Celebrating inspirational volunteers

Friday, September 22, 2023

The dedication and kindness of special volunteers from across the city was celebrated at the Portsmouth Inspiring Volunteer Awards last week.

The annual awards ceremony, which returned after a three year break, recognises the incredible contribution of those who give up their time to make the city a better place, expecting nothing in return.

More than 200 people attended the ceremony on Wednesday 13 September at the Victory Suite, Fratton Park, which was organised by Together in Hive Portsmouth and Pompey in the Community.

Bob Hayter, described as an “all-round asset to Portsmouth city” by those who nominated him, was named as Volunteer of the Year thanks to his tireless work for Sustainable Textiles, MS Therapy Centre, the Good Mental Health Co-operative, Share Portsmouth and other organisations.

The Young Volunteer of the Year Award went to Rueben Key, who at 15 has never missed a session in the four years he’s been volunteering for The Stacey Community Association which works with adults with learning disabilities.  Rueben runs the disco every Friday evening and was praised for his kindness, enthusiasm and for teaching club members lots of dance moves.

Rugby Against Cancer won the Community Team Award, while Portsea Food Bank volunteer Mazikeen Smith picked up the Community Individual Award.

Power in People Supporters volunteers Sarah Johnson and Tracy Farr won the Education & Mentoring Team Award, being lauded as “compassionate, empathetic, encouraging and empowering” in their nomination.  The individual award in the category was won by Katie Polden, a mother of four who volunteers as a listening support line volunteer, for the Foodbank, Good Gym, and as Squirrels leader in the Scouts. Her nomination praised her “incredible commitment to doing good and working to improve our local community”.

The volunteers of the Solent MS Therapy Centre picked up the Health & Social Care Team Award for their work operating oxygen session at the centre, in addition to helping out with their many events. Volunteer co-ordinator Jenny Barrett of Compassionately Portsmouth won the individual award for the way in which she deals with requests for help, both from organisations and individuals.

Julie and Derek Boulter, who have been volunteering for Eastney Community Association for over 30 years were presented with the Trustee/ Board Member of the Year Award. Described as “at the heart of the Association”, they were recognised for their part in making Eastney Community Centre the success that it is. 

 Chief Officer of HIVE Portsmouth Lorna Reavley said: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of the city. These awards are just small a way in which we can say thank you to all of the unsung heroes who give up their time to make Portsmouth a better place.”

The awards are supported by a number of local businesses and organisations including Piglets, Irwin Mitchell Solicitors and Portsmouth City Council.

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