Teams and individuals from all over Kent gathered at Hempstead House hotel and spa in Bapchild for the Kent Volunteering Awards on Friday (November 25).
They were joined by VIPs including special guest vice lord lieutenant of Kent Richard Oldfield and Terry Waite, the former Middle East envoy for the archbishop of Canterbury.
Winners were named in different categories for Kent and Medway overall and their separate districts. The categories included health and caring, education, the arts, youth work and the emergency services.
The overall winners were:
- Sports club volunteer of the year: Syd Grinnell of Medway Watersports Trust
- Club and society volunteer team of the year: Caring All Together on Romney Marsh
- Art project volunteer team of the year: Our Work of Art (a partnership comprising Age UK Canterbury, Kent Arts & Wellbeing and Espression Arts CIC)
- Health and caring volunteer of the year: Karen West of Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support Services
- Education volunteer of the year: Russ Ketley of Wentworth Primary School
- Children and youth work volunteer team of the year: Dover Smart Project
- Under-18s volunteer team of the year: Sheppey College
- Emergency Services volunteer team of the year: Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Services
- Employer-assisted volunteer team of the year: Cabot Financial’s Aspinall Foundation volunteer team.
The awards were hosted by the KM Charity Team, whose acting general manager, Karen Brinkman, said: “This event was an absolute honour and privilege to stage.
“All of the winners thoroughly deserved their awards after making truly invaluable contributions to their communities.
“Without people like them, Kent and Medway’s charities would struggle to exist and provide services that so many individuals and communities rely on.
“Our winners make a real difference to the lives of people of all ages, boosting their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, providing support networks, life opportunities and so much more.”
The ceremony was presented by KM Media Group head of multimedia news and kmfm newsreader Nicola Everett and KM Charity Team founder and MetroSTOR communications manager Simon Dolby, with the help of awards sponsors the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Pfizer Research and Development, the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Stronger Kent Communities, the EKC Group and the Kent Community Foundation.
The district winners were:
Ashford and Folkestone
Top club or society volunteer team: Caring All Together on Romney Marsh
Top health and caring services volunteer: Jill Ashbee of Tenterden Social Hub
Top employer-assisted volunteer: Claire Grant of Folkestone College
Top art project volunteer team: Our Work of Art
Top health and caring volunteer: Steve Mitchell of Kent Association for the Blind
Top education volunteer: Ann Whitbourn of Kent Refugee Action Network
Top health and caring volunteer: Karen West of Alzheimer’s Dementia Support Services
Top education volunteer: Russ Ketley of Wentworth Primary School
Deal and Dover
Top children and youth work volunteer team: Dover Smart Project
Top health and caring services volunteer team: Talk it Out
Top transport volunteer team: Dial 2 Drive
Top emergency services volunteer: Ian Burns of the Office of the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner
Top under-18s volunteer: Ellie Breeze of Sobell Lodge care home
Top under-18s team: The Kent County Show Kent Young Farmers Clubs committee
Top sports club volunteer: Syd Grinnell of Medway Watersports Trust
Swale and Sheppey
Top uner-18s volunteer team: Sheppey College
Top club or society volunteer team: The Heritage Hub/Historical Research Group of Sittingbourne
Top children and youth work volunteer team: Young Lives Foundation
Top art project volunteer team: Arts in Ramsgate
Top health and caring services volunteer team: Queen Elizabeth Queen Mary Hospital League of Friends
Top emergency services volunteer team: Thanet Community First Responders
Top emergency services volunteer team: Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Services
Top employer-assisted volunteer team: Cabot Financial’s Aspinall Foundation volunteer team.