Stronger Communities

Last year's Cheering Volunteering award winners

Cheering Volunteering

The fifth Cheering Volunteering awards and celebration evening took place at the Grove Theatre, in Dunstable on 4 June 2019.

The annual event began in 2015 to thank the many volunteers and voluntary organisations across Central Bedfordshire for the often-unheralded work they do to help others in their community.

And they have grown each year since then, with the judging panel this year particularly impressed by the quality of the entries.

It was organised by Central Bedfordshire Council, working in partnership with the Volunteer Centres as part of Central Bedfordshire Together, and sponsored by Ringway Jacobs, Grand Union Housing Group, ProLogis, Jeakins Weir and Beds Fire and Rescue Service.

Before the ceremony began, people attending the event enjoyed a showcase of volunteering opportunities from organisations across Central Bedfordshire.

And then it was on to the event itself, with the hundreds in attendance watching seven awards being presented as well as a host of great entertainment.

The winners and highly commended in each category were:

Young Volunteer of the Year


Emily McCabe (volunteer with Aldwyck Housing Group)

Highly commended

  • Junior Ambassadors from The Bedfordshire Junior Dignity Network
  • Ella O’Flynn (Volunteer with the Bedford & District Cerebral Palsy Society)

Volunteer of the Year


Janet Burgess (volunteer with St John’s Hospice)

Highly commended

  • Stephen Foley (pharmacy volunteer)
  • Pam Johnson (Carers in Bedfordshire)

Volunteer Group of the Year


Home Start Voluntary Group Dunstable

Highly Commended

  • Salvation Army Debt Advisors Team
  • Pam and Dave Sainsbury (feeding the homeless in Dunstable)

Outstanding Contribution


Kayleigh Dalton (Domestic Abuse Victim Support Advisor)

Highly Commended

  • Dianne Foyle, Volunteer for Luton & Dunstable Hospital
  • Pam Brown, Volunteer for Luton & Dunstable Hospital

Lifetime Achievement


Clare Kilby, Volunteer for community of Stotfold

Highly Commended

  • Jonathan Payne (Supporting communities of Upper Caldecote, Northill and neighbouring villages)
  • Jo Blair-Stuart: Chair of Trustees at Families United Network.

Sports Volunteer of the Year


Rotary Club Leighton Linslade

Highly Commended

  • Sarah Blackburn (Houghton Hall Casual Joggers)
  • Ian Smith (Ampthill Town Cricket Club)

Panel’s Choice Award

Alex and Jackie Vickers (The One Big Christmas Team at Ampthill Baptist Church)

High Commended

  • Mary Cheshire (Conservation volunteer with Greensand Trust)
  • Cognitive Stimulation Therapy Volunteers (helping people living with dementia in Leighton Buzzard and Arelsey).

Tom Jones impersonator Billy Lee compered the awards as well as belting out some crowd-pleasing classics, with additional offerings by talented local young artists – Claire Wilden and Lana Tookey.

The ‘Inspiring Volunteering’ small grants scheme, with a total funding pot of £5,000 to help local voluntary and community sector community projects start new projects involving volunteers, saw seven voluntary and community organisations receive grant awards ranging from £100-£1,000. They are

  • Shefford Greenspace Conservation Group - £250
  • Barnardos - £250
  • Caddington Scout Group - £105.70
  • Houghton Regis Hub Café - £920
  • The Greensand Trust - £450
  • Sorted Bedfordshire (counselling project) - £300
  • Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire - £840