7 June 2017

Over 200 people gathered at Fratton Park on 6 June 2017 to celebrate human nature at its best, as the third Portsmouth Inspiring Volunteer Awards took place. Organised by the Portsmouth Together Partnership and Pompey in the Community, individuals and groups were recognised for bringing light to their local communities

Former Lord Mayor and city councillor, Steven Wylie was Master of Ceremonies, telling the 200-strong crowd: ‘You are wonderful – you are Portsmouth’.  Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Lee Mason opened the ceremony with a minute’s silence for the victims of the Manchester and London attacks.  He praised the dedication of volunteers and spoke of his own efforts driving a minibus for local groups.

One of the highlights of the evening was Chloe Hine, singing her self-penned rap ‘Beat the Bullies’ outlining the need to fight back and embrace love. The crowd even joined in for the chorus. Chloe was 13 when she started her own charity to combat bullying, having suffered this herself. Chloe even penned a poem to close the ceremony, detailing how much volunteers inspired her, and left the stage to a roar of applause.

Head of Volunteering and Social Action, Brian Bracher said: ‘It has been a fantastic evening, with the panel receiving double the nominations from last year.  This ceremony has proved that when a community comes together, great work can be achieved.’

Volunteer of the Year Award went to Scott Key, a veteran of 12 years’ operational service in the infantry and Royal Military Police, Scott came to Veterans Outreach Support (VOS) seeking support to come to terms with his own service experiences.  Having benefited greatly from the assistance he received, Scott uses his experiences to help others in his situation.

Scott will turn his hand to any task required at the monthly Drop-In, and acts as a mentor for service users and other volunteers alike. Scott has natural leadership ability and has demonstrated that he is pivotal to the organisation, representing the charity at a range of external events and acting as an ambassador for the charity’s work.  Scott easily contributes in excess of 200 hours a month to VOS and also gives his time to other projects including St Marys Community Centre, Men’s Sheds and a bicycle upcycling project.

Young Volunteer of the Year Award went to Beth Joslin, Spirit of Rugby

Beth has been a volunteer on the Spirit of Rugby project in Portsmouth since October 2015. The Spirit of Rugby is based on developing volunteers aged 16-24 years and promoting grassroots rugby in the community for young people aged 9-24 years old. Beth has been a great role model for the younger females on the volunteer group and been instrumental to the success of the weekly sessions. Beth was made Head Volunteer Coach in September 2016, and oversees the volunteers delivering skills and games to a range of young people.

Beth also volunteers weekly at the No Limits Disability Club where she leads adapted sports sessions for young people aged 11-18 years old with a range of disabilities including autism, global development delay, cerebral palsy and downs syndrome.

Volunteering Team of the Year Award went to Portsdown Hill Conservation Volunteers

The Portsdown Hill Conservation Volunteers work on Portsdown Hill to manage wildlife habitats and to enable public access and enjoyment of the area.  A wide range of works are undertaken, including: grassland, estate and hedge management, scrub control, livestock checks, wildlife monitoring and litter clearance. The team work all year, in all weathers and are instrumental to keeping Portsdown Hill in good condition. In the last year they put in 6566 hours and it’s this dedication which helps to safeguard the hill’s wildlife for future generations.

Portsmouth Inspiring Volunteer Awards: Category Winners

Arts, Culture and Heritage supported by IBM UK

Derek Nugent  – Portsmouth Library Service

Derek has been volunteering at the library for more than 10 years and currently supports the Visually Impaired Group.  Firstly he was as an advisor on computers and then took on many other tasks. Derek is visually impaired himself due to a brain tumour but he does not let this get in his way.  He is a very willing and cheerful volunteer and nothing is too much trouble for him. Derek is very good at supporting people with their technology issues and helps anyone in the group who is having trouble with their mobile phone or their computer.  Derek also helps to produce the audio version of the council’s magazine, Flagship, and a visually impaired newsletter.

The Mary Rose Museum Volunteers

The Mary Rose Museum volunteers are the core of the organisation. The team is made up of more than 100 individuals, aged 18 to 85, from vastly varied backgrounds and abilities. Each brings a wonderful range of skills and experience.

In late 2015, the Museum undertook a planned partial closure. Throughout the closure, the volunteers ran a successful temporary exhibition and were central to the museum’s ‘Pop-up’ initiative which travelled around the country. The volunteers featured heavily in the successful relaunching of the Museum and in new interpretation within the museum. The end product of this work has now been recognised at a national level.The volunteers also invest a lot of time assisting the visitors with different abilities, from driving a new mobility buggy, to providing assisted tours for visitors with visual impairments. Many visitors consistently indicate that the volunteer team make the visit exceptional. 

