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Greenoak Woking Volunteer of the Year Awards 2019

Winners and Runners for Web

An enthusiastic crowd of charity volunteers and guests celebrated the vital contributions of those always prepared to go the extra mile at the Woking Volunteer of the Year Awards 2019.

Our fifth annual event by Greenoak Community Focus and Greenoak Housing Association, was held at the WWF Living Planet Centre, where nominees and members of more than 20 local charities gathered to hear this year’s winners announced.

They were welcomed in the opening address by Woking Mayor Cllr Beryl Hunwicks, who spoke in praise of the “fantastic work that you all do”.

The winner of Volunteer of the Year Award was Tom Landais, a support group worker at CornerHouse. Tom regularly supports depression and anxiety groups and helps the staff in delivering themed wellbeing courses. Working with the charity has inspired him to embarked on a career in mental health care, taking on counselling training and a Masters degree in psychiatry. As winner, Tom received a cheque for £2,500 for his charity and a personal gift voucher of £50.

The three runners-up received a cheque for £500 for their charity and a personal gift of £25. They were Christine Reynard of West Surrey Mediation Services, Wendy Cheesman of the York Road Project, and Kanu Patel from Anandmilan/Vadil Parivar Elderly Club and Community Group.

Tim Nugent-Young was named Young Volunteer of the Year, an award in recognition of dedicated young volunteers aged 16-25 who have demonstrated outstanding commitment. Tim received a £1,000 cheque for the Woking & Sam Beare Hospices, where he supports a group of male outpatients who attend day care and helps at fundraising events. The two runners-up were Ben Lawrence of Cycling Projects – Surrey Wheels for All, and Jack Bedford of RSPCA Surrey Woking & District branch, who received £500 cheques for their charities.

Two special awards were also presented to recognise Lifetime Community Service Achievement, whose winners won £1,000 for their charities. These were Chris Atkins, who has been supporting clients with employment problems at Citizens Advice Woking for 25 years, and John Dumbleton, who has been volunteering with Surrey Care Trust for more than seven years, mentoring young people with behavioural issues who have been excluded from school.

Cllr Will Forster closed the event thanking Greenoak and 'was delighted to speak at and help host the Woking Volunteer of the Year Awards. It was great to say thank you to some amazing volunteers, many of them I meet during my recent year as Mayor of Woking. I know first hand that without volunteers our Borough would grind to a halt, which is why I was so pleased to say thank you and well done to all the volunteers at the event at WWF.'

Watch the Highlights here!


CornerHouse is a charity offering emotional and wellbeing support in Woking, Runnymede and Spelthorne. Their groups support people aged 18+ who are dealing with a wide range of mental health issues such as depression & postnatal depression, anxiety, carers support groups, eating disorders and social isolation. They run regular mindfulness sessions, a Young Persons Group (18-25) and Walking for Health group walks, promoting emotional and physical wellbeing. They also offer a safe, calm, and friendly welcome for people and carers in need of 1 on 1 emotional and mental health support in the form of their cafe style drop-in centre, Woking Safe Haven, which is available out of hours for crisis support.

Greenoak Community Focus recently sponsored £1,000 towards the charity with particular interest in aiding the Young Persons Groups.  The groups are activity focused, and experiment with different ways to learn how to manage their mental health, build confidence, relax, and encorage interaction by offering a chance to be involved with new activities with the support of others while encouraging ways of connecting with the local community.  Greenoak look forward to hearing about their activities in the near future!


Spotlight on SMEF

Greenoak Community Focus welcomed Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum's (SMEF) Executive Director, Suzanne Akram and Project Co-ordinator, Krisztina Koch as speakers to their recent Board meeting.  Thier passion and commitment to unity and awareness moved the GCF Members, and a donation of £2,000 was pledged to help the charity continue its fantastic work in the Woking community.  Ms Akram said that "this donation has come at a time when we are battling for a continued presence in Surrey, this will enable us to continue our work with renewed vigour".

SMEF is a community organisation that seeks to serve ethnic minority communities living in Surrey and its surrounding borders.  It provides a neutral space where people of diverse cultures, histories and ethnicities come together to interact, articulate and find solutions to the common economic and social challenges they face living in Britain today. They raise awareness and generate community projects for various services focusing on youth mental health, general health, low education, older people, domestic violence, drug and alcohol dependency, employment and segregated communities.

Visit SMEFs webiste here to find out how you can be involved