospital and community radio station based at Ashford and St Peter's hospital and the surrounding area and on Sundays, Jon has a big request show where he goes around nominated wards at both hospitals and collects requests from hospital patients. He even interviews and records some patients to play on the radio.

Karen Perryer of Surrey Wheels for All
Surrey Wheels for All is part of a national charity called Cycling Projects. Their aim is to provide inclusive cycling in a safe environment for children and adults with special needs. They have a fleet of specialist trikes and companion bikes at the Athletics track in Sheerwater. Carol is a member of their Sunday volunteer team. She has had great success with children with physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy. The trikes help improve muscle tone, coordination and fitness. The charity has many children with autism who attend, so patience and calmness is needed. Carol has both.

Linda Coles of Send Family Link
Linda has volunteered with Send Family Link since 1994 serving refreshments to visitors in the tea bar at the Women’s prison in Send. Send Family Link provides services for families visiting women in custody at HMP Send, with a particular focus on children with a mother in prison. Linda always greets visitors with a smile and is a regular friendly face behind the tea bar. To volunteer for 22 years in a prison is a great achievement.

The Awards were then announced for Woking Young Volunteer of the Year

The Winner was George Dixon of Woking and Sam Beare Hospices
George, aged 18, is an extraordinary and well deserving winner. He was initially himself supported by Tommy D (a bereavement support group for young people aged 12-18) and then became a volunteer. He is a supportive lead member of the other young people attending, and is a charming and charismatic lead member of the group, showing great maturity and empathy especially with the younger members.
George was instrumental in the hospice starting a new group (Tommy D+) aimed supporting those members that have turned 18 and will be ‘mentoring’ this group moving forward. He has now been a lead member of the Tommy D bereavement Group for over two and a half years on a monthly basis and his commitment has been fantastic missing very few sessions. In the group George helps support up to 16 young people in talking about their experiences and ways each member has found to cope with their bereavement and other aspects of their lives.

The runner up was another very special young volunteer, Ben Cheetham of Surrey Wheels for All.
Ben is the youngest member of the team at Surrey Wheels for All, part of a national charity called Cycling Projects. After cycling with the charity, Ben asked if he could continue by volunteering on Sunday afternoons. Lots of the children enjoy cycling with him and he has been very successful in helping those with learning difficulties move onto two wheels. He said that the look of achievement on child's face, and their parents when their child pedals for the first time, is very special.

The Young Volunteers each received gifts as well as awards for their charities of £1,000 for the winner and £500 for the runner up.

Getting more green with Greenoak Housing

  • At the same time as world leaders were meeting for New York's Climate Summit, over 50 delegates met in Woking, for 'Greener homes: People and Energy'. Hosted by Greenoak based in Woking and Sustainable Homes, attendees included representatives of housing providers, local authorities and government agencies, and where better to hold it than at the WWF's iconic Living Planet Centre in Woking.

    Also, launched at the United Nations in Geneva last week, WWF published its Living Planet Report. In it, it warns that the world is struggling to sustain the demands of modern society mostly because of carbon emissions and that the world is living beyond its means.

    Karen Gravestock, a Director of WWF UK' described the concept and construction of the new BREEAM outstanding headquarters only recently completed. Speakers then gave examples of highly sustainable house building including Greenoak's first 'greenhomes' development in Sheerwater, Woking, which achieved ecohomes excellent nearly 10 years ago.

    Diana Kingdon, CEO of Greenoak said: "This event received a great response with delegates coming from as far afield as Norwich and Bristol. We invited Sustainable Homes Ltd to join us as they lead the sustainability agenda in the housing sector, encouraging reduced carbon and energy use. Various other speakers from industry, housing providers and specialists helped challenge us all to play our part in achieving real sustainability in our businesses and communities, and through encouraging people to live more sustainable lives. "

    Sustainable Homes launched its National Energy Study. This Part One report monitored energy use of over 500 homes involving 14 housing associations. It focuses on the participants, their knowledge and understanding of energy and their bills, also which agencies might be best placed to give them advice.

    There followed a demonstration of how housing providers can help tenants reduce their energy consumption and costs through one to one visits, as demonstrated by First Wessex Housing Association and Greenoak's Green Doctor Services. The afternoon ended with a guided tour of WWF's impressive building alongside the canal, where it has achieved a harmonious link to its surroundings and the wildlife around the site.