Volunteer of the Year 2023
The People's Champion
VOTING OPEN! Time to choose your champion...
We recently asked you to nominate a local volunteer who has gone above and beyond for their community over the past 12 months, and/or has an inspiring story.
We had some cracking nominations, and it was an extremely hard task to narrow it down BUT after much deliberation, our panel of community experts have shortlisted 7 community heroes.
Vote for your favourite by selecting ONE of the following volunteers:
Check out the profiles of the shortlisted nominees below:
Chris Brain Chairman & Coach of Broadwell Youth Football Club For the past 15 years Chris has dedicated a huge amount of his time, energy and passion into grassroots sports. A constant supporter and instrumental in the ongoing success of Broadwell Football Club, Chris has served as the Chairman of the club and more recently 2 and half years as the First Team Manager. The pinnacle of his successful coaching term came last year when Chris led his side to Les James Cup victory. Going out on a high, Chris has just retired and deserves recognition for his dedication and commitment which has provided the opportunity for 100’s of children to play football and helped to create the thriving community football club Broadwell FC has become.
Melanie Getgood Chairperson at Friends of Worcester Walk Melanie has been the inspirational driving force of Friends of Worcester Walk (FoWW). Her steadfast commitment to Worcester Walk has seen it develop into a unique richly diverse habitat in the Forest of Dean. Melainie goes the extra mile to share the experience of being in nature, through events with school groups, volunteers, and local people. With her generous inclusive way, she has built a solid and diverse group of volunteers for FoWW and ensures that everyone is welcome, and their work appreciated. Melanie’s community work doesn’t end there! She is also a co-opted member of the Environmental Committee of Coleford Town Council, helps run a local Morris Dancing group, has organised clean ups in the Coleford Cemetery, King George Playing Field and Bells Field. Melanie works tirelessly for community but is always friendly, approachable, kind and generous with her time and with everyone she meets.
Jando Greco Volunteer helper at St Stephen's Church Cinderford Jando is a fantastic example of the impact volunteering can have for the community, and in growing as a person. For the past twelve years, Jando has supported St Stephen’s Church through his involvement with many projects, services, events and prayer groups. Jando is often found setting up and tidying after events or keeping the church tidy midweek between services. He helps with the Fairtrade Stall and Fairtrade Friday coffee afternoons, and is a leader at Messy Church. Usually the first to put his hand up to help, like many volunteers, much of what Jando does is 'behind the scenes' and unseen. But that doesn't bother him at all, he just loves volunteering his time, feeling part of a community and growing his skills as well as sharing his talents with others. His nominator said that: “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 and would love for him to be recognised for his service!”
Edna Husbands Lydcare Community Transport Co-ordinator at Lydcare An essential member of the team, Edna is responsible for organising Lydcare Community Transport Service. A complex and demanding role, on average Edna deals with over 120 calls from people who request transport and with drivers to arrange journeys. Edna's role requires a massive commitment both in time and energy and requires a high degree of patience and diplomacy dealing with last minute medical appointments, cancellations and reschedules. Thanks to her tireless work over 4,000 journeys are completed every year, helping over 2,700 people get to hospital, medical appointments and social events which due the lack of public transport would be impossible. Lydcare was the only community transport service running through the pandemic and this was down to Edna's determination and commitment to ensure patients, particularly those who usually received home visits, were able to get to important medical appointments. Edna also works as a voluntary driver and is an outstanding volunteer working for the benefit of those in need within the community.
Barbara Jenkins Organiser of the ‘Over Sixties Group’ Berryhill Memorial Institute AKA ‘The Hut’ It would be hard to find a volunteer in the Forest with a longer commitment to volunteering in the community than Barbara! For over 50 years, Barbara has been the lead organiser of the ‘Over Sixties Group’ at the ‘The Hut’ Berryhill Memorial Institute. This popular group has been providing social activities to help combat isolation for the older community for decades. Collecting community memories for a recent memory capsule, created as part of The Hut’s centenary celebrations, revealed that Barbara had been quietly managing this group since 1971. But Barbara’s involvement with The Hut goes even further back to her childhood when her father was resident caretaker, and her mother was involved in organising activities. A wonderful and unique example of generations getting involved with the community to make it a better place, Barbara is an inspiration to us all and shows no sign of slowing down.
Albert Weager Community representative & advocate for better healthcare in FoD A more committed and dedicated community representative than Albert would be hard to find! For over a decade Albert has tirelessly advocated for better health provision in the Forest of Dean. With an incredibly long service on the FoD Health Forum, in 2014 he was appointed chair and has been instrumental in ensuring that everyone is listened to and given the opportunity to ask questions. At a county level, Albert chairs the People and Communities Reference Group for Urgent and Emergency Care and is the community representative on the Urgent and Emergency Care, Patient Flow Clinical Programme Group. Not stopping there, Albert is also represents local people on the Ageing Well Care Programme Board and has been the patient representative on the Blood Transfusion Committee for over ten years. Everything Albert does is as a volunteer and we must congratulate him on his drive and passion.
Dave Young Volunteer driver, cook, outreach at Forest Sensory Services & Samaritans Over the past 2 years Dave has dedicated more and more of his time volunteering and going above and beyond to support other people. Starting as a volunteer driver for Forest Sensory Services (FFS), Dave now volunteers with FSS 3 times a week and even dons his chef hat and cooks up a delicious feast, twice a month, for the service’s clients. A fantastic supporter of all the work that FSS does, Dave plays an active role in outreach sessions to make visually impaired people aware of the support services offered and he also helps with fundraising. Along with his face-to-face volunteering, Dave volunteers with the Samaritans answering the phone a couple of times a week offering emotional support . Plus promoting Samaritans with outreach in the community. His nominator said: “Dave is an inspiring person and an amazing volunteer who does so much for other people.”