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Community Achievement Awards Winners 2023

The awards, which recognise and celebrate the wide-reaching impact of Rotherham’s Voluntary and Community Sector, were presented at a ceremony on Thursday 14th December at The Aesseal New York Stadium.

The awards, organised by Voluntary Action Rotherham on behalf of the Rotherham Together Partnership, showcase the outstanding contribution that the voluntary and community sector make in Rotherham.

The awards are funded by Rotherham Together Partnership and hosted by Voluntary Action Rotherham. This year, guests enjoyed the first full ceremony since Covid 19.  The event was attended by several partner organisations from across Rotherham VCS, and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant Bob Dyson.

The winners for each category were selected by a panel of judges, Sarah Whittle – VAR Chair, Andrew Mosley editor of the Rotherham Advertiser, and Kellie Rodgers of the Rotherham Together Partnership.

Shafiq Hussian, CEO of Voluntary Action Rotherham, said of the awards: “Acknowledging the voluntary and community sector in Rotherham at the Community Achievement Awards is always deeply motivating and humbling. The awards are an evening filled with appreciation for the crucial contribution of both young and older volunteers who play a vital role in shaping Rotherham.

Congratulations to the winners for each category. Every nominee emerges as a winner, as their hard work, unwavering commitment, and dedication contribute significantly to making Rotherham the wonderful place it is.

Young Volunteer | Hannah Wales

Hannah initially attended sibling support aged 13. During this initial group, their contribution was outstanding from the first session—they contributed to every discussion with their experiences, but also supported other children and young people in an empathic manner. Hannah asked to join another group as a young volunteer. Sibling Mental Health Support was set up in 2016 in response to parent and young people’s voices in Rotherham. Sibling support gives them an opportunity to have a voice and share their experiences. Hannah’s commitment to sibs has been outstanding attending 99% of all groups. Hannah’s contribution has been a valuable asset - not only supporting staff in the practical running of the groups but also by contributing their own experience. Hannah continued to offer support during the COVID pandemic and has acquired an apprenticeship as a teaching assistant in a Rotherham primary school.

Finalists: Lucas Axl Slack & Thomas Connelly and Charlie Sharp

Volunteer | Katie Moorhouse

Katie gives up her time to volunteer at the Community Fridge (Learning Community, Dinnington) which supports the most vulnerable residents in the community. It has taken Katie completely out of her comfort zone but she continues to put others and their needs in the forefront of everything that she does. Katie gives time to listen, identify appropriate support needed and just be there for others. She has created a great rapport with the beneficiaries despite her own struggles and the fact that she didn’t speak a word at her first 3 sessions of attending the Hub and is now happy and prepared to deliver the Ladies Mental Health sessions solo and with confidence. Everyone accessing the Hub says how comfortable they feel in doing so and say how at ease they are made to feel and Katie is often the front face of greeting the beneficiaries. She delivers cooking classes with ease and confidence to young people suffering with poor mental health. Katie is a real asset and friendly face for those accessing having overcome her own barriers and challenges to help others.

Finalists: Jacueline DeVeaux & Olawale Olusegun Orgundimu

Project | Heart of Knitting

Heart of Knitting was set up in 2017 by Val Jones, Donreith Key and Sonia Smith. The project first started with a group of ladies sat knitting around a kitchen table. Funding was applied for and this was successful. An advertisement was then placed in a local magazine to invite knitters along and now several groups have now set up in Rotherham and Sheffield. Heart of Knitting was set up to tackle loneliness and isolation. The project knits for local maternity hospitals, families first and Shiloh (supporting homeless people). For Jessops, the knitted items keep the babies’ temperatures up. During the pandemic, they set up a WhatsApp group and Facebook group up so that people could stay in touch. Val is famous for sending out her daily, humorous quotes through these groups. To date, the group have knitted over 29,000 items and set up 9 groups with over 60 knitters. The project is very inclusive and welcomes all abilities.

Finalists: Wentworth Woodhouse & Rotherham Parents and Carers Forum Ltd

Our thanks to New York Stadium Team SVS Media, RTSA, Theory Media Productions, John Marshall - Photographer and Alejandro - Harpist.

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