Winners of the 2016 Voluntary Sector Awards were revealed at a ceremony today (Wednesday) which celebrated the work of people who give up time to help their community.
Hosted by WAM Get Involved at the town hall in St Ives Road, the ceremony included individuals, charities and teams who had helped others and deserved recognition.
It featured a guest visit from Trishna Bharadia from Marlow, who has won the MS Society’s Volunteer of the Year award, as well as the Mayor of Windsor of Maidenhead, Cllr Sayonara Luxton.
In her speech, Trishna said: “You have made such an impact in your volunteering that you have made someone believe that you should be recognised. That is a great achievement.”
Martin Lyons, who has volunteered for United Voices for 10 years and sits on the Windsor Mencap committee, won Volunteer of the Year.
He said he was ‘over the moon’ with the award and had not expected to win.
He was nominated by Malcolm Carter, who said: “He has acted as a role model for people with learning disabilities for 10 years.
“He is, in a nutshell, priceless and we appreciate the amazing work he does with us and for the charity.
“But most of all, Martin volunteers with humour, friendship and enthusiasm.
“What a star.”
Kim Perkins, who was nominated by Claire Allison of Family Friends for her imaginative work in helping family crises over the past two-and-a-half years, came second.
Jenny Cooney, nominated by Lindsey Livingstone of ABC to Read, for helping young people with reading, came third.
Alex Norris was awarded Young Volunteer of the Year for helping children with disabilities.
He was nominated by Sharon Bridge, of SportsAble, who said: “What is so special about Alex is his ability to motivate our youngsters as well as our adults.
“I have watched him light up the faces of children with cases of cerebral palsy where they have limited body movement and he always believes that each child can do something.
“He is an exceptional young man and I have been grateful to have him as one of my volunteers who has shown an amazing natural talent for teaching and motivating over the last year.”
The Dash Charity, which provides support for victims of domestic abuse, took Charity of the Year.
Two of the charity’s representatives, Becky Spiller and Olivia Allaway, attended the ceremony.
Becky said: “We were surprised. We were up against so many great charities and groups.
“It can really help us to raise our profile in Windsor and Maidenhead.
“It is just about making a difference.”
Maidenhead and Windsor Citizens Advice were second and the UP Group Windsor, a mental health group, achieved third place.
Volunteer drivers at People to Places won Volunteer Team of the Year, for helping people with mobility issues get around and enjoy time with friends and family.
The BOW Wow Wags fundraising support team, which raises money for vulnerable cats and dogs, came second, and the Family Friends Volunteer Team, which supports families and children aged up to 13, came third.
Young Volunteer Team of the Year went to the Royal Borough’s eight-13 Youth Young Leaders for working weekly to provide safe, fun and educational activities to young people.
Eileen Denny, co-ordinator at WAM Get Involved, said: “I have absolutely loved doing this.
“We see some of the same people each year, or people moving between different charities.
“Everybody is local.”
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The Met Office has issued a yellow alert for Windsor and Maidenhead, Slough and Wokingham, warning that rain moving eastwards across the south of the country may turn to snow in some places.