Friday, 20 May 2011

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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