Volunteers honoured for work in community

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Individuals and organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to the voluntary and community sector have been honoured.

Mayor Norma Redfearn was on hand to present the awards at the AGM of North Tyneside VODA (Voluntary Organisations Development Agency).

The awards were given in several categories and highlighted the amount of hard work that is carried out in North Tyneside by volunteers and voluntary and community organisations.

Winner of the Organisation of the Year award was the North Shields-based Tyne Gateway Trust, which improves the lives of people living in poverty by offering encouragement and practical support to families who are facing multiple problems.

The Commendation award in that category went to North East Hearts with Goals, which provides life-saving defibrillators in schools and community buildings in the borough and raises awareness of how they can be used to prevent sudden and untimely deaths.

The Volunteer of the Year award was given jointly to Ron Hillaby and Eric Bewley who operate as Digital Champions, voluntarily helping people with all things IT-related.

Volunteer Doug Raynor was also commended in the category for overcoming personal barriers and carrying out numerous volunteering roles in the borough.

A Special Recognition Award was given to the 70 volunteers at North Tyneside’s Citizens Advice Bureau.

Joint winners of the Young Volunteer of the Year were Danielle Hackworth and Rebecca Smith who were recognised for their contribution to the formation and development of the SPACE Youth Club based in the New York and Murton Social Club.

Mrs Redfearn said: “This event really shows how lucky we are to have such selfless, dedicated people in the borough that give up their time and energy to help others.

“I always leave this event feeling positive about the community we live in.”

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