NEARLY 30 unsung heroes have been celebrated at an awards ceremony promoting the best work done by volunteers in South Gloucestershire.

The Chair’s Community Awards were presented during a ceremony at South Gloucestershire and Stroud (SGS) College’s WISE Campus on Wednesday, March 7.

The annual awards recognise the valuable contribution unpaid volunteers make to life in South Gloucestershire, who give up their time freely to help others and bring the communities together.

South Gloucestershire Council chairman Cllr Ian Blair attended along with the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire Dame Janet Trotter and Vice Lord Lieutenant Robert Bernays, as well as SGS College group chief executive and executive principal Kevin Hamblin, and principal and deputy chief Sara-Jane Watkins.

Throughout the evening award winners from across South Gloucestershire and from a wide variety of backgrounds were presented with their certificates by Cllr Blair and Sara-Jane Watkins.

The final round was the Lord Lieutenant’s Special Award, which saw Dame Janet Trotter and Robert Bernays present £100 to representatives of the Patchway Memory Café, a group of volunteers from the local area who offer a friendly welcome for anyone affected by dementia, or who is worried about their or someone else’s memory.

The evening also saw students from the SGS College level three musical theatre group perform some of their latest productions.

Cllr Blair said: “In my role as chair, I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet people from around the area from all walks of life and these awards are a great way to say thank you to some of the many volunteers who make South Gloucestershire such a great place to live and work.

“Whilst reading through and shortlisting the nominations it was obvious that those put forward for an award are held in high esteem in their local communities.

“The positive impact which their commitment and hard work has on others is extremely uplifting and encouraging. Well done to all the winners, you are an inspiration to us all.”

The complete list of individual winners:

Ann Aplin

Ann has been actively supporting shopmobility for the last 10 years. She helps on a regular basis renting out the wheelchairs and scooters to those who otherwise would not be able to get around, and is also a trustee of the group.

In addition, Ann is involved with community drama in the village of Iron Acton, directing and producing local dramas for the community to enjoy and encouraging local cohesion by welcoming all ages, from 10-80 year olds to enjoy being involved in local productions together.


Alfred Sollars

Alfred leads the committee of the Royal British Legion in Patchway and organises the annual Remembrance Day parade which is attended by hundreds of local residents.

It is led by colour parties from the Legion Branch and representatives of Army, Air Force, Navy, local Cadet Forces, Scouts and Guides. This commemoration is very important for younger members of the community, particularly during the centenary of WW1.

It is striking how many young members of uniformed organisations in Patchway are involved in the remembrance parade and this event is a source of considerable community pride and contributes to community cohesion in the area.


Anthony Ray-Smith

Anthony has continued to attend the Children In Care Council in a voluntary capacity since leaving care four years ago and his impact on the group is phenomenal.

Anthony is able to offer unique support because of his empathy and understanding of being in care and has been extremely honest in sharing his experiences upon leaving care and becoming independent.

Anthony has a real strength in his commitment to ensure everyone is involved and their views are heard. He has an amazing gift for supporting young people with learning difficulties as well as being a person lots of members go to with their problems. He is a really positive role model.


Barbara Perks

Barbara’s commitment to her local community is astounding, for many years she has been volunteering for a number of local groups.

Barbara is a voluntary driver and on the management committee for Green Community Travel based in Yate which provides affordable and accessible travel for those who are unable to use public transport and would otherwise have no other way of getting around.

Barbara was instrumental in setting up bereavement group CASAL (Care and Support after Loss) and arranges day trips for this group as well as being their voluntary driver. She has also volunteered at the Pop in Café in Yate for many years. The wider community has benefitted from her kind nature, generosity and commitment.


Barbara Pyle and Maureen Parsons

Barbara and Maureen volunteer and donate their homemade crafts to raise money for many local activities.

