Thamesmead residents scoop three gongs at London-wide volunteer awards.
The hard-work, dedication and commitment of Thamesmead residents was recognised at the annual Peabody Volunteer Awards (2015) which took place on Tuesday 20 October at the prestigious Church House Conference Centre.
There were six categories in total, with four other Thamesmead residents making the shortlists.
Peabody's Dynamic Young Leader Award was awarded to 16-year-old Jecoliah Frimpong.
Aged just 11, Jecoliah was a founding member of Thamesmead Youth Voice, a dynamic group of young people who made The Link Thamesmead a reality. Now 16, she continues to champion the centre and volunteers her time to Thamesmead drama group, Cadz Productions, as well as Greenwich Dance Agency's Lotus Youth Dance and recently performed on stage at a string of Peabody consultation events alongside her sister. Her passion for Thamesmead and its residents shines through and her energetic personality ensures that everyone she speaks to about the area is filled with the same enthusiasm.
Jecoliah said: “It is nice that people know I am a committed member of the community and that I care. I really enjoy volunteering and feel my approachability and friendliness encourages parents to allow their children to attend the acting classes I volunteer at. I really enjoy helping people and often help the younger students with their schoolwork and self-confidence. I am studying music, Spanish and acting in sixth form and hope to become a multi-lingual musician, touring the world whilst teaching music when I leave school.”
Peabody's Fred Calcott Lifetime Achievement award was awarded to Johnny Thompson who tirelessly contributes his time to Thamesmead's over-50s group, Pop in Parlour. The group is a much-loved and well used community hub which acts as a lifeline for many older residents. The success of the group and what they offer is down to Johnny's dedication and hard work, alongside his sister and his much missed late wife. In the last year, Johnny has even found time to volunteer at Peabody's Early Words Together literacy project, supporting parents and children aged 0 - 5. This award is in recognition of his warm and welcoming personality at the Pop in, teamed with his knowledge of Thamesmead and the residents who live there.
Although Johnny was unable to attend the event, he did say: “I have never regretted a single moment of my time at the Pop in Parlour. We wanted to create not just a place to come and eat, but to sit and talk about old times, go on holidays and offer a place to go. Everyone is like family, it gives me so much joy. I didn't realise in the early days when I started as a washer-upper how important the Pop in is to people. The most rewarding part is when people say they've had a good day. The club is a lifeline for many. I would like to dedicate this award to my late wife, Pat, who introduced me to this fantastic club all those years ago.”
Volunteer Group of the Year sponsored by Purdy, recognises a volunteer group or committee who has brought communities together in a new way, either through intergenerational work, volunteering or cultural integration.
This year's winner, Positive Steps Thamesmead were awarded for their outstanding achievements. Managed by Trust Thamesmead, with a team of 15 dedicated volunteers (some pictured to the right) who are all trained in information, advice and guidance, in the first seven months of operation, they have helped more than 400 residents, tackling poor health and inequality by resolving facts that may contribute to on-going ill health and stress. Based at Lakeside Health Centre, not only is the project helping residents but reducing the waiting time at the GP surgery too.
Positive Steps Thamesmead Volunteer, Adebold Agnes Adebo said: “I have been volunteering with Positive Steps Thamesmead since near the beginning. It is satisfying to know that we are able to help residents and make a real difference to their lives. Volunteering is also very personally rewarding - it has helped to build my self-confidence and improve my English too.”
Peabody's Chief Executive, Stephen Howlett said: “Every year I hear about the exceptional work our volunteers undertake. I am truly humbled to meet them today and hear about the sheer determination and commitment they have dedicated to their communities. Well done to Jecoliah, Johnny and Positive Steps Thamesmead - all three are truly worthy winners. Thank you to them and the hundreds of other volunteers in Thamesmead who play a vital role, giving up their time to benefit their communities. You really are making a difference.”
In 2012, Peabody was the first London housing association to be awarded an Investing in Volunteers accreditation, which recognises the excellent work we do. This reflects the extensive volunteering package we offer residents including ongoing training, free accredited qualifications, references and great experience ranging from office and administration work to helping to organise events and activities, befriending older people, volunteering with families or young people and teaching computer skills.
Peabody also runs an employee volunteer programme, Peabody Promise which gives individual staff members 14 hours' paid time off a year to help with community projects.
Find out more about volunteering opportunities in Thamesmead by contacting Trust Thamesmead's Community Development Outreach Worker (Volunteering), Sarah Feleppa, T: 020 8320 4470 or E:email@example.com