About Gloucestershire's Volunteer Awards 2024

Gloucestershire has a thriving voluntary community with an estimated 104,000 individuals volunteering in some capacity across the county.

We know that these individuals are often the unsung heroes in our communities, selflessly giving their time to support those around them. Whether it is dedicating their time to litter picking, protecting woodlands, checking in on their neighbour to mentoring young people. The list of things is endless!

Collectively, we would like Gloucestershire to take the time to appreciate our volunteers and nominate someone for one of the eight awards.

Volunteers make the world a better place to be in and that is something worth celebrating!

''Volunteers help to make our dreams reality, we couldn't do it without them!''

''Our volunteers literally change lives''

Our Finalists

We are delighted to announce our finalists for the Gloucestershire Volunteer Awards 2024.

Rising Star Award

Alfie Lightstone

Alfie’s journey as a volunteer over the past six years is nothing short of remarkable. He supports various activities around Cheltenham, and his dedication and initiative shine through every task he undertakes. Alfie demonstrates his commitment by always turning up to activities early to help set up, and is always the last to leave as he helps to tidy up afterwards. Initially tasked with small responsibilities like sweeping floors and washing dishes, Alfie’s maturity and initiative has blossomed over time. He uses his keen problem-solving skills and lateral thinking to identify tasks that need doing without being asked. Now 14 years old, Alfie has become indispensable to numerous organisations and communities. His confidence has soared, and he effortlessly works with people of all ages. He is reliable, enthusiastic, and hardworking whilst always remaining modest. His commitment to making a difference to his community is an inspiration to all.

Aqsa Dariai

Aqsa’s dedication to serving her community through Young Thinkers Gloucester’s Study Club is truly commendable. Every Saturday, she generously donates her time to support primary school-ages children with their homework, making a meaningful impact on their educational journey. Often these children are new to the country, or they may be the first generation in their family to go to school in the United Kingdom. The help that Aqsa provides has actively improved these students’ academic performance and boosted their confidence as young learners. Aqsa has grown from a young beneficiary of the organisation into an enthusiastic, driven, and sincere volunteer, embodying the transformative power of giving back. In every aspect of volunteering, she gives her full effort and her passion. She is not only changing lives, but also building a brighter future for generations to come.

Dylan Hazley-Dam

Dylan, at just 9 years old, has demonstrated incredible compassion and determination by raising funds for people whose lives are affected by cancer. Dylan’s bake sales are a heartwarming example of how a simple idea can create a ripple effect of kindness. Armed with mixing bowls, flour, and a passion for making a difference, Dylan whipped up delicious treats that not only satisfied taste buds, but also carried a message of hope and support. Dylan’s efforts raised over £200 during his school bake sales. What makes Dylan’s story even more inspiring is his willingness to share his personal journey with others. By speaking to his school about his experiences with cancer, Dylan has left a lasting mark on everyone around him. In Dylan, we see a shining example of compassion, resilience and dedication, he is an inspiration to people of all ages, reminding us that no matter our age, we have the power to make a positive difference in the world.

Young Volunteer Award

Lily-Mae Warner

Lily-Mae volunteers with Gloucestershire Carers Hub. Despite juggling the responsibilities of being a young parent, working a paid job, and fulfilling the role of an unpaid Carer, Lily-Mae consistently goes above and beyond to make a positive impact on her community. Whether it is putting together goodie bags for caregivers, assembling packs for professionals, driving the volunteers to events, Lily-Mae consistently goes the extra mile to support the needs of the organisation and those it serves. She has played a significant role in assembling thousands of Carers' goodie bags and professionals' packs, that not only support caregivers but creates a ripple effect of positivity that touches the lives of many. Her commitment to personal growth, her compassionate support for carers, and her efforts to bring joy are truly commendable. In Lily-Mae, Gloucestershire Carers Hub have found a dedicated and compassionate volunteer whose efforts embody the spirit of community and make a tangible difference in the lives of many.

Jake Richmond

Jake has been the lead volunteer at the West Cheltenham Community Food Pantry since it opened in November 2021. His integral role in every aspect of the pantry’s operation, from the initial setup to the day-to-day running of the organisation demonstrates his dedication to serving his community. Not only has Jake never missed a shift, he also eagerly offers his assistance for events and additional tasks. Jake always provides a polite and friendly service, upholding our values, even when faced with challenging situations. The pantry serves some of the most vulnerable members of the community and Jake always treats everyone with dignity and compassion, ensuring that everyone feels valued and supported. Jake chooses to dedicate his time to the pantry because of his genuine care for the community. He’s made a profound difference to the lives of those served by the pantry, embodying community spirit and compassion.

