Geoff Woodford is one of life’s treasures #dva15 @DudleyCVS #keepdudleybostin

Community Action Award 2015

Main Award – Individual – Geoff Woodford

[Midlands Air Ambulance]

KGP_1456“Geoff Woodford is one of life’s treasures and Midlands Air Ambulance Charity is extremely lucky to have his unfaltering voluntary support. 

Geoff has volunteered for the charity for over 15 years, and in that time has made an incredible difference to the work of the service. He has been responsible for raising over £146,000, equating to 58 life-saving air ambulance missions. While several people owe their lives to the flight paramedics and doctors who work with the Midlands Air Ambulance, without Geoff’s dedication to raising funds for the charity, these airlifts just wouldn’t have taken place. The impact he has made on the local community is definitely deserving of a Dudley Volunteering Award”

Why not watch the nomination film to see just why this gentleman was chosen to receive this year’s Community Action Award for an individual.  Just click on the link to watch the film. 

This team of dedicated volunteers ensures the distribution of much needed food @DudleyCVS #keepdudleybostin

Community Action Award 2015

Main Award – Group – Storehouse Volunteers

[who volunteer at Black Country Foodbank’s ‘Storehouse’ in Brierley Hill]


Here’s Kelvin Bates and Robert Anderson from the Storehouse Volunteer Team proudly receiving their award.

“This team of dedicated volunteers ensures the distribution of much needed food to people in crisis across the Black Country. Our family of volunteers do every task from collection, dating and moving tons of food, to answering the phone and administration.

 Last year they sorted and delivered more than 100 tonnes of food, which helped to provide food to over 23,000 people over the year.

 Some of our volunteers have learning difficulties and/or are vulnerable adults, but they still choose to contribute, in sometimes cold conditions, by doing both physically demanding and laborious tasks in a tireless way. Black Country Food Bank would not exist without them!”

Their nominator clearly felt they were extra special and we do too! Why not watch the nomination film to find out just why! Just click on the link and follow the link to watch. 


It was Nicky who came to our rescue @DudleyCVS #keepdudleybostin

Community Action Award 2015

Highly Commended – Nicky Wells 

[Autism Black Country Social Club]

KGP_1449“When Autism Black Country Social Club was in danger of closing, it was Nicky Wells who came to our rescue. 

Our social club was created to give members opportunities to take part in fun group activities and make new friends. Nicky works extremely hard for our members, raising essential funds and organising events, such as a trip to Longleat Safari Park, a canal boat trip, quiz and pub nights, and Tenpin Bowling. All of which help the members improve their social skills and boost their confidence. “

Nicky is clearly an amazing lady who’s made a commitment to helping the members of her group enjoy great activities to make new friends and well deserving of this special award.

He’s a real hero @exboozehound @the_hopecentre @DudleyCVS #keepdudleybostin

Wellbeing Award 2015

Main Award – Joint – Individual – Jon Mansell

[Ex Boozehounds]

KGP_1469“Jon runs a drop-in support group called ‘Ex Boozehounds’ once a week, that supports men experiencing depression, or substance misuse and addictions, at The Hope Centre in Halesowen.  He also supports people with his blog and has hundreds of followers. Jon has a wealth of knowledge and experience, which he passes onto others, helping anyone in need, including families and friends of those who are experiencing mental health issues. There is nothing like this in Dudley and Jon is providing a free support service, volunteering to assist anyone in need.

Jon’s honesty has helped so many who battle with their thoughts. One man who attends the support group said: “I was scared to take my medication, I had bad thoughts that medication would harm me. After speaking to Jon and with his support I am now taking my meds, and I am looking forward.  I still have fear but the group is helping. As Jon says one step at a time.

James a young man aged 22 who has been depressed and suicidal for the past ten years said: “Jon has helped me by being real and honest…I don’t have to be scared to talk about my feelings, I can be real and I am believed. It’s so good, such a good feeling, it’s the first time in years I have attended a group run by someone experiencing what I’m going through, and understanding me.  It is helping me in building my confidence. Jon has made this happen for me and many like me, he’s a real hero! ”

People like Shabena often go unnoticed as they just go about their day helping everyone else @DudleyCVS #keepdudleybostin

Wellbeing Award 2015

Highly Commended – Shabena Abass

[Dudley Advocacy]

KGP_1464“Shabena started with us with little experience of working with people with a learning disability, but she had a genuine desire to help people. The reason I am nominating Shabena is her relentless desire to help the community via volunteering.  She not only spends time volunteering at our charity, she also supports  Guide Dogs for the Blind as a fundraiser, Help the Heroes, Dudley Council as a befriender and also as a volunteer reader at the Summer Reading Challenge. 

We are starting an outreach service where volunteers will spend time at locations across the Borough. Shabena was the first to volunteer as usual.  We hold a Christmas Day meal for local people, who may be alone at what can be a really depressing period. Shabena volunteered her time, supporting over 30 people to enjoy some food and company.  People like Shabena often go unnoticed as they just go about their day helping everyone else.  Shabena deserves recognition for her community volunteering.”

These incredible volunteers support people with mental health and/or learning disabilities, to regain practical skills @DudleyCVS #keepdudleybostin

Wellbeing Award 2015

Main Award – Joint – Group – Woodside Crafts

KGP_1473Woodside Crafts’ members support people with mental health and/or learning disabilities, to regain practical skills and important social skills through woodwork, flower arranging, arts and crafts. This can enable individuals who have been unwell for many years, boost self-confidence, self-belief, self-worth and a sense of purpose in life, and in fact help with their recovery from mental health issues. It also gives them confidence and the motivation to regain, or learn employment skills, and indeed pursue a career again.

