Winner - Actar Dinata
Actar Dinata has been awarded for her extraordinary enthusiasm and drive and willingness to help others. She has been an active volunteer in many fields, constantly helping and motivating others and raising funds for charity.
She has demonstrated exceptional commitment to help and develop the students of Parmiter’s School. Using her skills in broadcasting and her knowledge of the media, Actar became Dragon’s Challenge Mentor for 2015/16. She was key in motivating the students to raise £12,000 for a local charity helping children and adults with disabilities. Actar gave the students important skills in team-building, running meetings, fund raising and presentation. She did so well that she was awarded a trophy for being the most inspirational dragon.
In addition to these many activities, Actar was actively fund-raising for the Royal Free Hospital, helping them in their research on liver disease. Through the Parmiter’s Parent Association, Actar has organised and managed many fundraising events.
As a member of the Citizen UK activity group, and working with a vast range of charities, she was involved with work on health and housing, youth employment and isolation issues, where she has had regular contact with Members of Parliament.
Actar has also been active in refugee issues, helping to raise awareness amongst younger people. She also helps the refugees themselves with language issues.
She has been effective in helping parents who have lost children through suicide, and has organised fundraising events for support groups and arranged awareness training for teachers, football coaches and health professionals. Actar’s work also extends to overseas; she is involved in school building projects in Africa and Asia. She is passionate in continuing all of her work to help others and to make a difference at home and abroad.
Runner up - Helen Nicell
In 2004 Helen Nicell joined Watford Writers to develop her skills in creative writing. Over the years she became a keen organiser of the group, extending it into the local community, particularly through competitions and many other outreach events. She has arranged visits from established authors to the group and runs workshops in all aspects of writing, be it fictional, factual, prose or poetry. Despite serious illness, Helen has continued all of her activities with great determination. She joined the committee of Watford Area Arts Forum and has organised many competitions in art, writing, photography, crafts, drama and music.
Helen has inspired people of all ages to become involved in the arts. In managing several social media pages, she has enthusiastically promoted the arts in Watford and the surrounding area.
Helen works ceaselessly to promote all arts in Watford and encourages young and old alike to enjoy the subject and to become involved.
Chairmans's Award for Volunteer of the Year
Winner - Ranjit Kaur Ahluwalia
Ranjit Kaur Ahluwalia is awarded for her outstanding efforts and the contribution she provides for the community.
She was the founder of the Panjabi classes in Watford for children of the Sikh Community, which have been operating for over 25 years. Ranjit is a key member of the Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship), running its day to day activities as the Stage Secretary. These complex responsibilities include managing event bookings from families and informing the congregation on Sikh matters in a local, national and worldwide context.
Mrs Ahluwalia is also involved in preparing Langar at the Gurdwara (this is free food, open to all communities) which normally feeds 100 or more people on a weekly basis. She also takes a leading role in managing the day to day organisation of the car park facilities which the Gurdwara provides to employees who work in Watford town centre.
Not only does she help out in the Sikh community, but she also promotes and takes part in Watford community events, such as the Watford Interfaith Association Annual (WIFA) Pilgrimage every November, and the Starlight Walk. She has also taken active steps in international charity appeals by raising awareness and funds for Prab Asra Charity (helping children who are orphans and with disability).
The community is extremely proud to have Mrs Ahluwalia as a local leader, where she always puts others first. She takes on her role with great passion by taking time out to communicate and build an understanding with all ages of the community. She is shining example of a strong woman who not only takes time out for her family but also the community.
Chairman's Award for Volunteer of the Year
Runner up - Ruth Connolly (Chairperson of Watford Woodcraft Folk)
Ruth Connolly has been volunteering for the Watford Woodcraft Folk for 22 years. She has built on the organisation’s strong roots dating back to the 1930s.
She is District Chairperson and also organises activities for young people. With Ruth’s commitment and quiet determination, the group has thrived, with now over 50 children registered. She runs a huge variety of activities, including weekly group nights, weekend camps and week-long summer activities.
Despite severe health challenges, Ruth has worked hard and with great determination, including children of all talents and physical abilities. Ruth provides the safe and caring leadership that all children need.
Charitable Group Award
Winner - Watford Polish Saturday School
The Polish Saturday School was opened in 2010 and has grown as an important part of the Polish community in Watford. The school is staffed by volunteers and helps children of Polish heritage, belonging to many different age groups, learn about the history of Poland and to value its place in the modern world. The school works hard with other Watford communities, recognising the contributions made to the town by its many minorities.
Charitable Business Award
Winner - MK Ginder & Sons
MK Ginder and Sons were formed in 1983. They quickly introduced the concept of supporting charitable organisations and groups in the community. They have always encouraged their staff to volunteer and give their time to charitable events.
Ginders help community organisations in many different ways – they have sponsored many local football teams and currently help the Fullerians to provide rugby at a grass roots level. The company has long worked in partnership with the Watford FC Community Sports and Education Trust, helping them to deliver vital projects in such diverse areas as social inclusion, health and education.
Ginders organise a golf day supported by many local charities, including the Peace Hospice. The company’s donation of raffle and auction prizes to churches, scout groups and fetes has helped local people immeasurably. The British Heart Foundation was helped considerably when Ginders entered a fund-raising team for the London to Brighton Bike Ride.
The funeral of Graham Taylor was handled most sensitively by Ginders, which was highly appreciated by Watford people.