Sydney-Anne McAllister

Sydney-Anne is the Co-Founder & Managing Director of This Ends Now, a Gloucestershire-based organisation dedicated to ending misogyny and preventing sexual violence. Her commitment and visionary leadership have propelled This Ends Now to the forefront of a movement for change. In her multifaceted role, Sydney-Anne spearheads every aspect of the organisations’ operations. From attending meetings and crafting strategic initiatives to drafting policies and representing This Ends Now at various events, she is the driving force behind its mission. One of Sydney-Anne’s most remarkable achievements is the groundbreaking Words Matter Policy; a pioneering initiative in partnership with Gloucestershire Constabulary, aiming to revolutionise the language used by UK police in addressing sexual violence – championing a culture of accountability and respect while combating victim-blaming and misogyny. Sydney-Anne’s vision and dedication are the driving force behind This Ends Now’s success.

Community Involvement Award

Bob Irving

Bob has been an active volunteer for well over 10 years. He is a true luminary in the Cirencester community, dedicating his time to various projects and roles, showing his long-standing commitment to making a positive difference in Cirencester. He is a beacon of community spirit, striving to build a community of sustainability, resourcefulness, and unity. Through diverse initiatives like the Repair Café, Clothes Swap, the Men’s Shed, Cirencester Co-housing Group and the Green Flea Market, he is a champion of sustainability. Last year alone, his efforts at the Repair Café stopped over 7,000kg of Co2 from entering landfills. His efforts have not only reduced waste and promoted environmental consciousness but have also fostered a sense of belonging and camaraderie among fellow residents. At his core, Bob is guided by a set of values that light his path – kindness, empathy, and a steadfast dedication to the common good. Bob is a testament to the power of one persons’ unwavering commitment to making the world a better place.

Pamela Rudge

Pamela volunteers for Together in Matson, a youth and community hub based in a vibrant but underserved community. She provides warm food and a big dollop of laughter, supplying joy and connection to young and old alike. Pamela enjoys cooking food… and our community enjoy eating it. Her meals are a catalyst for community, bringing people together around the table to share stories, forge friendships, and find solace in each other’s company. She has sown the seeds of support networks, giving people somewhere to go and someone to lean on in times of need. Young people love Pamela, she is a ray of sunshine serving up huge bowls of vegetable pasta and time to chat about their day; one or two love a big hug from her when the day has been hard. She feeds more than 60 older people a week and 75 young people. She even comes in on the weekend to feed the two stray cats she has adopted and now looks after at The Redwell. Together in Matson would be lost without her.

Nicola Crofts

Nicola is the heartbeat of Read with Me, bringing boundless enthusiasm and tireless dedication to everything she does. She has helped hundreds of children learn to read well by hearing them read on a one-to-one basis in schools, and thousands of children access free and fun activities during the school holidays. Behind the scenes she’s the unsung hero, cutting shapes, researching activities, and organising crafts for children. She has dedicated thousands of hours of her own time to helping children in the local community. Since the inception of Read with Me, Nicola has been a constant pillar of support, ensuring that the organisation flourishes. Her dedication and generosity are integral to Read with Me’s success, allowing the organisation to deliver exceptional services to the community. Nicola embodies the very essence of Read with Me’s mission; enriching lives and shaping futures with every story shared.

Dave Bath

Dave has been volunteering in the community for 15 years. Volunteering for Cheltenham Saracens FC is a real passion for Dave. From maintaining the grounds and facilities to ensuring the changing rooms are pristine, his role is vital to the clubs’ success. But his contributions extend beyond the pitch; as the cheerful face behind the refreshment stand, he keeps fans fuelled with hot drinks and snacks, turning game days into unforgettable experiences for all. For The Big Local, Dave is the trusted voice of the community. He is the go-to person for community members to ask those questions and know he will do his utmost to help find an answer. Dave gives his time to his neighbours, helping maintain their gardens, running errands and checking in on them. If that wasn’t enough, Dave also leads a donation drive to provide Christmas selection boxes and Easter eggs to local families. With over 1,000 donations collected and distributed to hundreds of families, Dave’s small gestures have made a world of difference in the lives of many. He has a heart of gold. Whether it’s lending a helping hand, offering a warm smile, or simply being there for someone in need, he embodies the true spirit of community.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Geoff Brown