Volunteers make this happen!

 Woodside Crafts supports young unemployed people with work experience. They also undertake outreach work within the local community, to dispel myths about mental health and promote mental wellbeing.

I have great pride in these volunteers and they are a vital and intregral part of our team @DudleyCVS #keepdudleybostin

Children & Families Award 2015

Main Award – The What? Centre Volunteers

KGP_1492“Most of the people nominated are volunteer counsellors.  They are all qualified and experienced counsellors, who provide counselling for young people aged 13-25 many of whom are troubled, may be suicidal, have depression, be self-harming, have eating disorders or low self-esteem.

The What? Centre volunteering team provides hours of counselling per week for young people, listening to young people’s difficult stories, and supporting them through the exploration of their difficulties and sadness.  Their role is to help them find a way through their troubles, seek new coping skills and be better able to deal with the problems they face. They are all professional counsellors who give freely of their time and expertise. 

 I have great pride in these volunteers and they are a vital and intregral part of our team, each one bringing their own unique approach.  They, alongside the staff team, provide counselling for 110 young people each week, around 5,500 sessions per annum.  Their counselling has helped to grow the profile of our project greatly, with some 120 young people on the waiting list.  They are  providing counselling for more and more young people.  They give their time during the day,  in the evening and on Saturdays.”

If you’d like to watch their nomination film to see what makes them so special, please click on this link: 

These volunteers are angels! @Itschaos @DudleyCVS #keepdudleybostin

Children & Families Award 2015

Highly Commended Award – CHAOS! Club

KGP_1488WeLoveCarers – CHAOS! Club runs two summer play schemes for children with multiple and severe disabilities called Complete CHAOS!, plus a play scheme for children, who have autism and ADHD, and their siblings called Holiday CHAOS! Both schemes run for 3 weeks during the summer (14 days of play) for 5 hours each day. This is an essential provision for carers and unique in the fact that we provide one-to-one provision for the children. We have supported 73 families this summer and could not have done this without the fantastic volunteers we have each year.

 These volunteers are absolute angels!

 Some volunteers give up paid work, or take annual leave to support this project. Our volunteers come from all walks of life. There are students, professionals, parents and carers, all working together because they are passionate about supporting carers, and giving children with additional needs and disabilities, a summer full of fun and activities! Volunteers support their designated child for the full 5 hours. They eat with them, play and interact with them, support them during activities, and ensure they are safe and cared for.

I greatly admire Martin’s drive, commitment, vision and passion @DudleyCVS #keepdudleybostin

Arts and Heritage Award 2015

Main Award – Martin Jones

[Dudley Archives]

 KGP_1486“I greatly admire Martin’s drive, commitment, vision and the passion that he puts into his projects. Martin Jones has been involved with Dudley Archives for about 5 years. A passionate local history enthusiast, his recent projects include: Gathering information and photographs from local people about the Limes, Sedgley (residence of famous Black Country chain maker, Eliza Tinsley) for an interpretation panel and Sedgley’s diamond 60, which involved collecting 60 stories of everyday life in Sedgley, since 1952.

All the staff at the Archives Service greatly appreciate his hard work, and dedication to exploring the history of the area. His enthusiasm for heritage and history inspires our users to learn more about their past, and use the fantastic resources we have.

In 2012 Martin and a group of UK Old School colleagues set up Hip Hop Heritage as an unincorporated charitable association, to conserve and promote the legacy of the early UK Hip Hop pioneers. Two exhibitions of photos were arranged at The Public in West Bromwich.

Martin is a pillar of the community, and always gives his time without question, despite his busy schedule and I believe he deserves recognition for his volunteer work.”

Without passionate and committed people like Martin, our local history and heritage would not be so vibrant and relevant to local people, nor preserved for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. 

Why not watch Martin’s nomination film and find out more about him. Just click on the link to view the film.

Since 2011 Gig Caritas has raised more than £25,000 @DudleyCVS #keepdudleybostin

Arts and Heritage Award 2015

Highly Commended – Gig Caritas Committee


We were lucky enough to see Chris Passey, one of this group of musical volunteers perform at Dudley Volunteer Awards 2015. What a treat !

“Gig Caritas are a dedicated bunch of professional musicians, who donate their time and talents to present a range of music and performance events, each raising essential funds for nominated charities or organisations.  Their most recent one was for Dudley & District Branch of Parkinson’s which is a charity close to my husband’s heart as his Dad died last year of this disease.  The one night only concert raised over £1,200 for this group.

Keith and Chris from Gig Caritas show off their certificate

Keith and Chris from Gig Caritas show off their certificate

Overall Gig Caritas has raised more than £25,000 for causes in and around Dudley, and the wider West Midlands.

Every one of their events is put together by a committee that works without pay, or recognition, to locate the music they will need, organise a venue, fix sound, lighting, seating and staging, market, promote with posters, leaflets, social media and website, sell tickets, create a programme.  All of this around the essential tasks of recruiting a choir, orchestra and soloists, who are all themselves volunteers, as they take no fees for their efforts (and keep coming back to take part over again). Gig Caritas committee ethos is no fee based. It has attracted high class soloists including West End stars to the stage for at least two concerts in Dudley.”