Friday, 20 May 2011

KUSU Volunteering Awards 2011 - Gold Awards

Our winners showing off their Gold Awards!
As well as handing out a selection of awards to KUSU Volunteers that have shown exceptional committment in the different areas of volunteering that we offer we also handed out three very special Volunteering England Gold Awards on May 11th

Volunteering England's Gold Award is a national student volunteering award that recognises the Achievement, Dedication and Leadership of Student Volunteers. It's a prestigious mark of excellence in student volunteering. 

This years winners were -

Will with his Gold Award
Will Scott-Barrett

Will was nominated for his dedication to his role as part of the Kingston MET Volunteer Programme which he started in April 2010. Alongside this he has done a number of one-offs so has packed in an impressive amount of volunteering in a relatively short amount of time (he was Best Newcomer at last year's KUSU Volunteering Awards!). 

He has gone beyond his original role as a Front Counter Assistant at Kingston Police Station and taken on additional roles within the MET Volunteer Programme. He's shown endless energy and enthusiasm and helped with volunteer recruiment, induction and buddying and with steering group activities. He frequently puts in nearly 40 hours a month as a MET Volunteer (and he would probably do more if they let him!).

Will has also assisted with C019 (Specialist Firearms Command) unit a couple of times! Nikki Gobey, Volunteer Coordinator at Kingston MET said 'It is a pleasure to have Will on the team and even though he is looking to transfer to C019 permanently, for selfish reasons I am actively encouraging him to remain at Kingston, or at the very least, consider being shared between the two programmes.' 

Christine Daniel 

Christine with her award!
Our second Gold award was given for achievement. Christine has been part of KUSU Volunteering for the past three years and has got involved with an epic amount of things. 

She has been a valuable member of the Swingbridge Boat Project, supporting ex-offenders. She has taken part in several one-offs and she’s run her own project, Project Phoenix, providing information and raising awareness of mental health conditions, suicide and self harm.  

Christine has consistently been an enthusiastic volunteer, putting her heart and a great deal of energy into everything she’s done. She has truly made volunteering a way of life and has been a strong advocate for why it’s a great thing to do. Her volunteering extends beyond KUSU Volunteering and she has recently become a Special Constable with the MET Police, and so impressed her trainers they offered her a job! 

Paul collects his second award!
Paul Matthews

Our final Gold Award winner had a really good night at the Awards coming away with two shiny medals! Paul Matthews so impressed the judging panel that as well as Community Volunteer of the Year, he was awarded a Volunteering England Gold Award for Dedication and Achievement.

This was to acknowledgement not only of the time he gives to the community through his roles in St John Ambulance, but also in acknowledgement for the fact that he demonstrates to the public what student volunteers can do despite all their other commitments. 

In the words of his Duty Officer Joe O’Shea, Paul is someone who demonstrates that students can be people who “put themselves out and go that extra mile to seek out a voluntary role that requires more than just once a week commitment .They put themselves forward to serve their community. From time to time students do get bad press, drinking cider, eating pot noodles and walking home with traffic cones on their heads. However people like Paul (and our other St John Ambulance Volunteers) Gary, Maria & Crystel are ambassadors for students showing that there is more substance to being a student.’

Nicky collects her certificate
Special Commendation went to Marketa Setinova and Nicola Archer who have both put in exceptional effort over several different volunteering roles. Marketa has been a dedicated volunteer at Hersham Hounds and Nicola has got involved in numerous one-off projects and ran her own project putting on a Jazz Tea Party at our local Age Concern Social Centre. 

That rounds up our volunteering awards for this year! I think you'll agree we have a pretty exceptional bunch of students doing great things out and about around Kingston there. Looking forward to plenty of the same next year!

KUSU Volunteering Awards 2011

Last night some of our amazing volunteers came together to celebrate the great work that they’ve got up to this year. There were cupcakes, food, drinks, balloons, awards and of course lovely volunteers! University Pro-Vice Chancellor David Mackintosh kicked things off for us with an opening speech that praised our volunteers for all their hard work. 