Geoff was one of the original founders of Severn Freewheelers in 2007. They support the NHS by providing a free out of hours courier service to the local NHS Trusts in the area. From the very beginning, Geoff’s unwavering commitment to the cause was evident. Serving as the first Secretary, he played a pivotal role in nurturing the organisation from a small team to its current membership of over 150 members! His efforts in recruitment and promotion ensured that Severn Freewheelers flourished, becoming a lifeline for countless patients across the area. Despite his numerous achievements, Geoff remains humble, always placing the wellbeing of patients above all else. For him, it’s about ensuring the service never misses a day and that patients receive the care they need. Geoff will never take plaudit for his actions, it is always about cause and effect for the NHS and the patients in their care, nothing else. As coordinator, he has dispatched a minimum of 3,000 jobs, personally riding and delivering over 3,200 jobs himself. Over the course of his 17 years in service, he has ridden an astonishing 125,000 miles. Geoff’s dedication and compassion make him a true inspiration to everyone at Severn Freewheelers and beyond.

Patrick Bryan

Patrick’s legacy at Gloucestershire Deaf Association spans an impressive 18 years of dedicated service as a Trustee. He continues to volunteer for GDA at community events, lending his time and talents to further the cause. Beyond his commitments to GDA, Patrick has also been a committee member and Chairperson for Gloucester Deaf Club. He is a positive role model for deaf young people aged 8-18 years old through his role at the Deaf Youth Club. Patrick has been a steadfast ally, working to ensure that the Gloucester Deaf Club remains connected, innovative, and adaptable in ever-changing circumstances. His advocacy for the rights of deaf BSL users, children of deaf adults, and deaf adults with social care needs has been instrumental in shaping the charity’s approach to meeting the diverse needs of its community. Patrick can turn his hand to any task required, from driving the minibus to making packed lunches or riding the biggest rollercoasters at Alton Towers to ensure the young people have unforgettable experiences. Patrick’s greatest gift lies in his ability to create a sense of warmth and belonging for isolated deaf people across Gloucestershire. Patrick is a true champion of inclusivity, empowerment, and community. He leaves an enduring legacy of kindness in his wake.

Sonia Hammond

Sonia has been volunteering for Cotswold Riding for the Disabled for an incredible 40 years. From humble beginnings as a volunteer at our newly built arena on Cheltenham Racecourse in 1984, Sonia’s commitment to Cotswold RDA has never wavered. Nowadays, Sonia lends her time to ensure the Tea with a Pony sessions are filled with joy and laughter for service users. Week after week, she arrives promptly to set up the area and create a welcoming environment. Sonia is undoubtedly the most inspirational woman most of the organisation have ever met, a true hero to Cotswold RDA and someone we can all learn from. Recently, as she celebrated her 90th birthday, Sonia decided to go the extra mile and hold a fundraiser for Cotswold RDA. However, for a woman as inspirational as her, a simple bake sale was out of the question – No, Sonia took to the skies and did a wing walk, raising over £2,000. Her courageous feat serves as a powerful reminder that age should never be a barrier. Sonia’s adventurous spirit and determination inspire us all to reach for the stars.

Good Neighbour Award

Richard Hamer

Richard has involved himself in many aspects of life around Northleach and is a true community champion whose presence uplifts and inspires those around him. He is the kingpin of the Men in Sheds project making sure that it remains a safe, inclusive, and fun place for all to attend, where friendships are forged, and skills are honed. He is also becoming one of the faces of Cotswolds Radio with his regular show, where he shines a spotlight on all the good things happening in the community, bringing people together in a light-hearted way. Richard lends his hand to many tasks in Northleach. From mending the floor of the Town Council’s Westwoods Centre to organising the construction of planters for the local school, no task is too big or small for Richard, and his willingness to help knows no bounds. A true Good Neighbour in every sense of the word, he is always there to lend a listening ear, offer a helping hand, or simply share a friendly smile. The community in Northleach are so grateful for all that he does to make it a better place for all.