Lewington Price Disability Access Award
Winner - Everett Rovers
Everett Rovers is an inclusive football club for the young, run by Mr Mark Collins. Mark works closely with a range of teams across Hertfordshire, providing an extensive programme of weekly games and regular tournaments.
Not only does Mark undertake the administrative duties for the Club, he runs many of the training sessions personally. Through his leadership, Everett Rovers has established a friendly and encouraging atmosphere to parents and players alike, more than doubling the number of players in the Club.
Mark encourages and supports the young players, many of whom have learning and physical difficulties, with some having isolation issues. His hard work and dedication helps them to progress both physically and in their mental well-being.
Mayor's Sporting Achievement (Group) Award
Winner - Watford Cycle Hub
The Watford Cycle Hub runs bicycle training courses, gives help and advice on servicing and parts for bicycles, and conducts many bike rides in this part of Hertfordshire. Under Kate Jenkins the Watford Cycle Hub has encouraged people of all ages and abilities to take up cycling, ranging from the very experienced to those who have never ridden a bicycle. Of special note is the great work Kate and the Hub have done for women in cycling, delivering a women-only programme, boosting skills, confidence and technical knowledge.
The Hub networks extensively with Hertfordshire County Council, particularly to deliver ‘Bikeability’ during the school holidays. This has considerably helped Watford’s young people to improve their road skills. Partnership working with British Cycling and Watford Borough Council has ensured growing support for the Sky Ride, with 32 guided rides, with varying difficulty levels to cater for all abilities. The Hub has had some great individual success stories, with some women who have attended beginners and confidence courses progressing rapidly to participating in long distance races.
Kate’s personal qualities are instrumental in the success of the Hub – her passion and enthusiasm inspire everybody, and her training, mentoring and networking skills continue to grow the organisation.
Mayor's Sporting Achievement (Individual) Award
Winner - Thomas Lish
At the time of receiving his Audentior Award, Tom Lish was 17 years old and a member of Watford University Technical College (UTC). As a dedicated sportsman, his achievements are formidable, covering an extraordinary variety of successes and awards.
He has been selected to represent England at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas and is ranked the ‘Number 1 Judo Cadet’ in Britain. He has also received a number of national recognition awards from the British Judo Council (BJC) and these include Achievement in Kata 2013, 2014 and 2015. He was also nominated and shortlisted for Squad player of the year 2016. Tom already holds his referee and FPJ1 Coaching Awards (2017) and achieved the Sho Di Ich Personal Award 2017. His many further achievements include; 2 Golds at the BJC Kata Nationals in 2012.In 2014 at the same event he was awarded 2 Golds, and in 2015 a Gold.
Tom has been 5 times BJC Nationals Winner during 2013-2015. He is also a member of the British Judo Association (BJA) England Squad and a member of the BJA England Academy (Elite Talented Athletes). At the British Championships in 2015 and 2016 he was awarded a Bronze. This year (2017) he has also achieved prominence in 16 national and international sporting events, including Gold medals at the Midlands Ranking Event, the Northwest Open Ranking Event, Sportif International, Scottish Open, Northern Ireland Open, and London Open competitions.
Special Achievement Award
Winner - Women's Centre Plus
Watford Women's Centre Plus has been a part of Watford for over 20 years, offering a huge range of services. It welcomes any woman wanting to move out of crisis or to a new phase of life. The centre offers non-judgemental support and up to date information, so women can make choices and acquire skills. Men are also assisted – they are referred to specialist organisations who are trained to meet their needs. WWC also support clients’ close relations to resolve their dilemmas productively, and support their search for better relationships and work opportunities. The centre has a specialist Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator, safeguarding and empowering vulnerable women. It supports women with domestic abuse issues using both one to one and group support sessions.
WWC’s tireless staff and volunteers aim to provide a friendly, welcoming space to encourage any woman to access their services. The centre works hard to enable people to make informed choices and take control over their lives. They also provide support and accurate up-to-date information and a variety of low-cost accredited courses and workshops.
The staff and volunteers at the centre work hard to help people gain the skills they need to enter the workplace or improve their everyday abilities and functioning, and so courses in basic maths and English are readily available. Additionally, basic IT courses are aimed at those who have never used a computer before, or who have very limited IT skills. For men and women preparing for work, the centre can help people take their first steps back employment or to learn a new skill. The Careers Advice Service offers help to clients in writing their CV and to apply for jobs.
Empowerment is at the heart of everything the Watford Women’s Centre does, and to this end they offer a variety of activity groups and workshops. These afford a broad range of subjects, including arts and crafts, jewellery making, life coaching, assertiveness and anger management. WWC also have a course directed at helping students improve their self-esteem and confidence, and another course on Domestic Abuse Awareness.
Special Achievement Award
Runner up - Mohammed Younis
Retired postman, Watford resident Mohammed Younis, has always gone to great lengths to help others. Through his determined efforts he has managed to build a 75-bed hospital in one of the poorest areas of Pakistan. The inspiration for this project came from sad personal experience, when he lost his mother who was unable to obtain treatment. He decided to dedicate his life to campaigning to raise the £1,000,000 necessary to build the hospital. This is a fine example of an ordinary man achieving great things through sheer commitment and force of personality.
In fact, Mr Younis was unable to attend the Audentior Awards as he was in Pakistan attending to the project at the time.