Helpforce announces shortlist of volunteer champions in health and care across the UK

10th October 2022

Helpforce awards 1

Helpforce, which partners with health and care organisations across the UK to accelerate the growth and impact of volunteering, have announced their annual shortlist of the most exceptional volunteers in health and care across the UK. Helpforce Champions Awards are a chance to shine a light on those who give their time to help staff in the NHS and voluntary and community organisations, and support patients and their families and carers.

As the NHS faces another winter of pressures with worker shortages and long waiting lists, profiling the role of volunteers remains crucial. Volunteers have always played a significant role in health care provision. From supporting patients in hospital to befriending people in their own home’s volunteers have added value to patients and staff alike.

Including for the first time are nominees for Regional Volunteer of the Year, highlighting those volunteers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland who have delivered exceptional service across a range of projects.

The full list of categories and the shortlist are below:

Outstanding Volunteering Team of the Year:

  • Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

  • Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust

  • South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Volunteer to Career: Volunteer of the Year:

  • Helen Steele, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

  • Jack Ansell, South Central Ambulance Charity

  • Darren Fixter, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Volunteer of the Year: Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, England (Sponsored by Room to Reward)


  • Sophie Nicola Ross, NHS24

  • Jim Woods, NHS Golden Jubilee

  • Steph Guerina, National Childbirth Trust


  • Liz Langdon, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

  • Ronald Evans, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

  • Joanne Germon, Recovery Cymru

Northern Ireland:

  • Janet Potts, Northern Health and Social Care Trust


  • Evelyn Blumenthal, Royal Free Charity

  • Petronella Baynes, The Hillingdon Hospital Trust

  • Peter Shackleton, DASH Disability and Support Hillingdon

Volunteer Manager of the Year:

  • Volunteer Manager Team, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

  • Sally Dyson, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

  • Sammy Lambert, Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust

Outstanding Staff Champion for Volunteers:

  • Jane Podkolinski, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

  • Steven Molyneux, St. Raphael's Hospice

  • Jordann Rowley, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Health Leader Champion for Volunteering:

  • Nic Dunbar, South Central Ambulance Charity

  • Sarah Armstrong, Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust

  • Clare Alagh, Hestia

Breaking down Barriers Award:

  • Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

  • Community Integrated Care and Rugby League World Cup 2021

  • Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

This year, all those nominated will be shared on Helpforce’s Wall of Fame as a way of thanking nominees, sharing their volunteer stories, and inspiring others to volunteer.

The awards will be judged by an expert panel of experienced judges including last year’s winner of Volunteer of the Year Sammy McKee, as well as Dr Helen Gilburt, Fellow in Health Policy, the King's Fund; Karen Bonner, Chief Nurse & Director for Infection Prevention & Control, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust; Mark Lever, Helpforce CEO; Sir Tom Hughes-Hallet, Helpforce Chairman and Founder; Alisa Binnington, Director of Finance at Helpforce, Shirley Baines, CEO, the Burdett Trust for Nursing; Dr Yasmin Razak, GP, the Golborne Medical Centre, London and Emma Easton, Deputy Director Voluntary Partnerships, NHS England.

The winners of 2022 will be invited to a special awards ceremony in London, the Royal Airforce Club, on 4th November.

Mark Lever, CEO of Helpforce said of the nominees:

“Many congratulations to our finalists. To receive so many nominations this year is a testament to the value that volunteers bring across the sector. Those nominated clearly demonstrated a great commitment and real passion for patient care and support for staff.

“Volunteering across health and care is a proven yet massively underused asset. We know that people want to support their community and all kinds of public services stand to benefit – we need to urgently unleash this potential. We hope the Champions Awards can shine a light on this valuable resource.”