Greenoak’s fourth annual Awards celebrated charitable work in Woking, especially the incredible volunteers who provide so much needed support to people in Woking. Since 2015 these awards alone have contributed over £30,000 to local charities to recognise these fantastic volunteers and the contribution they make to help support their valuable services.
There was great competition with some 25 entries for ‘Woking Volunteer of the Year’ and ‘Woking Young Volunteer of the Year’ made online. They revealed the great support and contribution that thousands of volunteers make to local people in Woking every day.
The Awards were presented on 13 July by Lady Gill Baker, Chair of Greenoak Community Focus and Mr Jonathan Lord, MP for Woking at an ‘Oscars’ style ceremony at WWF’s iconic Living Planet Centre. Each charity which nominated a volunteer was invited to set up stalls to exhibit the huge range of voluntary work in Woking. This also proved helpful for peer to peer networking and finding opportunities for mutual assistance.
Attended by more than 70 volunteers, it was a huge celebration with cheering for the Winners and Runners up as they stepped up to receive their awards.
The Mayor of Woking, Cllr Forster paid tribute to the charitable work of Greenoak and to the army of volunteers in Woking who are the bedrock of the community.
Robert Mills, Board member read out the citations and each award winner addressed the assembly. What was so amazing, was the diversity of the volunteers and their charities, as well as the extraordinary commitment of so many including those who give their time freely behind the scenes.
The winners and runners up received awards of between £2,500 and £500 for their charity plus a personal gift each.
The Winner of the Woking Volunteer of the Year was David Wheeler for Woking Community Furniture Project. The Charity received a prize donation of £2,500.
The Runners up were all fantastic volunteers and each received £500 for their charities. They were:
Joe Buckley of Phoenix Cultural Centre
Joe Mobey and John King of Catalyst Support
Margaret Gower of Citizens Advice Woking
Nirmaya Gurung of Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum
The Winner of the Young Volunteer of the Year Award was Will Siegmund who received of £1,000 for Linkable, and a personal gift voucher.
The Runners up were both very special young volunteers each received gifts as well as £250 awards for their charities:
Lucy Parkinson of RSPCA Surrey Woking & District
Elissa Avory of Girlguiding Woking Town District
A Special Award was also presented at the end of the ceremony to recognise Voluntary Service Achievement. The winner of this award was Liz Pocknell of Woking District Scouts who was an inspirational example of how a volunteer can rise from strength to strength and achieve great success for their organisation.
Greenoak Community Focus also presented a surprise gift to their Chair, Lady Gill Baker, who has been a voluntary member of the Board for over 26 years