Every student who gives up their time on a KUSU Volunteering opportunity gets a certificate commending their efforts (if you couldn’t attend and would like to claim yours just contact the office). We also gave out special awards to those deserving particular recognition in several different categories. Here’s a rundown of who got what –

Contribution to One-Off Projects
Melat and Emma

Winner – Emma Lindner

Over the year Emma has clocked up the most one-off projects of any KUSU Volunteer! She’s been a particular supporter of local children’s Cancer charity Momentum helping them at several fundraisers and building a Santa Grotto at Christmas. She always receives great feedback from anyone she volunteers with and does a great job of telling everyone why volunteering is great.

Special mentions

Melat Tesema – Melat has also been a prolific one-off volunteer this year helping at several events over the year and always getting great feedback.
Crystal Law – Crystal has been a particular supporter of Refugee Action Kingston and is always commended by the staff there.

L-R - Gary, Paul, Derryn, Crystel and Will
Community Volunteer of the Year

Winner – Paul Matthews 

Paul won because of his dedication to St John Ambulance. Above and beyond regular duty Paul is completing training to be a voluntary ambulance crew member and is a member of the Central London Forward Incident Team. The ‘FIT team’ are highly trained first aiders who respond when people are seriously ill in crowd situations like the London Marathon or Notting Hill Carnival. 

Special mentions

Gary Chew, Maria Angeles and Crystel Marcos – Were also noted for their ‘great deal of commitment and dedication’ to St John Ambulance. 
Derryn Lovett – Derryn has been ‘invaluable’ to the running of the Thames Ditton Scout Group giving up a tremendous amount of time, leading groups on day hikes and playing a part at weekly meetings. 
Will Scott-Barrett – Will was commended for his contribution to Kingston MET Police Volunteer Programme. 
Jennifer Truong – Jennifer was noted for the great work that she does with the 3rd Teddington Beavers and the extra responsibilities she’s taken on as part of the group.

Sanaz collecting her award
Schools Volunteer of the Year

Winner - Sanaz Sedigh Zadeh

Sanaz has been a mentor at Tolworth Junion School for two years. Over that time she has worked with several different pupils but this year in particular has offered assistance to a year Six pupil called Martin who speaks very little English. Sanaz communicated with him in his native Swedish, translating work, encouraging him and truly enhancing his experience of school. Unfortunately Sanaz couldn’t make the ceremony due to imminent exams but we’ll be passing on her award to take home and show off!

L-R - Rachael, Harby, Tegan, Sophie and Alison
Project of the Year

Winner – Rachael Penzo (Knit for Babies)

Rachael inherited the long-running Knit for Babies project and has really made it her own demonstrating considerable enthusiasm for her craft and always with a smile. She has recruited and trained many new knitters and together they’ve doubled the number of hats produced this year. All the hats will be delivered to the charity Born Too soon at Kingston Hospital for use in the Special Care Baby Unit at Kingston Hospital over the summer.

Rachael and some of the knitters!
Special mentions

Alison MacDonald, Tegan Arnold and Sophia Peszkowski (MIND Pantomime Project) – The Christmas Pantomime that this group devised with users of the MIND Drop in centre involved everyone either as a performer, audience member or in making props. It was thoroughly enjoyed by those who watched and took part and the group gave a great deal of time to making the project a huge success. 
Harby Bashir (Kingston Young Carers, ICT Project) – Harby planned and ran two great sessions for Kingston Young Carers over the Easter break. They used IT to make wrapping paper and cards and received vital respite time from their responsibilities.   

Best Newcomer

Winner – Paul Laroy

Paul collecting his award
New KUSU Volunteer Paul has really thrown himself into our activities. As well as clocking up many one-off opportunities including the London Marathon and Kingston Winter Night Shelter (where he was commended for filling in at the last minute) he also undertakes ongoing Community Volunteering with the British Red Cross Next Steps Scheme. Paul was unable to attend the ceremony but was recognised in his absence.  

Special mentions

Chris Ovington – Chris has got stuck in with KingstonUniversity Biodiversity Action Group this year and gone as far as qualifying as a Eel Conservation Volunteer. 

That rounds up the wonderful volunteers noted for KUSU Volunteer Awards in all the different areas of volunteering we offer. On the night we also gave out three very special Volunteering England Gold Awards. An update on these will follow soon... 

Thanks so much to everyone that attended. Many more volunteers who put in great work over the year were kept away by impending deadlines but we truly appreciate the contribution of all our volunteers over the year. To check out all the photos from the evening head to our Facebook page.

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