Volunteers' Week 2019
First and foremost we would like to say thank you to all the volunteers in and around Hedge End, you really are a pillar of support within the community. Although we may not be able to award everyone this year for all the amazing hard work which goes on behind the scenes, our heartfelt gratitude goes out to you all.
This year the Recreation and Amenities Committee had a tough decision to make, but after much deliberation was able to decide on worthy winners for both the Serving the Community Award and the Young Person's Serving the Community Award 2019/20.
Usually, awards are handed out at the Annual Parish Assembly, an event celebrated with local residents, councillors and staff. The annual chair report is followed by the committee reports discussing what has transpired alongside future developments within the community. Once all is said and done, the next hour is dedicated to announcing the awards. As this is unable to happen this year, we wanted to make sure we could still show the winners recognition, and what better week to do this then Volunteers Week held from the 1-7th June every year.
The Serving the Community Award 2019/20 this year was awarded to Debbie Moore.
Debbie has been volunteering at the Salvation Army's church and community centre on Christmas day since 2015. With the help of volunteers such as Debbie, the Salvation Army have been able to provide Christmas meals, with all the trimmings for residents who otherwise would spend Christmas day on their own. Debbie with the kind donation of a bus from One Community collects anywhere between 23-30 people who would otherwise struggle to reach the centre locally. Alongside this Debbie regularly helps out the elderly, shopping for them and assisting the vulnerable during this difficult time.
How long have you been volunteering at the Salvation Army?
I started with the Salvation Army around 4 years ago, all my kids are grown up now and so Christmas’s were not quite the same for me. Being able to give back is so very rewarding, I have been able to enjoy Christmas in a completely different way because we are like one big family at the centre.
What drew you to this organisation in particular?
The manager at Hamble Woods Botley at the time mentioned about Volunteering on Christmas day as they needed a helping hand, so I thought I would give it a go, and I haven’t looked back.
How would you describe the volunteers you work with?
Lovely, all ages and backgrounds come together for the cause. I pick up local residents in the morning with the One Community bus from around 8.30am, as some like to attend mass first, but I keep collecting residents right through to midday. We all help out in the kitchen at the Salvation Army centre, and have sing songs throughout the day, in the afternoon we dig into the washing up and the volunteers will drop home local residents and I will drop home those who live slightly further afield in the bus.
What do you find most rewarding about serving your community?
Helping people gets in your blood, it's humbling and without One Community it would not be possible to do what I do. We have so much to be thankful for because of our elderly generation, it is important we look after them.
Do you volunteer anywhere else?
I am currently using the One Community bus to deliver food for the vulnerable locally at the moment. I also take part in the over 60’s Christmas lunch in December at the 2000 Centre, which is also a wonderful experience for all involved. I bake cakes and help out in the kitchen.
What would you say to those who want to volunteer but are not sure where to start?
Go for it! You will not regret it, it’s so very rewarding. It’s still possible to volunteer and work full time, as I do. One Community have many volunteer roles available which you can find through their website.
The Young Person's Serving the Community Award 2019/20 this year was awarded to Brooklynne Gumma.
Brooklynne was selected as Carnival Queen in 2019 and has gone above and beyond within this role to be involved with a number of community events as well as supporting the carnival princesses. Beyond attending local carnivals, senior citizen lunches and the Christmas lights switch on, Brooklynne is a much-valued volunteer youth worker. Assisting at the Junior Youth Club and an active member of the Friday Night Project, which caters for young people with special needs. Baking cakes is a keen interest, recently raising £38 at the Hedge End Town Council's 125th Anniversary event for youth club funds.