Five people from the parish of Stoke Gifford were among 28 unsung heroes honoured at last week’s South Gloucestershire Community Awards evening in Filton.
Kieran Coggins, Jessica Godsell and Dennis Richardson (all of Little Stoke) were joined by Natalie Downing and Andrew Phelps (both of Stoke Gifford) in receiving Chair’s Community Awards at a special ceremony held at BAWA last Thursday (29th March).
The awards honour people give up their time freely to help others and bring communities together.
The Chair of South Gloucestershire Council, Cllr Mike Drew presented the main awards and he was joined by Dame Janet Trotter, the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, who presented a special award to two of the volunteers.
Cllr Mike Drew said:
“I was amazed at the incredible commitment shown by all the volunteers. Their work makes a significant contribution to the quality of life of so many people within the South Gloucestershire community. Without them, community life in our area would be much poorer.”
“I was also delighted that this year we again had a number of young volunteers.”
The local winners honoured for their service and commitment were:
Kieran Coggins from Little Stoke
A Special Young Volunteer Award went to Kieran, for his work at Little Stoke Youth Centre where he helps young people with learning difficulties and disabilities. He encourages them to participate and is a positive role model to other young people. He helps out in the recording studio to produce quality sound recordings and he will always offer to help with any work that is required in the centre. He is an extremely outstanding young man who works hard within the community and cares about his youth centre and its members.
Jessica Godsell from Little Stoke
Over the last six years, Jessica has set up three local groups for young people. Working as a volunteer at Little Stoke Youth Club, Jessica formed the “Urban Angels” singing group who perform at local community events. She then started a group in Patchway called “Raise Your Voice” for women and young. The third group she formed is called “Stage Whisper Youth Theatre” which brings young people together through musical theatre. All three groups encourage young people to build their self confidence and many parents have reported seeing huge changes in their children’s behaviour since joining the groups. Jess gives up a lot of her time to run these groups while juggling a young family of her own.
Andrew Phelps from Stoke Gifford
Andrew has three voluntary roles. He has been involved as club chairman at the Patchway Judo Club for many years and supported the committee in achieving Silver Club mark accreditation (only the second judo club in the South West to do so). He has also been instrumental in developing an additional session for youth and senior players. He is a Scout leader in Stoke Gifford and he has also been a school governor at St Michael’s School in Stoke Gifford for 10 years and has made a huge contribution to the lives of young people and their families in this area.
Dennis Richardson from Little Stoke
Over the past 10 years Dennis has been an active school governor and is now chair of governors at Stoke Lodge Primary School. His effort and leadership has been recognised in three separate Ofsted inspections and the support he has given to staff has been hugely appreciated. The decisions he has helped to make made have led to approximately £1.4 million worth of investment in both the school and community over and above the school’s budget. He has given vast amounts of his time to improving the grounds such as the building of a play area for the reception children and the installation of tiered seating for theatrical productions. Without doubt Dennis has had a massive impact on improving the outcome for children in Patchway.
Natalie Downing from Stoke Gifford
A Special Young Volunteering Award went to Natalie, who for the last nine years has been teaching baton twirling to four to 25 year olds. Natalie, 18, recently became European Champion at baton twirling and now passes on her skills to other young people to learn this discipline and hand-eye co-ordination through twirling. Natalie has dedicated a substantial amount of her time developing these young people and she in her turn has been an inspiration to them.