Friday, 4 March 2011

Volunteers honoured at Leeds Year of Volunteering awards event

Max Roclawski (left) receiving his volunteering across the generations award

Volunteers from best volunteering group award winners Armley Helping Hands

Volunteers who made a big impression in Leeds during 2010 for their unpaid work to help others have been recognised at an event in the city.

Leeds City Council and Voluntary Action Leeds introduced the volunteering awards scheme as part of the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering, to recognise and celebrate the massive contribution that volunteers make to the city.

The event at Leeds Civic Hall, brought together winning individuals and groups, who were all nominated for giving their time and energy for free to help charitable organisations, improve the lives of vulnerable people and put something back into the community.

Throughout last year, Leeds residents were encouraged to nominate worthy volunteers in 15 different categories. The winners were selected from over 100 nominations by a judging panel, and were invited to celebrate their achievements by the council’s executive member with responsibility for the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering, Councillor Lucinda Yeadon.

Councillor Yeadon said:
“It was an absolute pleasure to be at this event, which was a fantastic celebration of the achievements of some of our volunteers over the past year.

“We have an army of unsung heroes, who give their time and skills for free to help vulnerable people and support communities in Leeds, but their efforts often go unnoticed.

“Throughout last year we celebrated the contribution that volunteers make to our city, and this awards scheme has been the icing on the cake in recognising some of their outstanding achievements. It is wonderful that people felt strongly enough about what these people do to take the time out to nominate them, and I’m delighted that so many of them were able to join us to receive their awards.

“Volunteering is really important and has the potential to engage every citizen, neighbourhood and community whilst also building skills, confidence and independence in each individual that takes part. This is why we have pledged to continue to support volunteering through the 2011 European Year of Volunteering.”

Focus on winners
The volunteering across generations award was to recognise those who share their valuable skills and experiences with people of other generations, who may benefit from their know-how.

The winner, Max Roclawski, has been described as “very humble about his contributions”. Since his retirement in 2001 from the police force, he has shared his experience in woodworking and technical skills for the benefit of other volunteers and staff at Hollybush Conservation Centre. His volunteering has provided him with opportunities to learn many other skills such as hedge laying and dry stone walling, which in turn he has taught other volunteers on training days and out on conservation task days.

A particular strength is his vast knowledge of health and safety and tools maintenance, which he has been very willing to share. He has designed and delivered free tool training courses to the volunteers at the centre, as well as to young people on the NVQ 1 and 2 courses at Hollybush.

Max has also volunteered at fundraising events at Hollybush with a stall demonstrating traditional woodcraft, and he inspires many visitors young and old with his creative designs for bird tables.

Volunteers and staff at Hollybush have described Max as someone you feel you can turn to with a technical problem, and knows that if he says he will be there or will do something it will always be done and done well.

The people who nominated Max were keen to express their thanks saying that he is an inspiration and a rock to them all at Hollybush

Best volunteering group – Armley Helping Hands
Armley Helping Hands is a registered charity, which provides facilities for the advancement of education, recreation and leisure-time activities for older people living in the Armley and Wortley district of Leeds. The aim of the organisation is to develop social welfare and improve the lives of older people, reducing social isolation and promoting independent living.

A vital part of the charity’s development and ability to provide a high level of support and care to our older people over the last fifteen years, is the outstanding commitment from their 21 volunteers. Many of these have served over 10 years voluntary service within the organisation.

Dawn Newsome, a member of staff has said: “Personally I cannot identify one single person within the volunteer team who shows outstanding service, as each individual brings their own personal quality and skills to the organisation.”

This volunteer team provides a minimum of 170 hours per week, each volunteer on average five hours per day. Many of the volunteers partake in activities and service on average two to three times per week.

The full list of winners is as follows:
Volunteering for health and wellbeing - Lynne Smart
Volunteering in every neighbourhood - Yvonne Crowther
Volunteering across the generations - Max Roclawski
Volunteering in literacy and learning - Sally Blyth
Volunteering for leisure, sports, arts and culture - Becky Ford
Volunteering and environment, parks and wildlife - Jim O’Neil
Volunteering for a safer Leeds - Nowells Together Residents Group
Children and young people’s volunteering - Andy Atkinson
Inclusive volunteering - Madeleine McGarrie
Transformational award - Leeds Student Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
Best volunteering group award - Armley Helping Hands
Inspirational award - Margaret Clayton
Commitment award - Kwasi Adoo
Newcomer award - Thomas Mower
Corporate award for individuals - Alister Bould (Pinsent Masons)
Corporate award for groups - Leeds Legal
Philanthropy award - Jimi Heselden


For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578