Nicola Cole

Nicola has been dedicated to brightening the lives of elderly people for years. Whether it’s lending a helping hand to a family member, neighbour, or resident at Monkscroft Care Home, she would do anything for anyone, nothing is too much trouble for her. She maintains the garden at Monkscroft Care Home and supports older people in her area. From shopping and housework, to simply being a comforting presence for them, Nicola’s acts of kindness leave a lasting mark on those she helps. Nicola has the biggest heart and goes the extra mile for everyone. She is Wonder Woman, yet she remains humble, unaware of the profound impact she has on others. To her niece, Nicola is more than an Aunty; she is an inspiration and a guiding light. Though she may not realise it, Nicola’s presence in the lives of those around her is nothing short of extraordinary.

Esther Hetherington

Esther volunteers for Gloucester Windrush Meal Venture, which provides more than 90 hot cooked meals, delivered to the homes of vulnerable, elderly and disabled people in Gloucester. Her role within the organisation is essential: from shopping for ingredients to delivering meals with a smile, from serving to prepping, Esther is the glue that holds the team together. She never fails to show up every week to help. Esther is a blessing, who is always willing to support the community. She is selfless, always putting the needs of others before her own, ensuring that no one in the community goes hungry or feels forgotten. No task is too daunting for Esther, who is always just a phone call away, ready to offer support and assistance whenever it is needed. Her commitment and support have helped Gloucester Windrush Meal Venture reach the staggering milestone of serving 25,000 meals since 2020. Esther is a shining example of the impact one person can have on a community.

Volunteer of the Year

Toni Winbow

Toni volunteers for Gloucestershire Carers Hub. Over the last six years, she has transformed from a dedicated carer to a super volunteer, making a difference to those she supports and inspiring admiration from the entire staff at Gloucestershire Carers Hub. Toni’s journey began during the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic, where she rose to the occasion as an unofficial volunteer. She took initiative and organised online quizzes and chat groups, providing much-needed assistance and connection to isolated carers. What sets Toni apart is her ability to step up, take charge, and prioritise the wellbeing of carers in everything she does. Her commitment to supporting others, coupled with her commitment to personal growth, make her a shining example of the transformative power of volunteering.

Unays Qureshi

Unays has been a regular and active volunteer at Young Thinkers Gloucester weekly Study Club. His commitment to giving back to his community is remarkable, as he engages with various volunteer initiatives to support health and education in the Barton and Tredworth area. From providing support for health checks at Eid in the Park, to assisting healthcare professionals with an annual CPR event for the community, Unays consistently demonstrates his willingness to go above and beyond to make a difference. Since joining the organisation in 2022, his humble demeanour, helpful nature, and exemplary work ethic have made him a valued member of the team and a positive role model for the children at Study Club. His actions serve as an inspiration to his peers and the community, reminding everyone of the importance of giving back and making a positive impact wherever we can.

Brian Babbage

Brian is a volunteer for Springbank Community Group and has done so for the past four years. His involvement spans across multiple projects, from supporting service users in the Community Food Pantry, to facilitating positive and meaningful activities for children during the school holidays. Brian has volunteered since September 2020 when the organisation was delivering food parcels in response to the COVID 19 pandemic – he walked past one day and asked what he could do to help. Since then, he has become a fixture of the organisation. In 2023 alone, Springbank Community Group supported 17,200 people, with Brian’s consistent presence undoubtedly leaving a positive impact on many of them. Brian will often pull up a chair and lend an ear, listen to concerns, and offer solutions. His commitment to the cause demonstrates his genuine care for others. He goes out of his way to make peoples days better and is loved by all. In essence, Brian embodies community spirit, dedication, and kindness. His willingness to lend a helping hand make him the heart and soul of Springbank Community Group, he has made a difference to the lives of countless people, and he continues to uplift and inspire those around him.

Trustee of the Year

Omar Javed

Omar is the driving force behind Young Thinkers Gloucester, having founded and chaired the organisation since 2019. Because of his hard work and dedication, the organisation is able to provide invaluable support for the local Barton and Tredworth community as well the organisation’s volunteers. Despite his demanding role as a full-time doctor, Omar selflessly dedicated his free time to providing free health and education support for the community. He established regular study club for children to attend on Saturdays for homework help, and university application support which successfully led to multiple young people gaining admission to UK medical and dental schools. Omar’s leadership is marked by passion, inspiration, and inclusivity. Omar’s efforts with Young Thinkers Gloucester have had an immense impact on the community, his dedication to helping others, paired with his visionary leadership, has helped shape the organisation into a force for positive change.

