Norwood celebrates its legion of tireless volunteers with annual awards ceremony
Over 200 guests enjoyed a night of celebration at Norwood’s fifth annual Volunteer Recognition Awards, held on Monday (11 September) at Allianz Park in Hendon.
The awards recognise the huge contribution Norwood’s volunteers make to the UK’s largest Jewish children’s, family and learning disability charity. The volunteers do everything from working in Norwood’s charity shops, to befriending and mentoring families in need of support. Over the evening, Norwood trustees handed out an impressive nine awards.
The evening was hosted by Norwood’s Volunteer Awards Chair, Rachael Davis-Stollar. She said: “The selfless contribution from Norwood's 1500 fantastic volunteers is truly invaluable. They each make an absolutely vital difference and improve the quality of life for thousands of people that Norwood supports: that is the magic of Norwood. The panel and I were honoured to have the opportunity to thank all our volunteers on the night. It was a superb evening with an electric atmosphere and we are already looking forward to the next one!”
One of the highlights of the evening was the Special Commendation Award. Marylin Graham, who has been volunteering for Norwood as an enthusiastic befriender for more than 20 years, was the deserved winner. Guests watched this video on the Norwood befriending programme before Joint President Lady Mendelsohn CBE presented Marylin with the award.
On the importance of befriending, Lady Mendelsohn said: “Our wonderful befrienders help improve confidence in those who use our services, reduce isolation, and often take pressure off families just by being there. There is certainly a growing need for befriending. Norwood has survived for over 200 years because we are responsive and forward-thinking, and this is a service we want to grow even more, because it has such an impact and is so valuable to those we support.”
At the end of the evening, Norwood Vice-President Ronnie Harris reflected on a “special and inspirational evening”.
He said: “Norwood simply wouldn’t be able to do what we do without our amazing volunteers. I am always humbled by the time that they give up and the work they do. It was fantastic seeing so many smiling faces tonight as the awards were handed out. I hope nights like this go some way to giving back to all these exceptional people.”
Notes for editors
The results for the other categories were as follows:
Norwood’s Young People’s Volunteer Award was awarded to Sophie Goligorsky, a regular volunteer at Norwood’s shop in Golders Green.
There were two winners of the Fundraising Award; Flora Frank and the Toy Sweep Committee. Flora, a great-grandmother, has run over 30 marathons, raising over £300,000 for Norwood. In 2015 she was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s birthday honours. The Toy Sweep Committee raises funds throughout the year for children to spend a voucher on toys of their choice at Toys R Us in the run-up to Chanukah.
Tony Greenfield, a volunteer at Norwood for over 30 years, won the Professional of the Year award. His experience in the retail and manufacturing section has enabled him to build relationships with many businesses supplying the Norwood shops with stock.
The Unsung Heroes Award went to the team of volunteers at the Ravenswood Stables. They ensure the 75 people using the facilities each week are able to enjoy horse riding, no matter what their disability. They assist people in getting on and off the horses, help with cleaning or running errands, and provide vital support to the stables staff.
The Community Award was given to students from Wellington College. They visit Ravenswood on a weekly basis, running activities and providing support and friendship to many of the people living there.
The Corporate Partnership Award was awarded to Johnson & Johnson. The team – now in its fifth year of volunteering for Norwood – visited Ravenswood to give the neglected garden a makeover, clearing out weeds and planting a variety of plants.
The Lady J Award, awarded by Lady Jakobovits’s daughters, Shoshana Turner and Esther Pearlman, went to Rebecca Lane. Rebecca overcame childhood trauma and a difficult start in life, but is now one of Norwood’s ambassadors, raising awareness about the charity through sharing her story at several fundraising events.
The Outstanding Contribution award was awarded to Bernice Silverman and Zeina Karouni. Bernice has given one-to-one support to a family with two young children, one of whom has a physical disability. Zeina is a volunteer at the Teeny Tiny Fun Play Group, regularly looking after a child with complex health care needs.
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Norwood is the largest Jewish charity in the UK supporting vulnerable children and their families, children with special educational needs and people with learning disabilities and autism. Norwood currently has around 1,000 volunteers who work alongside 1,000 paid staff.
Founded in 1795, Norwood is one of the UK’s oldest charities and the only Jewish charity to enjoy the Patronage of Her Majesty The Queen.
It helps children and adults to maximise their potential at home, at school and throughout their lives, through personalised services designed to enable choice.