They are highly active in Fundraising Ladies of Warmley, selling homemade knitted garments, cakes and preserves. Barbara and Maureen also volunteer to regularly help at St Barnabas and Siston Church and the Community Centre.

They are fondly referred to as the ‘Gardening Pixies’ since they have taken on the gardening duties at the Community Centre ensuring that the flower beds are weeded and the containers are well stocked with plants.

Maureen and Barbara are also both active member of the Ladies Friendship Group Warmley engaging with all activities of this social group which provides companionship for a large group of women and plays an important role in reducing social isolation. In addition they knit for charities such as the poppy appeal, premature baby units and for the homeless.


Darryl Collins

Darryl has been committed to improving life for people living in Filton for many years and has made a huge impact locally through his voluntary work in a number of roles.

As an active Health Champion, he found that social isolation was an issue in Filton, particularly for older people. He realised that while there were many helpful activities available, the awareness of these activities was low.

He compiled a database and distributed it to key community locations such as libraries and GP practices. Darryl undertakes other voluntary roles, for example chairing the local community engagement forum and more recently as vice chair of the over 50s forum.

He is also involved in Filton Men in Sheds, Filton Community Garden, The Care Forum, Time to Grieve, to name but a few. Darryl is always willing to help from the smallest to the biggest of tasks, from helping put out tables and chairs, and washing up, to official openings of community events.


David Baker

David has been a member of the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group from its inception twelve years ago. He has particularly shone in his role as chairman of the group, which he has approached in an energetic and organised manner.

He is very knowledgeable and always willing to share his experience and expertise with both young and old, either through the group’s workdays, special events and training days or by giving talks to other interested groups.

David was also an active part of the Bradley Stoke Green Gym until ill health forced him to step down but he still sets the programme and supports newcomers. Another group which benefits from David’s local knowledge is the Archaeology and Local History Group where they have made great strides in documenting the early life of Bradley Stoke.


John Smith

John has supported Staple Hill Primary school for over 20 years, giving his time freely and willingly.

He is very active in his capacity as school governor, caring deeply about staff wellbeing and providing a friendly face to listen, advise and pass on information to the school’s leaders.

John also gives two days each week to reading with children who have fallen behind, need extra practice or perhaps do not have the opportunity to read at home. For some children, their time with John is a highlight of the week.

One nine year old pupil said: “He is very generous giving up his time for lots of people in our school. Thank you so much.”


Kimberley Walsh-Young

Kim makes a significant contribution to the community through her work as a Brownie Guider at 4th Thornbury Brownies, a role which she has undertaken for many years, and more recently also taking on the role of Division Commissioner.

Her enthusiasm and support is infectious. The motivation behind everything Kim does in guiding is encouraging the girls to have a good time and to grow as young women.


Martin Summers

Martin has been volunteering as a Duke of Edinburgh Leader for Thornbury Open Award Centre for 21 years. He is an enthusiastic and passionate volunteer.

Martin gives his time every Thursday evening during term time in order to train young people for the expedition section of their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

He also runs training, practice and assessed expeditions on weekends. We have a number of volunteers who give a lot of time and effort as well as Martin.

What distinguishes Martin is the length of time that he has dedicated to helping young people achieve their Awards and the responsibility he takes in being the main supervisor for many trips.


Patricia Webb

Pat has been a representative on the Patient Participation Group at Close Farm Surgery, North Common for three years, co-ordinating the monthly meetings that enable individual patients to be supported and empowered to make changes through education and information sharing.

Pat has previously worked in the health service and she keeps in touch and visits a number of people who she met through her nursing duties.

Many are elderly, have disabilities, and are housebound. She provides a valuable role in reducing social isolation and maintaining health and wellbeing. Nothing is ever too much trouble for Pat.


Richard Gee

Richard volunteers at least four times a week as a driver for Kingswood Community Transport. He is also a member of the board and plays an active role in ensuring KCT continues to provide a high standard of service for its members and that the volunteer drivers are well looked after.