Chris Hammersley

Chris has acted as Secretary to the Gymnastics Club since it became a charity in 1976. He supported the building of the Gymnastics Centre at Five Acres, ensuring aspiring athletes in the Forest of Dean can reach their goals. But Chris’s impact reaches even further; upon hearing that the Forest of Dean Athletics Club could no longer run the Forest Half Marathon, he offered to take it on in order to raise funds for the Rotary Club. Under his stewardship, the event has blossomed into a nationally recognised race, drawing runners from across the UK and raising hundreds of thousands of pounds over the past two decades. At the Gymnastics Club, Chris is a jack-of-all-trades, moving and repairing equipment, setting up and putting away apparatus for competitions and training and helping at fundraising events for the Club. Chris’s work has contributed to the raising of over £1.5 million, impacting the lives of thousands of people in the process. Chris’s dedication and tireless efforts have left a lasting impression on the community.

Hilary Osbourne

Hilary’s dedication to Headway Gloucestershire spans over three decades, making her a cherished ambassador and driving force within the organisation since the 1980’s. She has paved the way for a groundbreaking partnership with the University of Gloucestershire, aimed at pioneering research to improve outcomes for people with brain injuries. With boundless energy, enthusiasm, and expertise, Hilary has contributed so much to Headway Gloucestershire, she is a true advocate for the cause, exemplifying the spirit of service and compassion. From the beginning, Hilary’s commitment has transformed the organisation into the professional and invaluable resource it is today. Despite her demanding role as a Trustee, Hilary goes above and beyond, offering assistance wherever needed. She is not just a Trustee, but a source of inspiration and unwavering support. Her leadership will continue to shape the future of Headway Gloucestershire for years to come.

Volunteer Experience Award

Read with Me

Read With Me is a fantastic organisation which is making a huge impact on the literacy and confidence of children across Gloucestershire. Despite being a small team, their impact is monumental, thanks to their dedication to their volunteers. One of the most remarkable aspects of Read With Me is their commitment to creating a sense of community among volunteers – they organise regular events where volunteers can come together, share experiences, and socialise. These gatherings ensure volunteers feel connected and can build friendships. Read With Me equips volunteers with everything they need to support children effectively, including those all-important “good job” stickers. Read With Me goes above and beyond to make volunteers feel appreciated, from personalised Christmas cards from the staff to ongoing support and recognition, volunteers know their time and effort are truly valued.

Young Thinkers Gloucester

Young Thinkers Gloucester is driven by a team of professional doctors and supported by volunteers from various professional backgrounds. Together, they are on a mission to empower the community with vital health information and education, ensuring that no one is left behind. One of the organisations core values is a commitment to inclusivity, ensuring that people from all cultural and religious backgrounds feel welcome and represented. The initiatives set up by Young Thinkers Gloucester not only provide valuable information but also foster a sense of community and support among volunteers. The organisation is making a tangible difference in the lives of people from the Barton and Tredworth community, empowering people to take control of their health and wellbeing, ultimately creating a healthier and more informed community.

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Trust provide the volunteer resources to manage and operate the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, one of the largest heritage railways in the country. With a dedicated team of some 880 volunteers complementing the efforts of 11 paid staff, the railway offers the public a nostalgic journey through the picturesque Cotswolds. What sets this railway apart is not just its historical significance, but the sense of family and community among its volunteers. Friendships formed within departments often extend outside of the railway itself, and there are examples of multiple generations of families working across the departments. A number of the volunteers can claim more than 40 years of service, with long-serving volunteers given privileged access after retirement, allowing them to remain connected to their railway family. Central to the success of Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway is recognising the importance of making volunteering rewarding and enjoyable. The Trust understand the value of fostering a supportive and fun environment, ensuring that volunteering is a fulfilling and enriching experience for all involved.

Ways to get in touch


Email us directly here


If you prefer to speak to someone about your nomination call a member of the Go Volunteer Glos team on:

Gloucestershire's Volunteer Awards is brought to you by: