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  • Writer's pictureKelly Sullivan

Newport Volunteering Awards 2023

The team in Newport held their annual volunteering awards on 18th September at the Coldra Court Hotel and it was a resounding success, and enjoyed by all! Newport Volunteering Officers Sam and Kelly were inundated with some amazing nominations which made it very difficult for the nomination panel to shortlist.

The shortlisted nominees were from a diverse range of community organisations and charities across the city, and the evening shone a light on the positive impact made to others in Newport. The volunteers were recognised for their hard work and selfless dedication and the commitment they make to volunteering. The shortlisted nominees were:

Health & Wellbeing award

· Person-Centered Care Team, Ffrind I Mi Volunteers (winners)

· Newport Men’s Sheds (highly commended)

Environmental award

· Charlotte Beard, Gwent Wildlife (winner)

· Newport canal & rivers clean up group (highly commended)

Young Volunteer of the Year (14-25) award

· Helen Lantzos, Shaftesbury Youf Gang (winner)

Richie Davies commented: “Very proud tonight! Our youth club, Shaftesbury Youf gang's very own Helen Lantzos has won the Young Volunteer of the Year award at the GAVO Awards 2023. This inspirational young lady is a credit to herself, her parents, her school , her community and of course The Shaftesbury Youf club. Well done Helen .You thoroughly deserve your Award!”

· Charlie Smith, County in the Community (highly commended)

A representative from County in the Community commented “Well done Charlie and Luke, two of our volunteers for winning awards yesterday evening at the GAVO Volunteering awards!”

Parent & Child award

· Sue Mizon, Maindee Primary School (winner)

A representative from Girl Guiding Newport Division commented “Huge Congratulations to Sue Mizon who won the Parent and Child category at the GAVO - Newport 2023 Volunteer of the Year Awards on Monday evening. Sue was presented with her award by The Worshipful, the Mayor of Newport, Councillor Trevor Watkins who presented her with the award and introduced her as; ' a lady that has given so much of her heart and soul to improving the education and wellbeing of children in her community in her work with Maindee Primary School and her weekly gardening club.”

Sue was nominated by Jo Sims, a parent of a Brownie who stated “Sue is such a positive influence on everyone she meets....she is a wonderful lady who is extremely selfless and giving to her community.”

· Sharmin Akhter Chowdhury, Kid Care 4U (highly commended)

Sharmin’s husband commented “I am really proud that today my wife Sharmin Rahman Chowdhury received the highly commended award from GAVO (Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisation). She is working at Kidcare4U for the last few months as a volunteer. In this program, awards are given in 10 categories. It was attended by the High Sheriff, Chief Superintendent of Gwent Police, Member of Sennedd (MS), Lord Mayor of Newport and others prestigious people.”

Community Inclusion award

· Tony Wilkins, Sparkle (winner)

A representative from Sparkle commented “Sparkle attended the GAVO Newport Volunteering Awards 2023 on Monday to recognise volunteers' hard work and dedication.

We would like to congratulate Sparkle Volunteer Tony on the fantastic achievement of winning the award for Community Inclusion – we are very fortunate to have people like Tony who volunteer their time with us here at Sparkle.”

· Gwen Vaughan, Oakhill ASD Childcare (highly commended)

Sport award

· GX Dance Mentors (winners)

· Luke De Gilbert, County in the Community (highly commended)

Food Sustainability award

· Big Bocs Bwyd volunteers, Maindee Primary School (winners)

· Feed Newport (highly commended)

Welsh Culture & Heritage award

· Art on the Hill (winners)

Kate Mercer from Art and Photography commented “Last night was more than a little bit special AOTH was nominated by Claire Turner for contributions to Welsh Culture and Heritage at the #gavovolunteeringawards… and won! We’re truly grateful for this recognition of the time and effort we’ve volunteered, celebrating Newport’s artists and cultural venues in and around NP20. It means a lot. For us, it was an absolute honour to be in the same room with *just some* of the everyday heroes who give so much for the benefit of others in our local community. We left feeling inspired by everyone we met. Congratulations to all those who won and were nominated for the awards last night Thank you GAVO Newport and their sponsors for organising a night full of humanity, compassion and positivity.”

· Frank McQuillan, Tin Shed Theatre (highly commended)

High Sheriff’s award

The High Sheriff of Gwent, Prof Simon Gibson CBE, DL commented “A room full of virtue, dedication and inspiration. This best describes the GAVO Newport Volunteering Awards last night. I salute everyone recognised for their unbridled commitment to the communities they serve - good work, well done.”

· Jane O’Brien (winner)

A representative from Newport Girl Guiding commented “Massive Congratulations to Jane O'Brien who was honoured with the High Sheriff's Award at the GAVO - Newport Volunteer Awards on Monday evening." Jane was accompanied by Sue Chappell after being nominated by Sally Sullivan, who stated "Over the many years Jane has been in Girlguiding Newport she has helped, improved the lives of many girls & adults of all ages, and is continuing to do so which is so important to us. Jane's knowledge and experience is so valuable ....Girls have developed as individuals, gained in confidence, achieved new skills where Jane has taken the time and effort to work with them, get to know them, encourage and support to assist them.'

From all the nominations, the High Sheriff personally chose Jane and commended her on the commitment, dedication and the difference she has made to so many lives in her community and Girlguiding for over 40 years.”

Trustee award

· Kamila Jarczak, Women of Newport (Winner)

A representative from Women of Newport commented “Massive Congratulations to Kamila who won the Trustee 2023 GAVO - Newport Volunteer Award last night for Women of Newport. Kamila was honoured and truly grateful to receive this award for the huge amount of hours and herculean efforts in volunteering to help make Newport and its community a cohesive and welcoming social network where we learn from and inspire others. It's a richly deserved accolade for her truly inspirational, motivational and creative altruistic support of her community. Congratulations to all nominees, highly recommended individuals and groups and all winners of awards. It was both inspiring and humbling to be in the same room as so many amazing philanthropic and humanitarian people around the City - it melts your heart. Thank you so much GAVO, the sponsors, the hosting venue and local dignitaries for making this such a special and positively memorable occasion for all.”

· Bilquis Chohan, Age Alive (highly commended)

Inspirational award

· Fatma Nur Aksoy (winner)

· Pride in Pill MBE (highly commended)

Newport’s hard working volunteering team couldn’t have organised the 2023 awards without the kind help of our sponsors, local companies and the wider GAVO team who enabled us to go the extra mile to make the event special for everyone. We would like to extend our sincere gratitude and thanks to:

· Ethnic Minorities Youth Support Team (EYST)

· Newport Credit Union

· Newport City Homes

· CAF Rolling Stock

· Newport Credit Union

· Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

· Newport Norse

· Newbridge Charitable Foundation

· Coldra Court Hotel

· Mighty Fozzy Entertainment, including Ross Lisney-Wilson

· A Print

· Lily’s Cheescakes

· Balloons by Bev

Balloons By Bev commented “I had the pleasure this week to provide balloon decorations for the GAVO Newport Volunteering Achievement Awards at Coldra Court Hotel by Celtic Manor.

Congratulations to you all.”

Jayne Bryant for Newport West commented “What an evening last night! Huge thanks to GAVO - Newport for celebrating some of our inspirational volunteers in Newport who make such a difference to so many people. Huge congratulations to all. Diolch o gallon.”

Len Casley from Newport Credit Union commented “An absolute honour to be able to support the GAVO - Newport awards 2023. Newport really has some amazing volunteers and they deserve to be celebrated.”


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