South Gloucestershire honours community heroes

Photo of David Baker receiving his award.

Community heroes from Bradley Stoke, Stoke Gifford and Patchway were among nearly 30 volunteers honoured at the South Gloucestershire Council Chair’s 2018 Community Awards event held at South Gloucestershire and Stroud (SGS) College’s WISE Campus on 7th March.

The annual awards recognise and celebrate the valuable contribution local unpaid volunteers make to life in South Gloucestershire. These people give up their time freely to help others and bring our communities together, and were rewarded for their efforts at the special ceremony.

Chair of South Gloucestershire Council, Cllr Ian Blair attended along with the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire Dame Janet Trotter and Vice Lord Lieutenant Robert Bernays, Group Chief Executive & Executive Principal of SGS College Kevin Hamblin and Principal and Deputy Chief Sara-Jane Watkins.

Throughout the evening, award winners from across South Gloucestershire, and from a wide variety of backgrounds, were presented with their certificates by Cllr Blair and Sara-Jane Watkins. The final round was the Lord Lieutenant’s Special Award, which saw Dame Janet Trotter and Robert Bernays present £100 to representatives of the Patchway Memory Café, a group of volunteers from the local area who offer a friendly welcome for anyone affected by dementia, or who is worried about their own or someone else’s memory.

Cllr Ian Blair, Chair of South Gloucestershire Council, said:

“In my role as Chair, I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet people from around the area from all walks of life and these awards are a great way to say thank you to some of the many volunteers who make South Gloucestershire such a great place to live and work.

“Whilst reading through and shortlisting the nominations it was obvious that those put forward for an award are held in high esteem in their local communities. The positive impact which their commitment and hard work has on others is extremely uplifting and encouraging. Well done to all the winners, you are an inspiration to us all.”

The annual awards event is sponsored by SGS College and offers the perfect opportunity to celebrate the hard work and dedication of volunteers in the community who display outstanding commitment in giving up their time and effort to help others. The evening also saw students from the Level 3 Musical Theatre group, based at the WISE campus, perform some of their latest productions.

Local award winners

David Baker: Community Award winner

Photo at top of article.

David has been a member of the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group from its inception twelve years ago. He has particularly shone in his role as Chair of the group, which he has approached in an energetic and organised manner. He is very knowledgeable and always willing to share his experience and expertise with both young and old, either through the group’s workdays, special events and training days or by giving talks to other interested groups.

David was also an active part of the Bradley Stoke Green Gym until ill health forced him to step down, but he still sets the programme and supports newcomers. Another group which benefits from David’s local knowledge is the Archaeology and Local History Group where they have made great strides in documenting the early life of Bradley Stoke.

Photo of Alfred Sollars receiving his award.

Alfred Sollars: Community Award winner

Alfred leads the committee of the Royal British Legion in Patchway and organises the annual Remembrance Day parade which is attended by hundreds of local residents. It is led by colour parties from the Legion Branch and representatives of Army, Air Force, Navy, local Cadet Forces, Scouts and Guides. This commemoration is very important for younger members of the community, particularly during the centenary of WW1. It is striking how many young members of uniformed organisations in Patchway are involved in the remembrance parade and this event is a source of considerable community pride and contributes to community cohesion in the area.

Photo of Mary Oliphant and Sue Peard receiving the award on behalf of Patchway Memory Café.

Mary Oliphant and Sue Peard, representing Patchway Memory Café: Lord Lieutenant’s Special Award

Patchway Memory Café has been operating since 2013. The café is run entirely by volunteers with around 20 local people volunteering at any one time, most of whom are from the local Patchway area. Several of the volunteers have previous experience of caring for someone with dementia and are able to offer support to others who are going through the same with their loved ones.

All volunteers are dementia friends, meaning that they have attended an information session to learn about the impact of dementia on the person affected. Additionally, several volunteers have been trained to be dementia friends champions, and regularly deliver the dementia information sessions to the public.

The group also maintains an information table in Patchway Library and are actively involved in dementia awareness activity; for example, manning an information stand at Asda, Cribbs Causeway.

Veronika Caradine: Community Award winner

Veronika is a long standing member of the Stoke Gifford Royal British Legion branch, during which time she has taken on considerable voluntary responsibility for providing welfare services. Veronika regularly visits the elderly or disabled, together with many telephone calls and hospital trips for ex-servicemen, women and their families. She is dedicating a significant amount of time, money and effort which is far exceeding what could be expected of an individual. Veronika also extends her support to anyone who is lonely or unwell in the community, not just ex-service personnel. Because of her long standing experience, she is able to put people at ease very quickly. Veronika always has a ready smile and can very quickly cheer up people of all ages and backgrounds.

Photos: 1 (l-r) Cllr Ian Blair, David Baker and Sara-Jane Watkins. 2 (l-r) Cllr Ian Blair, Alfred Sollars and Sara-Jane Watkins. 3 (l-r) Robert Bernays, Mary Oliphant, Sue Peard and Dame Janet Trotter.

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on pages 16 & 17). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,200 homes in Bradley Stoke and Little Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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