Helpforce announces winners of volunteer Champions Awards

8th November 2022

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  • The most exceptional volunteers in health and care celebrated at national awards ceremony in London

  • Categories included: Outstanding Volunteering Team of the Year; Volunteer to Career: Volunteer of the Year; Volunteer of the Year: Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, England; Volunteer Manager of the Year; Outstanding Staff Champion for Volunteers; Health Leader Champion for Volunteering and the Breaking down Barriers Award

Helpforce, which partners with health and care organisations across the UK to accelerate the growth and impact of volunteering, has announced the winners of the Helpforce Champions Awards. The awards act as 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.

Winners from the 10 categories were selected from across the UK, with individuals from each home nation of the UK receiving a ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award, highlighting those volunteers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland who have delivered exceptional service to their regions across a range of projects.

This includes Evenly Blumenthal, winner of volunteer of the year in England, who is a multi-faceted and outstanding volunteer at the Royal Free Hospital. Since retiring from managing a hospice in 2018, Evelyn has devoted hours of her time to support vulnerable people and has this year already clocked up over 733 hours of volunteering.

This year’s awards categories were expanded to include the Volunteer to Career (VtC) category, which recognises the achievement of a volunteer or former volunteer who has gone on to a career in health or care.

This year’s winner is Jack Ansell, who progressed from being a volunteer within the ambulance service through to currently holding the role of Community Engagement Operations Manager at South Central Ambulance Service. From an early age he wanted to become a paramedic recognising the important role it has on his local community and wanting to help people. Both things that continue to drive Jack today.

The full list of winners are below with all their stories available here

  • Volunteer of the Year - Scotland: Sophie Ross, NHS24

  • Volunteer of the Year - Wales: Ronald Evans, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

  • Volunteer of the Year - Northern Ireland: Janet Potts, Northern Health and Social Care Trust

  • Volunteer of the Year - England: Evelyn Blumenthal, Royal Free Charity

  • Volunteer to Career - Volunteer of the Year: Jack Ansell, South Central Ambulance Charity

  • Outstanding Volunteering Team of the Year: South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

  • Volunteer Manager of the Year: Sally Dyson, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

  • Health Leader Champion for Volunteering: Clare Alagh, Hestia

  • Outstanding Staff Champion for Volunteers: Jordann Rowley, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

  • Breaking Down Barriers Award: Community Integrated Care and Rugby League World Cup 2021

The awards were 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-Hallett, Helpforce Chairman and Founder; 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 were invited to an exclusive awards ceremony in London at the Royal Air Force Club, on 4th November.

Mark Lever, CEO of Helpforce said of the nominees:

“Many congratulations to all of our winners and highly commended. To receive 135 nominations this year is a testament to the value that volunteers bring across the sector and the growing importance of volunteers within our health service.

“Hearing all the stories of our winners at the awards ceremony in London also really brought home the value of volunteers and clearly demonstrated their 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 Helpforce Champions Awards can shine a light on this valuable resource.”