Nothing is too much trouble for Richard and he will always go the extra mile, willingly providing cover for weekend and evening trips and when any of the permanent drivers are on holiday.

He takes this in his stride and members continue to sing his praises saying they feel safe with Richard and that he makes sure his passengers feel at ease and never a burden.


Shiv Sama

Shiv has worked tirelessly to champion the needs of Asian, BME and wider communities in South Gloucestershire. Shiv has built up a well-attended, well established and well thought of network for the Asian community in the area, working closely with SARI, South Gloucestershire Council, the police, CVS South Gloucestershire, Southern Brooks, the Disability Equality Network, the LGBT Network and many other groups.

In addition, he is currently working on a new project to enable the development of a cultural centre for South Gloucestershire and the wider area. Shiv wants to build a centre where all cultures can come together and share common interests and activities to aid community cohesion for now and generations of the future.


Simon Budd

Simon volunteers at a number of groups including the 67th Scout Group where he has been Group Scout leader for many years and also helps with the younger age group Beavers unit. Another long standing commitment for Simon is as Chairman of the Mangotsfield Festival committee.

The festival takes a vast amount of planning and fund raising throughout the year and on the day, Simon can be seen dashing around, making sure everything is running smoothly. As an active leader at the Emersons Green Baptist Church, Simon serves as the Church Secretary.

He also volunteers at a local Food Bank, preparing food parcels and helping people take their bags of food back to their homes. His support for the local community is truly tireless.


Tom Weston

Since the age of 16, Tom has worked at the local youth club in Hawkesbury Upton, providing a safe and friendly place for many young people from the village and the surrounding area to meet.

Tom has volunteered on many youth club fundraisers and is a great supporter of the local youth service. He is also a trained first aider and for one local individual, his quick actions help saved their life.


Tor Goodman

Tor Goodman founded JIGSAW Thornbury in 2013. She trained as a paediatric nurse and is the mother of two young children, both born very prematurely, and both with complex additional needs of no specific diagnosis.

Negotiating the various routes of help available to her family to get the resources and support they needed, Tor recognised that she had a significant amount of knowledge that other parents may struggle to gain, and she wanted to find a way to make this available to them.

Thus JIGSAW was born and continues to provide support, a warm welcome, and inclusive opportunities for children with additional needs and their families.

One parent of a child who uses the service said: “To my son the word JIGSAW doesn’t mean a puzzle. It means somewhere “you fit in”, it means fun holiday activities and a place to borrow special sensory equipment.

“And for me, it is somewhere I can offload and have a listening ear. JIGSAW has also been invaluable at signposting me to appropriate services and our family for social support.”


Trevor Born

Since joining Green Community Travel as a minibus and car driver, Trevor volunteers almost every day when he isn’t working, including evenings and weekends.

He is skilled at the physical side of the role as well, fixing wheelchairs into the vehicles. His dedication enables GCT to accommodate more specialist trips.

Trevor has enabled a lady in an electric wheelchair to attend a concert in Cardiff and transported a young person to classification for the GB Paralympic Team. We receive glowing feedback from passengers who appreciate his calm and organised support.

Trevor’s viewpoint fits into the GCT ethos perfectly; he loves to know that he has helped a person. Trevor has recently widened his volunteering to delivering meals on wheels, giving even more of his time to the local community.


Veronika Caradine

Veronika is a long standing member of the Stoke Gifford Royal British Legion branch, during which time she has taken on considerable voluntary responsibility for providing welfare services.

Veronika regularly visits the elderly or disabled, together with many telephone calls and hospital trips for ex-servicemen, women and their families.

She is dedicating a significant amount of time, money and effort which is far exceeding what could be expected of an individual. Veronika also extends her support to anyone who is lonely or unwell in the community, not just ex-service personnel.

Because of her long standing experience she is able to put people at ease very quickly. Veronika always has a ready smile and can cheer people up very quickly of all ages and backgrounds.