Group of the year category 2015

Each year, the County Durham Volunteering Awards recognise and celebrate the fantastic work done by volunteers across County Durham.

In 2015, over 100 nominations were received across the categories of Children and Young People, Greener, Healthier, Safer, and Wealthier. In addition to the five categories, the awards also celebrated the County Durham Young Volunteer of the Year, and the Group of the Year.

The above photographs show the joint winners in this category (County Durham Foodbank Co-ordinators, Durham Cathedral Listeners, and Durham StreetLights) proudly displaying their awards during the celebration dinner held at Hardwick Hall, near Sedgefield on 21 October 2015.

Find out more about the winner of this category and the shortlisted nominees below.

Chyrelle Addams Cancer Support Trust


The group of people who volunteer for The Chyrelle Addams Cancer Support Trust give their time selflessly raising money to buy much needed lifesaving equipment for the chemotherapy and cancer wards. They have helped to raise £240,000 since the charity was established, by organising sponsored events, holding entertainment evenings, car boot sales, and running a community sweet shop, with all proceeds going to cancer. The volunteers also help to run a holiday home at Crimdon Dene Holiday Park.  This enables cancer patients to take a break from chemotherapy treatments, and offers a last holiday retreat to spend quality time with family and friends for those who have a terminal condition. It takes a very special person to give their time selflessly to help other people. They volunteer week in and week out, with very little recognition, yet the charity would not be where it is today without them.

County Durham Foodbank Coordinators - joint winners

The coordinators are a key part of the County Durham foodbank. They manage 27 distribution points, providing clients in crisis with a food package for 3 days, and offering a welcoming and friendly space to offload or share their story.  The service provides food parcels to an estimated 20,000 individuals, ensuring a meal on the table for them and their families, and a huge weight off their minds. There’s a lot to keep organised, including some complex administration processes that are hugely important. The coordinators definitely go above and beyond the norm with their time and commitment, often helping clients who may be stressed and anxious. The coordinators have had to deal with a huge rise in numbers. It is this special commitment, taking on extra responsibility and managing what goes on, that makes them a super group. The foodbank couldn’t run without them!

Deaf Hill Regeneration Partnership 

Local people volunteer for the partnership and the community it serves, providing many activities including a luncheon club, job club, children and young people services, I.T facilities, health and wellbeing, mental health groups, training, exercise classes, community library, dance groups, and a banner group. The strength of the group is its willingness to change, and the partnership is respected as the vehicle that drives forward the vision and aspirations of the community. The group has many young people who respond quickly to community needs. The Partnership Committee is made up of local people who play a key role in identifying local needs and gaps in service provision, helping to shape effective services.

Durham Cathedral Listeners - joint winners

The Listening Service was established to listen and respond to those in distress. With the help of like-minded people the charity ‘Durham Christian Partnership’ was formed, and is now based at Durham Cathedral.  There are 34 Listeners travelling from all over the region; they listen to anyone without exception, and  have no idea, day to day, who might walk through the door. The Listeners don’t advise or sympathise, but offer empathy, warmth and companionship when it is needed. They allow a person to tell their story without being judged, and signpost to appropriate organisations for specialist help if required.

Durham StreetLights - joint winners

The Durham StreetLights spend their Saturday evenings caring for people in Durham City who are using the pubs and clubs. The volunteers offer practical and emotional support to anyone who needs it. This support includes providing water, flip-flops, first aid, reuniting separated friends and helping people to find a safe way home by calling a relative or helping them to a taxi. Whilst most of us are enjoying a Saturday evening out with friends, watching Britain’s Got Talent or are tucked up in a warm and cosy bed, StreetLights are out in all weathers helping people.  It involves a very late night, not getting home until after 3am, however they enjoy it, happy in the knowledge that they are making Durham a safer place on a Saturday night.