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We crown our community heroes!

The community turned out in force on Tuesday 3 October to see local volunteers crowned at our glittering Forest Volunteers Awards 2023 celebration at the AccXel Training Centre in Cinderford.



We created the Forest Volunteer Awards to recognise and celebrate the amazing efforts

of local volunteers in the Forest of Dean and earlier this Summer, we asked you to nominate those volunteer heroes who have demonstrated exceptional and outstanding support to the local community over the past 12 months.


We had an amazing response and received hundreds of nominations. Our expert community panel had the tough task of shortlisting the nominations and picking the winners. However,one category - Volunteer of the Year – Peoples’ Champion – was decided by a public vote withalmost 1,400 votes cast.

The winners were crowned at a special evening, held at the stunning conference space at the impressive AccXel Training Centre, which was provided for free to FVAF by local construction company the KW Bell Group, who were the main sponsors of the event.  


Jando Greco, volunteer at St Stephens Church in Cinderford was crowned Volunteer of the Year – the People’s Champion following a public vote. A volunteer of over 12 years his nominator said: “We so appreciate him, he is such a thoughtful, caring person and will do anything for anyone – Jando is so worthy of receiving this award.”


Young volunteers were celebrated with Ebony Powell, volunteer and fundraiser at Forest of Dean Dog Rescue crowned under 16 years old Young Volunteer of the Year for her caring and dedicated commitment caring for the rescue dogs, whilst in the 17 – 25 years old category, Daisy Hoole rewarded for her tireless hard work volunteering at C.A.N.D.I Youth Space.


In the groups section, The George in Newnham was recognised as the New Voluntary Group of the Year for reopening the former café as a vibrant community space. Next up, was Sedbury Space who picked up the Grassroots Voluntary Group award in recognition of the fantastic efforts of the community to create a thriving, inclusive, welcoming hub.


Fire safety education organisation SkillZONE was awarded the Community Organisation award for their responsive work with young people in the Forest, and a team of volunteers from EDF Energy picked up the Business in the Community Award for helping out at Camphill Village Trust in Lydney.


Forest of Dean Dementia Action Alliance (FDDAA) sponsored the launch of a new Inclusion Award, with Cinderford Bowls Club scooping the top spot for making changes to the game and their grounds to make bowls accessible for everyone to enjoy.


Our Volunteering Manager Deb Cook said “So much of what happens within our community is because of people who give their time and energy for free. We think that recognising the amazing efforts of volunteers and organisations is incredibly important which is why we have been so pleased by the reaction of the local people who have supported these awards by nominating and voting.”


Deb added, “It has been an incredible evening and we are so lucky and proud of the strength of the amazing voluntary sector we have in the Forest.”


Master of Ceremony for the Forest Volunteer Awards was Steve Knibbs, BBC Points West reporter who kept the guests entertained with his expert hosting skills. Award winners were announced by guest presenters; Mark Topping( Leader of Forest of Dean District Council), Emma Snell (Go Volunteer Glos), Penny Hulbert (FVAF Chair of Trustees), Jonathan Lane (Cabinet Member for Economy at FODDC), Kirsty Downie (John Lewis Partnership & Waitrose - Monmouth), and Andrea Harman (Ecophon).


The celebration evening was made possible thanks to generous sponsorship for the following local organisations:

  • KW Bell Group and AccXel Training Centre – main sponsors

  • Ecophon

  • Simplicity in Business

  • Steve Gooch Estate Agents

  • Waitrose & Partners (Monmouth Store)



Volunteer of the Year – Peoples’ Champion 


WINNER: Jando Greco – St Stephens Church, Cinderford

Highly Commended: Chris Brain (Broadwell Football Club), Melanie Getgood (Friends of Worcester Walk), Edna Husbands (Lydcare Community Transport), Barbara Jenkins (Over 60’s Group at Berryhill Memorial Hut), Albert Weager (community representative & advocate for better healthcare) and Dave Young (Forest Sensory Services and Samaritans).


New Voluntary Group of the Year 


WINNER: The George, Newnham


Highly Commended: Lydney Army Cadets


Young Volunteer of the Year 16yrs & under 


WINNER: Ebony Powell – Forest of Dean Dog Rescue


Highly Commended: Evie Harris  - community volunteer and Teens in Crisis fundraiser

Young Volunteer of the Year 17 – 25yrs 


WINNER: Daisy Hoole – C.A.N.D.I Youth Space


Highly Commended: Leanne Hendrix – Coleford Youth Club


Grassroots Voluntary Group of the Year

WINNER: Sedbury Space


Highly Commended: Forest Community Shed


Community Organisation of the Year


WINNER: SkillZone


Highly Commended: Forest of Dean District Scouts


Business in the Community Award




Highly Commended: The Rising Sun Community Pub


FoD Dementia Action Alliance Inclusion Award


WINNER: Cinderford Bowls Club


Highly Commended: Artspace Cinderford



For media enquires contact or 01594 822073.

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