Awards honouring the unsung heroes

Out of Sight, winners of the Organuisation of the Year award at VODAs award night.

Out of Sight, winners of the Organuisation of the Year award at VODAs award night.

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Individuals and organisations who have played a key role in their community have been honoured at an annual awards.

North Tyneside VODA (Voluntary Organisations Development Agency) held the awards ceremony as part of its AGM at its new home at the Queen Alexandra campus in North Shields.

Toilets, Tabs and Tantrums who were commended in VODAs Young Volunteer of the Year award.

Toilets, Tabs and Tantrums who were commended in VODAs Young Volunteer of the Year award.

Mayor Norma Redfearn helped present the awards.

Parent-led charity Out of Sight was named Organisation of the Year for its work supporting visually-impaired children through the provision of events, activities, parties, fun days and outings, plus information sharing and signposting.

Volunteer of the Year was named as John Smee, who was nominated by Carly Searle from children’s charity Barnardo’s for his work to support young people through volunteering.

Winner of the Young Volunteer of the Year award was Rachel Anderson, who was nominated for her work with Phoenix Detached Youth Project.

John Smee, of Barnardos, who was named Volunteer of the Year by VODA.

John Smee, of Barnardos, who was named Volunteer of the Year by VODA.

Commendation awards were also made to volunteer Millie Stothert, who was nominated as Volunteer of the Year by Rachel Ryvar from Meadow Well Connected.

Commended in the Young Volunteer of the Year award category was a group of young people who go under the name Toilets, Tabs and Tantrums, part of the SCARPA agency that works with young people at risk of sexual exploitation.

VODA’s chief executive, Lisa Goodwin, said: “We were overwhelmed by the nominations we received.”

She added: “Picking winners was harder than ever for our panel of judges. All of the winners and nominees should be so proud of the work they carry out – they really do make a huge difference to the lives of people of North Tyneside.”

Rachel Anderson, Young Volunteer of the Year.

Rachel Anderson, Young Volunteer of the Year.

For more information about the work VODA does with volunteers and local voluntary and community groups, visit www.voda.org.uk