Environment and Conservation supported by Portsmouth City Council

Dennis David – Community Orchard, Cornwallis Crescent

Dennis has volunteered for over 2 years to get the Community Orchard planted.  He takes great care of the orchard, nurturing the trees and weeding the flowerbeds. The whole area that was being used as a rubbish dump has now become a lovely community asset with Dennis’ work.

Dennis has plans for more and is looking to create a flower meadow amongst the trees and hopes to involve local schools and the university with his work. Hi is often seen showing the children how to grow things.

Portsdown Hill Conservation Volunteers – Friends of Portsdown Hill

The Portsdown Hill Conservation Volunteers work on Portsdown Hill to manage wildlife habitats and to enable public access and enjoyment of the area.  A wide range of works are undertaken, including: grassland, estate and hedge management, scrub control, livestock checks, wildlife monitoring and litter clearance. The team work all year, in all weathers and are instrumental to keeping Portsdown Hill in good condition. In the last year they put in 6566 hours and it’s this dedication which helps to safeguard the hill’s wildlife for future generations.

Education and Mentoring supported by Irwin Mitchel Solicitors

Chrissy Gauntlett,  The Roberts Centre

The Roberts Centre is a unique child focused charity in Portsmouth offering support and assistance to families in addressing homelessness or dealing with relationship breakdowns. Many of the children in the nursery are from vulnerable families in the local community.

Chrissy often works 1-2-1 with children and will look to especially support children who find mixing with others difficult. She will patiently spend time with them, getting to know them and eventually helping them to join in with others. Chrissy has been one of the regular volunteers in the nursery for the last 4 years and has given over 120 hours of time in the last year alone. Chrissy doesn’t mind how she helps and is often found washing up in the kitchen or tidying after the children’s lunch. She has regularly gone home and done additional tasks, for example making a costume to enable one of the children to join in a particular event when they may not have had an outfit otherwise.

The Girls’ Network Portsmouth Volunteers

This is a team of more than 200 volunteers who give up their time to empower and inspire girls. The team currently mentors 160 girls at 10 schools but over 3 years the volunteers have mentored hundreds more. Their time is divided over a 12-month period into 1-hour slots dedicated to the mentee that they are matched with. These slots are designed so that volunteers cover many different aspects of the girls’ future lives, that schools may not have time to cover. These include CV writing, interview skills, risk taking, positive failure and more. Although the charity provides resources for the mentors, many of them go above and beyond creating their own resources and organising other experiences. For example helping girls attend clubs like cadets, as well as inviting them into their own workplaces to gain experience.

My Community supported by The Southern Co-op

Scott Key – Veterans Outreach Support

Copnor ‘Men in Shed’ – Stacey Community Centre

Copnor ‘Men in Shed’ meet every day at the Stacey Centre, and have done so since its launch nearly two years ago. They are primarily retired men who initially came to the community centre to meet, to chat and to make wooden products for the community, or to sell. They have now become a major part of the building and the community. They have built raised beds, a pond and compost bins at the centre for community groups to use. They have also painted, fixed and mended many community assets. They grow their own produce for everyone at the centre and the local community. They also help with fundraising, fixing, building and just generally being around to welcome people into the centre.

Community Sport supported by ValueYou

Peter Bull – Wheelchair Basketball Club

Every Wednesday evening for 11 years, Pete comes to set up and coach two wheelchair basketball sessions, for beginners and those with intermediate skills.  Young people across Hampshire who have mild/moderate disabilities and additional needs benefit from Pete’s voluntary work. For some young people this is the only chance they get to participate in sport without any judgement or criticism. Pete has great empathy and patience with those with additional needs as he is also a wheelchair user.

Pete has instilled not only wheelchair basketball skills but has helped to support young people in advancing their social skills.  Pete encourages team work, good communication and the chance for young people to really make the sport their own. Lots of young people have started this session with low self-esteem but have soared to great heights within the sport and in their personal lives because of Pete’s help. Three of the young people who attend Pete’s sessions now play competitively, and one has also started talks with Team GB.

(No teams nominated in this category) 

Health and Social Care supported by COLAS

John Payne – Rowans Hospice

John Payne has been a dedicated volunteer since 2005. He carries out a regular 3 hour shift every week assisting the nursing team with serving breakfast and other tasks as required.  He also offers comfort and support to distressed patients and their families and friends.

John has a natural gift in training people and is inspirational to new volunteers.  The positive impact that John makes is the cornerstone on which Rowan’s Hospice base their volunteering.

Aurora Volunteers – Aurora Helpline and Referral Service

The Aurora Helpline and Referral service is a volunteer led service, which runs out of hours support to survivors of domestic abuse. 

Over the last year, the volunteers dealt with in excess of 350 calls and emails.  By contacting clients as quickly as possible after an incident, they are more likely to accept support and engage in safeguarding processes.



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