CHARITY WORKER OF THE YEAR
This award recognises the amazing contribution of a volunteer or paid worker has shown to the charity sector.
This person is a great ambassador for the charity they dedicate their time to, whether it’s volunteering in a shop, fundraising or operating a helpline there are hundreds of people in Watford giving back on a daily basis.
Emma combines rare qualities of empathy and friendship, with a firm grip or what’s possible, and what’s unrealistic. These qualities have led to her recent promotion as Home-Start’s CEO, a charity providing support to disadvantaged families in our town and beyond. Emma has developed a culture that puts people first: employees, volunteers and clients. She has achieved this by asking questions and listening to answers; negotiating new shop and office leases, screening out unsuitable volunteers with tact and skill, forging strong partnerships as well as this year swimming the Serpentine, which both raised money and profile for Home-Start.
Lynne started Small Acts of Kindness in 2015 with a vision for tackling loneliness and poverty through the power of gift. In her first year she raised enough funds to pack and distribute 50 Warm in Winter gift bags which contained essential items to help older lonely and vulnerable people keep warm, helping to alleviate some of the stress of being cold. Through Lynne’s dedication, enthusiasm and relentless hard work she has established SAOK as a charity creating a hard working committee of volunteers who over the last four years have distributed nearly 16,000 gift bags.
Tom Billington & Mel Boda - WINNER
Recognising a lack of opportunity for adults with learning difficulties to express themselves and represent who they really are Tom and Mel created Electric Umbrella in 2013 running workshops once a week and putting on shows. Today with over 60 members, Electric Umbrella has become a community for their members, extended families, support networks and the hundreds of others who experience the joy of seeing them perform at gigs and events. Their energy and passion is the essence of Electric Umbrella.
Since her retirement in 1996 Margaret has quietly dedicated her time to the community. Twice a week she works in the League of Friends tea room at Watford General Hospital, not only serving refreshments but friendly assistance and empathy. She also co-runs the weekly lunch club at her local church where she cooks and serves meals to the elderly, lonely people who are invited. Margaret is a lady who makes the most of every day and always puts other first, she is a true friend to the community.
John works tirelessly on the night shift at the Sanctuary, New Hope’s crisis accommodation for people experiencing homelessness, often arriving early and staying late to ensure the clients are cared for and to ensure his colleagues always feel supported. John himself had spent 10 years homeless due to alcohol and gambling addictions but will speak frequently of his history to local community groups and also at fundraising events for the New Hope. He is full of heart and tireless in championing others especially the marginalised and has a kind word for everyone.