Volunteer army is recognised by Norwood with awards night


Norwood's 1,500-plus volunteers support the charity through everything from driving minibuses to manning the tills at its shops. They also fundraise and befriend and mentor families needing support.

Now some of the stars of the unpaid army have been honoured at an awards ceremony at the RAF Museum in Hendon.

The unsung heroes prize went to volunteers at the Twins and Rainbow groups at Norwood's Kennedy Leigh Centre in Hendon. Working alongside play specialists, they help to provide a fun environment for children with special educational needs and disabilities and support for families with twins and triplets. "These groups simply could not run without their help," said Elaine Kerr, Norwood's chief executive.

Volunteer champion award winner Mark Pollack, a Norwood trustee and fundraising chair, has nearly 20 years' involvement in the charity, in which time he has undertaken 18 international cycle challenges, two marathons, and one trek to Iceland to raise funds.

The JCoSS Pears Special Resource Provision for pupils with autism was chosen for the community award. The students have participated in activities such as organising resources for the Kennedy Leigh Centre, card making and gardening. A special commendation prize went to Umer Kayani and Nicky Haugh, who attend the special provision and have been volunteering with Norwood for the past year.

Nineteen-year-old fundraiser Hope Baker and volunteers at the Unity recreational service for children and young people with disabilities were joint winners of the young people's prize.

Other award recipients were David Green, Laurence Smith and Jonathan Kramer, who make the round trip from London to Norwood's Berkshire care village, Ravenswood, to lead the residents' Shabbat service. And Leni Kariel, 93, was honoured for outstanding contribution, having volunteered at Norwood's Edgware charity shop for more than 20 years.

There was recognition for the ladies' lunch committee of Sharon Adler, Hilary Brass, Jacqui Gittelmon, Katherine Isaacs, Jo Rosenthal, Julia Sherrard and Rina Steinberg.

Corporate partnership was acknowledged through a presentation to BP, whose employees have volunteered for 1,275 hours at Ravenswood over four years.

Lady Mendelsohn, the charity's joint president, said afterwards that "Norwood is blessed" to have so many devoted volunteers.

"They make a vital contribution to the professional support of our children, adults and families. Every one has a profoundly positive impact on the life of the organisation."

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