Monmouthshire is county rich in volunteers, individuals who give their heart and soul to help other and their communities. On Wednesday 30th October some of the county’s outstanding volunteers were celebrated at the annual Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisation, Volunteer Achievement Awards at Cwrt Bleddyn Hotel.

The awards generated a wealth of nominations and judges had a tough decision deciding the winners. GAVO is pleased to announce the following individuals gained recognition for their outstanding dedication, commitment and passion for helping others.

Winner of the Adult Volunteer, sponsored by Pobl Group – Ceri Carlyon.

Ceri gained the award for heroutstandingcontribution to well-being in the community. Ceri is a shining example, as an inspiring and creative Group Scout Leader to 1st Gilwern Scout Group. Ceri has not let her deteriorating disability affect her volunteering or family commitments and has launched two business in the past four years. Ceri has also become involved in other community based projects facilitated by Monmouthshire County Council, for example the Monmouthshire showcase stand at the National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny.

Highly Commended – Robert Hilary Wade, an inspirational individual who has introduced many young people to the magic of the theatre, via his work as a Musical Director in Youth Theatre, and also through sport, as a volunteer referee for the Gwent Central League from 2001 to the present day.

Environmental Volunteer, sponsored by Chepstow Round Table – Stuart Davies

Stuart is an amazing individual, his commitment to improving the environment is unique. Stuart volunteers at community recycling charity in Homemakers, Abergavenny for the past six years for six days a week. Stuart goes over and above to help individuals recycle household items and is a well-loved member of the Homemakers team.

Highly Commended – Pathcare Walking Group work with Monmouthshire County Council to carry out fortnightly checks of routes that form part of the Countryside Service’s Guided Walk Programme. They ensure that the routes remain safe and accessible, a benefit to residents and visitors alike.

Group award – Sponsored by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board – Active8

Activ8 is a peer led project with ‘Activ8 Champions’ who empower young people to develop skills, confidence and knowledge to help them progress into volunteering, education, employment or training.

Highly Commended – Food Sense, Monmouth work with local supermarkets to ensure that food doesn’t go to waste, providing free food collection points for those who need it and provide healthy meals for children and young people taking part in summer play schemes.

Personal journey- Sponsored by Bethany Home – Thea Babb

Thea is a volunteer on the Mind Matters project, the project works with young people to raise awareness of mental health issues. Thea selflessly pushes herself to help others, using her own experiences to educate young people.

Highly Commended – Katie Newbury has overcome adversity and personal challenges and is now an active volunteer with the Monmouthshire Citizens Advice in Caldicot helping others in the community. 

Trustee Volunteer, Sponsored by Caldicot Town Council – Emlyn Lunn

Emlyn overcame a stroke and accompanying medical challenges to volunteer with Monmouthshire Housing Association. He now holds the position of Vice Chair and ensures all tenants have a voice.

Young Volunteer- Sponsored by the Office of Police & Crime Commissioner in Gwent – Charley Oliver-Holland

Charley is an outstanding role model and ensure that the voice for the young people is heard. Charley is Chair of Engage 2 Change the county’s Youth Council, a member of Wales Youth Parliament and a representative for the British Youth Council. She dedicates her time to ensuring the voice of young people is heard and valued.

Highly Commended – Kelsey Goodwin, a volunteer at Monnow Vale Hospital. Kelsey provides support for individuals with dementia, their family and staff members.

Sheriff of Gwent Award – Harry Stitt

Harry joined ‘Ready Steady Go’ an activity club for children with Autism in May 2018 at the age of 14. To date he has achieved over 100 volunteer hours with the club and supports the young children to access activities, play and participate in the sessions.

Monmouthshire County Council Chairman’s AwardSerena Morgan

Serena has made a significant contribution to the County of Monmouthshire. Serena has gained self-confidence and belief through her volunteering work at Bridges Charity Shop. She has mastered the till, is a sought after face by customers and even has taken responsibility for opening the shop in recent months.

Dedicated volunteers Taran Fitzgerald, Charley Oliver-Holland and Robert Harman, George Beale and Elaine Savage were presented with GAVO Volunteer Recognition certificates for reaching 1000 hours of volunteering, by the Lord Lieutenant in Gwent, Brigadier Robert Aitken CBE.    

Frances O Brien, Chief Officer for Enterprise said:

“Volunteers offer so much to communities in Monmouthshire. We are so lucky to have the support of the Be Community team and GAVO to provide valuable training and support. I congratulate everyone who has been nominated, and I would like thank the unsung volunteers. I urge anyone who knows someone who goes over and above to help others to nominate them for an award in 2020!”

Clare Watkins, GAVO Volunteering Team Manager said “It is an honour to highlight the selfless efforts and the valuable contributions our shortlisted volunteers have made to ensure our communities are better places to live. 

The difference these individuals and groups make to the lives of others is amazing.  I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers across Monmouthshire. GAVO would also like to express gratitude to everyone who took time to put forward nominations.

The judging panel had a difficult job selecting the winners. I would also like to thank our wonderful compere for the evening, Kim Tovey, Senior Organisational Development Manager at Wales Ambulance Service Trust, who has given her time freely and also to our sponsors whose financial contribution help make the celebrations possible.

I would like to thank the Cwrt Bleddyn Hotel & Spa for donating a prize of an overnight stay in one of their superior rooms at their fabulous Hotel and Jeffries Fine Jewellers for the donation of a beautiful Clogau necklace.”

For more information about the Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations contact: Clare Watkins call 01633 241566 or email: clare.watkins@gavo.org.uk