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Recognition for top volunteers

Unsung heroes of the community were honoured at the inaugural Jewish Volunteering Network awards.

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Unsung heroes of the community were honoured at the inaugural Jewish Volunteering Network awards.

Candidates were nominated by 62 organisations and the winners received their prizes at a ceremony at the London Jewish Cultural Centre.

Drugsline's Crisis Line support group took the team of the year accolade. The international prize went to Rene Cassin's Sarah Oliver and young volunteer awards were won by Camp Simcha's Zalmi Finn and JLGB's Sarah Lasher.

World Jewish Relief's Harry Heber and David Goldman accepted the prize for innovative volunteering for providing prescription spectacles to deprived Jewish communities. "The award is also a tribute to World Jewish Relief," Mr Heber said afterwards. "We are just one facet of their many achievements in providing aid and assistance to those who are in need."

Tzedek's Steve Miller took the inspirational volunteer award, Lottie Frazer - "Wizo's best-loved volunteer" - and Jeffrey Pinnick (All Aboard Shops) were recognised for lifetime achievement and a special prize went to Limmud's Andrew Gilbert. He said the winners were "so proud of what our organisations have achieved and so thankful to the JVN for giving us the opportunity to tell our stories to the wider community".

The £1,000 prizes go back to the nominating charities to help with volunteer training.

Pears Foundation deputy director Amy Philip was one of the awards judges. She said the nominations showed "an enormous level of dedication and commitment among the Jewish volunteering community. Choosing the winners was a long and difficult decision."

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