Choose your champions

Help us find community’s star volunteers as part of JVN’s annual celebration


The Jewish Volunteering Network is partnering with the JC to find a winner of its People's Choice Award.

The charity is seeking nominees chosen by JC readers to create a shortlist of three contenders.

The final winner will be selected online by readers, and will receive £500 at a ceremony in September at Finchley United Synagogue in north-west London, to be donated to the volunteering department of their chosen charity.

The award will be one of 13 handed out at the organisation's third annual awards evening.

Leonie Lewis, JVN director, said the People's Choice category had a unique appeal.

"The award is special. All our other awards are fantastic, but they're all supported by charities nominating volunteers.

"Here we'll have more of a mensch, someone who's really making a difference in the volunteering sector, and is recognised by people for making that difference," she said.

Mrs Lewis urged the community to vote for nominees, who she said were vital in every area of the community.

"Without volunteers, our Jewish community wouldn't be successful. Volunteering is the glue of the community; it binds everyone together.

"Everything is run with volunteers. I'm not just talking about people who work with young kids, who work with the elderly or stuff envelopes, I'm talking about people who are chairs and trustees at different charities."

The next recipient will have a tough act to follow. Last year's award went to Scott Saunders, founder of March of the Living UK. He has organised annual Holocaust education trips to Europe.

Mrs Lewis said JVN was looking for "volunteers because they have a sense of commitment, they want to see success for our community.

"And the more people who take part, the more people we can thank for making a difference to people's lives."

She also welcomed the JC's involvement. "We're very excited to be partnering with the JC - it reaches those parts other media outlets don't.

"This is the third awards programme we've done, but this offers a much greater opportunity for the public to nominate people, through the JC. I think we have a wider coverage now, and I hope that's what'll be reflected."

Professor David Latchman, chairman of the Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation, said he was "delighted" that his charity would be sponsoring the event for a second year.

Prof Latchman said: "We believe that volunteers are critical to the success and sustainability of the community and we believe that it is important to reward those volunteers for their continued contribution."

The geneticist added: "Indeed, Vivienne Wohl herself was an active volunteer for many years with the Stepney Kosher Meals on Wheels.

"JVN is the beacon of excellence in volunteering matters and is the organisation with the infrastructure and expertise to provide Jewish volunteers for the community."

When nominating a volunteer, submissions must give evidence to support why they are outstanding volunteers who are inspirational to others and go beyond the normal expectations for a volunteer.

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