The Harrogate and Ripon Centres for Voluntary Services column with Karen Weaver

Last week’s paper included an excellent four page spread covering the 2019 Harrogate & District Volunteering Oscars. Organised by John Fox and supported by the Advertiser Series and Harrogate and Ripon Centres for Voluntary Service, this was the 12th annual event and certainly the most well attended.

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 2:00 pm
The Ripon Activity Project team receives the 25th anniversary award from Sam Newton of the Coach and Horses. Photo by Gerard Binks.

This celebration of kindness is only possible due to the support of the Old Swan Hotel, the generous sponsors of the various award categories and other partners such as Orb Community Enterprises and Harrogate Borough Council who all help out in various ways. Each year the event is a humbling reminder of the vital role of volunteers across our district, who give their time and skills without expectation of thanks or recognition.

At HARCVS we encourage charities and community groups to nominate volunteers, and often get the feedback that they find it really difficult to single out individual people when their whole teams do such a fantastic job. After the 2017 awards we therefore suggested to John Fox that a category of Volunteer Team of the Year should be added.

The wonderful End of Life Support Volunteers based at the Sir Robert Ogden Centre at Harrogate Hospital were chosen as the category winners. However every single nominated group is doing excellent work, with a truly astonishing impact in many and varies areas of community life, and so I’m delighted to give them another name check here:

Karen Weaver (Chief Executive of the Harrogate and Ripon Centres for Voluntary Services).

Carers Time Off Project, Harrogate Brigantes Rotary Kids Aloud 2019, Harrogate Clothes Bank, Harrogate and District Food Bank, Harrogate First Responders, Harrogate Food Angels, Harrogate Homeless Project, Harrogate Theatre Volunteer Ushers, Just ‘B’ Bereavement Support Services, Nidderdale Community Transport, PPR Volunteer Team, Resurrected Bikes Café, Ripon & District Marie Curie Fundraisers, Ripon Library – Reading Hacks, Singing for the Brain Group, St Luke’s Wellbeing Café Team, Supporting Older People Volunteers and The Cone Exchange Volunteering Team.

A further recent innovation at the Volunteer Oscars has been to highlight voluntary organisations celebrating a special anniversary, a category kindly sponsored by John Nelson from the Coach and Houses pub on West Park. This year 11 organisations received recognition for their impressive years of service, adding up to just under 400 in total. The groups ranged from the Springboard Project which was set up 10 years ago to provide a weekday support group for anyone who is homeless or vulnerably housed, through to Ripon and District Scouts who are celebrating their centenary and currently operate nine groups offering adventure and activity to young people in and around Ripon. The other groups marking special anniversaries included Harrogate Round Table (70), Ark Ripon (50), Horticap (35), Safe and Sound Homes (SASH) (25), Follifoot Park Disabled Riders Group (25), Ripon Activity Project (25), Paperworks (25), Starbeck Summer Show (20) and the PPR Foundation (10).

The Volunteer Oscars has always included a Corporate Engagement Award, intended to recognise the support which local businesses give with fundraising, volunteers and expertise. It was a surprise not to receive any nominations in this category this year, which is a great shame given there is undoubtedly so much great work going on. Do get in touch via www.harcvs.org.uk if you have ideas to help bring in business nominations in 2020.